Photo by Chris Lawton / Unsplash

Family-Friendly Events Happening Around NoVa This Week

Pumpkins and festivals and frights, oh my! The fall festivities are still going strong around Northern Virginia, and we’ve compiled your weekly list of family-friendly activities to check out.

Ellen Howes
Ellen Howes

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Pumpkins and festivals and frights, oh my! The fall festivities are still going strong around Northern Virginia, and we’ve compiled your weekly list of family-friendly activities to check out. If you’re pumpkined-out, there’s still plenty to explore. Here are our recommendations for what to do now through October 16.  

Keep reading to find everything from Turkish festivals to drive-ins, and nature walks to hot air balloons:

The Drive-In at Union Market

Moviegoers cuddle on the roof of a car in the parking lot of a drive-in movie at night.
Photo of Union Market by Tom Kochel for WTOP.

Roll down the windows, enjoy the fall air, and turn up the radio for the last screening of the Annual Drive-In at Union Market. This Friday the Drive-In will be showing Black Panther (rated PG-13). Enjoy this beloved Marvel Studios film under the stars while munching and sipping on local, regional, and international foods. Movies are shown with open captioning and play rain or shine. Movie start times depend on the time of sunset, and parking lots open approximately an hour before the movie.

When: Friday, 10/14, parking lot opens at 6pm and movie starts at 7pm.
Price: Tickets are $20/car and must be purchased online in advance.
Address: Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE, Washington, DC 20002.
Purchase tickets and learn more here.

Pumpkin Patch at Ashburn Fire Station 6

Bright orange pumpkins sitting in a pumpkin patch on a sunny fall day.
Photo by Anna Essentiels via Unsplash

Stock up on pumpkins and fall decorations at the Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Pumpkin Patch this Friday through Sunday (until supplies are sold out). The Fire Station will have everything from pumpkins, cornstalks, and  gourds to enjoyable fall fun!

When: Friday, 10/14-Sunday, 10/16. Open from 4pm-8pm on Friday, and 9am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Price: Free to attend, with supplies on sale.
Address: 20688 Ashburn Road, Ashburn, VA 20147.
Find out more here.

Morning Leaf Walk and Art Fun at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Children coloring and doing fall arts and crafts around a table.
Photo via

Kids can celebrate the season with this special program. Children start on a walk to collect beautiful leaves and learn about the changing of seasons, and then can enjoy some apple cider while using the leaves to create works of art!

When: Saturday, 10/15 from 10:30am-11:30am.
Price: Online registration is required and is $9/child. Parents are welcome to join, regular garden fee apply ($3-$6).
Address: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna, VA 22182.
Reserve a spot here.

Halloween Festival at Hogback Mountain Pony Rides

A young girl in bright pink sits on a pony for a pony ride.
Photo for

Hogback Mountain Pony Rides is hosting a Halloween Festival, complete with pony rides, fire twirling, trick-or-treating from vendor booths, meet-and-greets with a mermaid, a leather-working demonstration, food, and more. Guests can even have a photo session with Clyde the unicorn!

When: Saturday, 10/15 from 10am-5pm.
Price: Admission and parking are free, but pony rides and unicorn photo sessions need to be purchased. 1 pony ride is $7, and an all-you-can-ride pony ride pass can be purchased for $25. Time slots need to be reserved for the unicorn photo sessions, and cost $129.
Address: 19732 Hogback Mountain Road Leesburg, VA 20175.
See a full list of vendors and purchase passes here.

Haunted Lab at Children’s Science Center

An adult demonstrates a science experiment to a child in a children's science center lab.
Photo via Children's Science Center

The Haunted Lab at the Children’s Science Center is still going strong! Reserve 2 hours of frightfully fun science in the Haunted Lab and enjoy a spooky scavenger hunt, learn about probability with Monster Genetics, create Frankenslime, and more. Dressing in family-friendly costumes is encouraged.

When: Saturday, 10/15 or Sunday, 10/16. Reservations are for a 2-hour timeslot: 10 am-12 pm or 2-4 pm.
Price: Free for children 2 and under. $15/participant for all other ages and adults. Address: Children’s Science Center, 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA 22033
Click here to register for Saturday or here to register for Sunday.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Dozens of bright hot air balloons float against a clear blue sky.
Photo by Ian Dooley for Unsplash

The Prince William County Fairgrounds is hosting a hot air balloon festival this Saturday and Sunday! Watch incredible hot air balloons take flight, and even take a ride in one. Each night will also include a Balloon Glow and Laser Show as a grand finale. This special event will also have a kid’s zone with games, trains, a bounce house, rock-climbing walls, and more! Plus, enjoy a DJ, live music, and food and vendor booths.

When: Saturday, 10/15 and Sunday, 10/16 beginning at 5pm.
Price: Child tickets are $8/day plus processing fees, and adult tickets are $20/day plus fees. There are also 2 day passes available for children and adults.
Address: 10624 Dumfries Rd., Manassas, VA 20112.
To see more details and purchase tickets, visit their website here.

2022 Turkish Festival

Crowds walk around the Turkish Festival in Washington, DC with a view of the Capitol Building in the background.
Photo of the 2019 Turkish Festival via

Celebrate the 20th Annual Turkish Festival in Washington, DC! Families can enjoy a day filled with authentic Turkish cuisine, live music and entertainment, folk dancing performances, Turkish arts and crafts vendors, kid’s activities, a Turkish coffeehouse and fortune telling, and cultural activities.

When: Sunday, 10/16 from 11am-7pm.
Price: Admission is free.
Address: Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 3rd Street and 7th Street in Washington, DC.
See a full list of vendors and programming here.

Planetarium Show at Franklin Park Arts Center

An inflatable planetarium done sits on a stage before guests arrive for the show.
Photo via Franklin Park Arts Center.

Step inside Franklin Park Arts Center’s inflatable dome planetarium to experience the wonder of space in this interactive program. This Sunday, look out into our universe and discover what we can see in the dark. This planetarium show is recommended for guests ages 4 and up. There will also be activities available in the lobby before and after the program. The show lasts about 40 minutes.

When: Sunday, 10/16 with start times at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, or 4pm.
Price: Tickets are $8/person and must be purchased in advance.
Address: 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, VA 20132.
Purchase tickets here.

Fields of Fear at Cox Farms

Teenagers scream through a haunted corn field at Halloween.
Photo via Fields of Fear on Twitter

This season’s Fields of Fear continue at Cox Farms! See the dark side of Cox Farms this fall and brave their 20 acres of themed attractions, perfect for adults and older children seeking spooky activities. Thrills include the Dark Side Hayride through the abandoned Lost Circus, the Forest: Back 40 where you’ll shriek your way through a haunted forest of chainsaws and frights, and the Cornightmare, the scariest corn maze of its kind. If you need a break from the frightful activities, you can visit the Firegrounds, where you’ll find blazing fires, karaoke, a dance floor, music, and a six-lane slide.

When: Every Friday and Saturday night through 11/5 from 7:30pm-11pm.
Price: Tickets are only available online and should be purchased in advance. Cost of admission varies depending on peak days. Regular pricing is $30/guest and peak pricing is $35/guest.
Address: 15621 Braddock Rd, Centreville, VA 20121.  
Learn more and purchase tickets on their website.


Ellen Howes

Ellen is a bookworm, runner, and proud auntie. She makes her home in DC and can usually be found somewhere in Rock Creek Park.