5 Fun Places for Family Outings

International Spy Museum
Photo by Albert Vecerka for the International Spy Museum


Create the perfect family outing with activities to keep your noggin turning or your feet moving all day. Kids of all ages will find something to love at these engaging, hands-on places for learning and play.


Butler’s Orchard

Come to the orchard as a family in mid-March for produce from local farms, jarred goods and décor. Kids can play on the farm-inspired playground or stop at the farm park to visit the animals. The spring season kicks off in April with the Bunnyland Festival, which runs on select dates from April 9-24. Staff will dress up for the family-friendly festival. You’ll find chicks, ducks and bunnies to hold; food from The Farmer’s Porch and fun play areas. Come back mid-May or early June for strawberry picking season! 22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown; 301-428-0444; butlersorchard.com


Harpers Ferry Adventure Center

Book a day of outdoor adventures with your family. Harpers Ferry is located along the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers through West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. Spend a day on the river testing your bravery on the rapids with white water duckie kayaking, where you’ll also see cool attractions along the way, including the Shenandoah’s mile-long Staircase and a roller coaster. The park also has zip lining, ropes courses, tubing, rafting, kayaking and camping.

If your children are not ready for white water adventures, or you’d rather enjoy a comfortable day floating with the family, kick back and enjoy the park’s flat water tubing. Want to try more than one activity? Pair aerial climb activities with zip lining, rafting or tubing. Prices vary by activity. 37410 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville, Virginia; 540-668-9007 or 800-836-9911; harpersferryadventurecenter.com


International Spy Museum
Photo by Albert Vecerka for the International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

Become a spy for a day at the International Spy Museum. Kids and adults will find an array of information and interactive activities to explore here. Get lost in reading about spies from history, test your skills at remembering to your cover identity, crack codes and uncover hidden dead drop sites at 17 digital and physical interactive locations throughout the museum. Children ages 10 and younger can complete the 90-minite family mission, which includes messages in invisible ink, interactive games and practicing your ninja walk. The museum also has family game nights, sleepovers and free classroom lessons, resources and activities. Tickets start at $16.95 for youth; admission is free for ages 6 and younger. 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, D.C.; 202-393-7798; spymuseum.org


KID Museum

Get out your thinking cap for this hands-on, experiential learning space. KID Museum is all about fostering the “mind of a maker.” Families will have plenty to explore during a day trip to the 28,000-square-foot museum opening in Bethesda May 22 with open hours on Sundays. Children will be able to learn coding and robotics and experiment with textiles, woodworking and 3D printing in Maker Studios. Weekend workshops and special events for families will also be on deck. Activities are currently available online through David Library. 6400 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, Maryland; 301-897-5437; kid-museum.org


United States Botanic Garden

As spring arrives, take advantage of the natural beauty of the gardens in the nation’s capital. The United States Botanic Garden has several gardens on its campus, including a conservatory with an outdoor children’s garden, where you can show your little one how to use gardening tools. All gardens spaces are free to explore. Older explorers can check out a junior botanist backpack or passports to identify plants in the conservatory. More educational activities are available online, and family events and programs occur seasonally. As of press time, the conservatory is following U.S. Capitol campus closures. Check usbg.gov before you go. All outdoor gardens are open. 100 Maryland Ave., Washington, D.C.; 202-225-8333; usbg.gov 


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