Recent weather has given me inspiration to write this blog about our favorite local spots to let the kids burn some energy indoors (and not in the house). As if cabin fever isn’t enough, cabin fever with little ones is enough to drive even the sanest parent crazy. I have gathered a few tried and true places we love to frequent when the weather, and my kids, go nuts.
Badlands, located in Rockville, Maryland, is well-worth the drive if your kids have energy to burn. This place brings the outdoors, indoors, with plenty of extras to keep you there for hours. Not only do they offer workshops for preschool and beyond, but they have a café that sells all sorts of yummy treats, including beer and wine!
Kids as young as toddlers are able to explore freely and take risks in the safety of this well-cushioned and relaxed environment. No stressed-out parents or kids to be seen! Pre-purchase tickets and sign a digital waiver to make checking in a breeze.
Located in Woodbridge, Virginia, Beehive has all of the elements a parent could want in a play space. They are extremely clean (unlike some play areas with bounce houses I’ve been to- this one doesn’t smell like feet!), open floor plan for easy viewing, designated places for pre-toddlers and babies to play, a café with delicious cooked food, bumper cars, and a game room for those who have older kids who think bounce houses are “totally lame” (is it even possible to outgrow bounce houses?! We’re almost there with my oldest, it seems). They are also very safety-conscious, with six video cameras, and digital recording equipment in addition to background checks for all employees, according to their website. Their walk-in hours are limited on weekends due to party bookings, so be sure to call ahead if you wish to reserve a spot.
These next two recommendations are Smithsonian museums located in DC. When most people Google or ask for places to go when the weather is less than ideal, most results will include these museums. However, if your kids are like mine, walking around a museum for an hour or two is akin to being tortured. We happened upon Wegman’s Wonderplace (lots of fun– pretend shopping, cooking, and climbing) toward the end of our exploration of The National Museum of American History. We spent an additional hour there with my youngest (4 at the time), and my oldest hung out and happily worked on projects at the Draper Spark!Lab. They did not want to leave when it was time to go, and now I will certainly use these places as a bribe the next time we want to visit this museum.
imagiNATIONS is located in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (3rd level). There, your little one(s) can learn hands-on about how Native people lived: with basket weaving, tipis (what kid doesn’t like sitting in a “fort”- like structure?), a craft room to create art projects related to Native culture, and other activities.
Written by: Justine Robinson, Doula for Stars and Stripes Doulas of Washington DC