Holiday Events

There seems to be quite a few different special events surrounding Christmas and the Holiday season here in the D.C. and Northern Virginia area.  We are planning on visiting each of these and the plan is to review them as we go.

National Christmas Tree

There is a Lighting Ceremony that is free to attend but you must have tickets.  The tickets are chosen through a lottery.  While we won’t be going to the ceremony we do plan on visiting.  It is located south of the White House on the ellipse.

ICE! at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

The Gaylord is located at the National Harbor just south of D.C. in Maryland.  The Resort and Convention Center has ice sculptures and ice slides.  Depending on the day you go the ticket prices range from $28 to $35.  I did find that if you are a Marriott Rewards member you can get 20% off tickets on certain dates.  This is our plan to visit.  Children 2 and under are free.

Zoo Lights

From November 27 to January 2nd the zoo is open from 5pm to 9pm.  It is decorated with lights and have various attractions (carousel, tubing hill, train).  Parking is $20 or $10 for members.  There is a free shuttle from the Woodley Park metro station.  Attractions are $3.

United States Botanic Garden

We are visiting this because of the train exhibit and my son LOVES trains.  The Garden is open from 10am to 5pm and is free to visit.  They also have a seasonal plant display.



Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon

In October we went to a great event at Mount Vernon.  They had their Fall Harvest Family Days.  We had been out to Mount Vernon during the spring time and really enjoyed it.  The grounds are large and beautiful.  While there was a lot of people in April, it was still a nice and relaxing place to be.  When we visited with Brian’s parents we knew that we would be going again when my parents came to town so we each bought the basic individual membership for $30.  All you have to do is visit twice to get a cost savings.  Kids under 6 are free-perfect for us!


We were really lucky with the weather for the Festival.  The day started out rainy but quickly cleared up.  I think that this helped keep the crowds down because there was practically no one there.  It was fantastic to get away from the busy city and escape to outside with no one around.

There were special activities this day like wagon rides, straw bale maze, apple roasting and a laundry demonstration.  I know a laundry demonstration doesn’t sound that exciting but it was by far Eilam’s favorite activity.  He jumped right in to get the cloths wet and soapy and then to help rinse them and hang dry.

The apple roasting included an apple on a stick, roasted over an open fire.  Once cooked then you dipped the apples in warm maple syrup and honey.  They were really quite tasty.

Apple roasting with Grandpa and Daddy

In addition to the special activities that were going on there were the normal tours as well.  When visiting Mount Vernon you get a timed ticket to tour the Mansion.  If it is busy the time might be for a couple hours from when you are entering and they have someone manning the line and you are not allowed to get in line until your timed ticket.  There is a really informative museum and education center.  With little kids these parts becoming challenging but with older kids or if you have time, definitely walk through these.  There is also a site seeing cruise which I can’t speak to as we have never gone on it.  Overall, I highly suggest visiting Mount Vernon if you are visiting the DC area.

Mount Vernon  General Information

Where:  3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia (about 15 miles south of DC)

How to Get There:  You can take the yellow metro line to the end at Huntington Station and then catch the Fairfax Connector Bus #110.  Driving head south on Mount Vernon Memorial Highway.

Hours:  8 am to 5 pm during the summer, 9 to 4 pm during winter

Cost:  $17/person adult, $9/child age 6 to 11, $16/senior


Boo at the Zoo

We love the zoo here, like really love the zoo.  It is by far my son’s favorite thing to do.  What’s great about the zoo is that it is part of the Smithsonian Museums so it has free admission.  This summer we decided to become members to get access to more benefits.  While relatively easily accessible via metro, we wanted the free parking from being a member as driving is a much easier way when living here.


Throughout the year the zoo has different events.  We went to Boo at the Zoo the weekend before Halloween this year.  This was a fantastic event sponsored by MARS Chocolate.  From 5:30 to 8:30 pm the zoo was open for trick-or-treating, animal demonstrations, and education stations.  There were so many kids in adorable costumes.  Eilam was a super trooper and lasted until almost 8 pm.  He had never really had candy before and we joked that he will never have such good trick-or-treating again.  Tickets to this event were $30 per person but were discounted to around $21/person with our membership.


National Zoo General Information

Where:  3001 Connecticut Avenue NW

How to Get There:  Take the Red Line to Woodley-Park stop and walk up the hill when you exit or get off at the next stop at Cleveland Park and walk south on Connecticut.

Hours:  The grounds are open from 6 am to 8 pm (6 pm in winter) The exhibits are open from 10 am to 6 pm (4 pm in winter)

Cost:  FREE (parking is $22 if you decide to drive)

Highlight: Pandas!  Carousel, the O-line, elephants, kids farm, small mammal house and the list could go on and on

The O-Line

We Wandered from Washington to Washington

Our family of five (husband, wife, son, dog and cat) moved across the country last January to come live in the Washington, DC metro area.  We moved for a job and have been trying to experience the city life.  Moving from eastern Washington and originally from Oregon, this East Coast living is a little different to us.

This is a blog as we wander around the area and try to see as much as we can while we are living out here.  Our main activities are kid friendly as our son is two.  We enjoy traveling, good wine, football (fantasy and college) and I enjoy baking.  I hope you enjoy!