Just when you thought you’d exhausted all of the story times, baby-and-me meet-ups, and infant-friendly restaurants around the District…we’ve dug up 20 essential city spots, hidden gems and quintessential locales that every bambino-under-one should check out.
Photo: Mosaic District via Facebook
Tuesday mornings are the best time to wander this NoVa alcove. There’s story time with Stories from Strawberry Lane. In the summer months the fountains turn on, and “Coffee and Cartoons”—lattes for you and animated shows like Scooby Doo for the tot—are a big hit with the entire family.
2. Cruise Canal Park.
With a splash fountain in the summer and a baby-friendly ice rink during the winter months—Canal Park is a year-round stop for the under-1 set.
3. Book tickets at the Adventure Theater.
Quality theater that’s great for even the littlest members of the family? Sign us up! Currently showing “Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood” until March 8th, other upcoming tot-friendly productions include “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and “Garfield”.
4. Rock out at Jammin Java.
One of Java’s most popular events is the Tot Rock at this concert house. If the name is any indication, this weekly event is sure to have your bambino bopping around on your lap like a true music aficionado.
5. Have a playdate at National Harbor.
The Capital Wheel is the main attraction at the National Harbor (and babies are allowed on for free with their parents). But, there’s also a soft-ground playground, a huge sandpit, and a merry-go-round.
Photo: Janine and Jim via Flickr
6. Hang with BaoBao at the National Zoo.
She’s cute. She’s cuddly. And she likes to roll over from her belly to her back. Bao Bao the panda and your little one have a lot in common. Enjoy a day at the zoo, topping it off with a peek at the biggest tot on the block.
7. Visit the Virginia Discovery Museum.
Many of the museums in and around D.C. have a no-touch policy. But this kiddie hot spot located in Charlottesville, Va (baby’s first day trip!) is not one of them. Babies are free to touch and crawl all over the exhibits. Don’t leave without checking out the Treehouse Room, where babes can take a tumble on the mats or curl up with a teddy bear.
8. Go on a picnic at Gravelly Point.
Their strained peas and applesauce will play second fiddle to the airplane views at this popular park, which is super-close to Reagan International Airport.
9. Make a pit stop at the Air and Space Museum.
Boasting the largest collection of air and space memorabilia around, this will definitely be a hit for little ones. There’s just so much to see! A can’t miss exhibit: “Aerobatic Flight,” featuring twisty, twirly, colorfully-designed aircrafts dangling from the hanger ceiling.
10. Jump for joy.
With the extreme temps in the city, outdoor play can be overwhelming for tiny ones—indoor gyms solve that problem. JW Tumbles is chock full of mats, cushions, and many other toys to help your teenie tot get mobile. With multiple locations in the Maryland and Virginia area babies across the district can get in on the action.
11. Share dessert at Piesisters.
How can anyone be upset when they’re holding a cupcake? By enjoying a mini cuppie pie (babies love the Banana Cream) from the wildly popular Piesisters, everyone’s day will be instantly brightened.
12. Steal a butterfly kiss.
Introduce your little to a bit of magic with the Butterfly Walk at the Butterfly Pavilion located in the National History Museum. Bonus: Tuesdays are free with an advanced purchased timed entry ticket.
13. Hop on the Metro.
Share the beauty of the city to your growing tot by riding the Metrorail. The baby-friendliest line? Quite possibly the red line, which starts and stops in Maryland and offers two major transfer stops—Gallery Place and Metro Center—where you can jump on or off any of the other lines. Tip: Do the metro when it is not rush hour; baby will love the window seat.
14. Spend a morning at Friendship Park.
Friendship Park (or Turtle Park as its affectionately known) is one of D.C.’s most popular hangouts for the baby demo. With a spray park, sandbox, and a whopping five play structures, it’s a must explore.
The famous (and oh so fluffy) blueberry buckwheat pancakes from Market Lunch inside of Eastern Market are not only tot friendly, they’re parent friendly too.
Photo: danielg628 via Flickr
16. Stop to smell the roses at the U.S. Botanic Garden.
With a conservatory, two outdoor areas, and over 65,000 plants, the beauty and green space of the Botanic Garden is something that your baby (and their newly realized sea legs) will appreciate.
17. Get down with the Boogie Babes.
Boogie down with the best of them weekly at Union Market. The Wednesday morning shows feature baby-friendly bands like Mr. Skip, Oh Susannah, and Ukulele Phil. If you and baby work up an appetite stop by one of Union Market’s food vendors for an afternoon snack.
18. Giggle (and giggle!) at a Tiny Tots Puppet Show.
Want to introduce Junior to the theater but know that he’s not quite ready for a full production? Enter Tiny Tots Puppet Show at Glen Echo Park, which features shorter 30 minute shows, no loud noises and the theater doors stay open for easy in-and-out access.
What baby fun would you add to this list? Tell us in the Comments section below.