January Guide to Family-Friendly Reopenings


Health and safety concerns in our communities have caused many typical family-friendly events and activities to be canceled or closed. This month, we have compiled a list of family-friendly places that are open in our region. Please note that museums in DC will remain closed through January 14th pursuant to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Public Health Emergency Order issued in December. Before venturing out, make sure you carefully review the safety protocols and requirements of each facility. If you want to spend some family time outdoors, please check out our guide to 80+ Places to Explore Nature with Kids Around the DMV and Ice Skating Rink Guide. And be sure to look at our community calendar for other events too.


Glen Echo Park Aquarium
The aquarium is open by appointment only. Dates and times are limited, but they will work with you to arrange a visit between 10am and 5pm. See website for contact info and COVID policies.

Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center
Visit Alexandria’s very own Nature Center where you can see live animals up close and learn about the cultural and natural history of the neighboring Dora Kelley Nature Park. Currently, interactive exhibits and play spaces are closed. The Nature Center is also limiting the total visitor capacity, conducting temperature checks at the door, and requiring face masks and maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance while inside the Center.


Mount Vernon
George and Martha Washington’s Estate and Gardens are open. The facility has adopted a number of new safety protocols that you will want to review before your visit. Your family can tour the grounds and the gardens, the first floor of the mansion, and view museum exhibits. Purchase tickets online.

National Arboretum
If you are looking for open park space, look no further. The National Arboretum is now open daily from 8 am-5 pm. The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum and Administration building will continue to be closed to the public. Visitors are still required to follow all posted guidelines designed to maximize the safety and health of all visitors and employees. We will continue to monitor daily visitors and restrict total numbers, as necessary, to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
The grounds of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are now open from 7 am-5 pm. The park is limiting the number of visitors. Some areas, such as all buildings, restrooms, and the boardwalk, remain closed for public safety (note that there are porta-potties available). Read about these and other visitor expectations on the park’s website.

Brookside Gardens
The Gardens are open for your enjoyment, relaxation, and exercise. However, the visitor center building is closed and there are no restroom facilities. Also, they are limiting the numbers allowed in their parking lot. See their website for a list of prohibited activities, a map, and a list of areas that are accessible in the gardens.


Trapeze School New York
TSNY at the DC Navy Yard is reopening after many months. It has taken steps to help keep the rig a healthy and safe place. All staff, students, and spectators must adhere to their safety protocols while attending classes or visiting their space.

ARTECHOUSE has opened with a limited capacity and it has taken additional safety measures in light of the current pandemic. It continues to monitor and follow recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and local health departments and government agencies. The current exhibit is “Crystalline,” inspired by Pantone® Color of the Year 2020 Classic Blue. Inspired by blue’s dependable qualities, Crystalline in D.C. explores the color’s connection with earth and crystals through a journey that is both an adventure and a contemplation.

The Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has cancelled all previously scheduled full-capacity programs through April 25, 2021. Additionally, much of the late spring and early summer touring programs have been canceled. However, you can still visit the REACH Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Check website for access information and COVID policies.

National Harbor
Some of the restaurants at the National Harbor have reopened with patio seating and/or to go ordering options. The Capital Wheel is open. The facilities have taken steps to create social distancing and improve cleaning/sanitizing practices. Take a look at their website to review what COVID-19 measures they have implemented. See National Harbor’s website for additional family-friendly activities.


Pentagon Row Ice Skating
The rink is open 7 days a week, but you must make reservations in advance. Reservations open 2 weeks in advance. Check out the website for reservations and other policies.

Silver Spring Ice Skating
The rink is open 7 days a week, but you must make reservations in advance. Reservations open 2 weeks in advance. Check out the website for reservations and other policies.

Light Yards
This free-to-all installation will run from 6pm – 10pm through January 10th. The annual holiday installation features the​ premiere​ of the installation “Stars” by Australian-based immersive light design sculptors ​Amigo & Amigo​. The larger-than-life stars constructed from metallic mesh feature dancing lights and play festive music.

Do you know of other events going on around town? Please comment below or add them to our community calendar here!