Before the swarms of friends and family descend for Thanksgiving, spend this weekend meeting cool, new characters (and animals). Break the ice by snacking on cocoa and cupcakes with storytelling snow fairies at an Enchanted Forest Holiday Extravaganza. There’s also zoo animals, violinists, and illustrators to get to know while you and the kids explore these awesome events.

enchanted-forest-eventPhoto: Junior League of Northern Virginia via Facebook

Farragut North

An Insiders Peek at Mars
If you have a wanna-be astronaut in your family who always ask what Mars looks like, take them to see “Mars Up Close,” an exhibit before it closes up shop. Visitors explore the red planet through super-close images, hands-on activities and a full-scale model of the Curiosity rover. It’s totally far out! Fri-Sun. Farragut North. Free. All ages. Event details.

Falls Church

Meet Ice Princesses and the Clauses at the Enchanted Forest Holiday Party
Stroll through the whimsical forest of holiday trees, sip cocoa and nosh on cupcakes with ice princesses or brunch with Santa. This weekend-long extravaganza, presented by the Junior League of Northern Virginia, includes live music, a model train display, science experiments, themed crafts, a holiday market, a live and silent auction, and more (yes, really…there’s more!). Sat.-Sun., 10 am. Falls Church. $14. All ages. Event details.

Woodley Park

Thanksgiving Feast: Kids Festive Zoo Class
The beasts will feast at the National Zoo this weekend, and you get a front row seat. In this family program for kids ages 4-7, you’ll learn about the different diets that the zoo’s nutritionists cater to every day, and you’ll discover the treats that will be on the plates of the lion, tigers, and bears. Oh my! Sat.-Sun., 10 am-12 pm. Woodley Park. $35. Ages 4-7. Event details.

H Street

The Capital City Symphony Takes on Hansel and Gretel
The Capital City Symphony presents Engelbert Humperdinck’s well-known Hansel and Gretel in this semi-staged concert opera for all ages. The full version for big kids starts at 7:30 pm, but if you have little ones in your brood come early for the instrument petting zoo and one-hour family concert, starting at 3:30 pm. Sat.-Sun., 10 am-12 pm. Woodley Park. $35. Ages 4-7. Event details.

National Mall

St. Jude Give Thanks Walk
Show kiddos that sometimes giving thanks is as simple as going for a walk. This exciting, family-friendly walk-a-thon helps raise funds to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Registration is free, while all participants are encouraged to raise money to help save kids battling cancer and other deadly diseases. Sat., 9:30 am-12 pm. National Mall. Free. All ages. Event details.

National Harbor

Story Time : My Country, ‘Tis of Theeeeee…
Nearly every grown-up (and many kids) know the words to “(America) My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” What many don’t realize is that the iconic song has a ton of history connected to it that dates back hundreds of years. With awesome illustrations, My Country, ‘Tis of Thee offers a fascinating insight into the American fight for freedom. Both the author and illustrator will present this awesome story. Sat., 2 pm. National Harbor. All ages. Event details.

What are you up to this weekend? Let us know in the Comments section below. 

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady