Photo by Ann Batdorf for the Smithsonian Institution, via

This Week’s Events for the Whole Family

From ice skating and family-friendly full moon hikes, to Paw Patrol Live and a chocolate lover's festival, we've gathered this week's events for the whole family.

Ellen Howes
Ellen Howes

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There’s something fun for everyone to explore this week! We’ve rounded up your list of family-friendly events to try, from great programs at various Smithsonians, to a chocolate lovers festival, to ice skating, Paw Patrol performances, and more!

Check out our list of 10 events happening now through February 5:

A Panda Story: Celebrating Giant Pandas at the National Zoo

Photo by Ann Batdorf for the Smithsonian Institution, via

Giant pandas are icons at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and beloved around the world! What's more, they represent how international collaboration and conservation science can save species. 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the arrival of giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing at the Zoo— the start of a decades-long giant panda program.The giant pandas have drawn millions of fans from around the world to the Zoo and millions more on the Panda Cam! This week, join Brandie Smith, the John and Adrienne Mars director of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, and David Rubenstein as they discuss the history of giant panda care at the Smithsonian, what scientists have learned throughout the decades-long program, and what might be next for Xiao Qi Ji, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and the future of the giant panda program.
When: Monday, 1/30 from 6:45 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Price: $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased to attend either virtually or in-person. In-person tickets must be purchased by 2 p.m. on 1/30.
Address: National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008
Read more about the event here.

Storytime: Soar in the Sky

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Have you ever wanted to fly in the sky? Join the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Air and Space Museum to explore nature from a bird’s-eye view at this upcoming Storytime. We’ll read Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds, look closely at Alma Thomas’s painting Sky Light, and create collaboratively with sky-inspired art-making and play!
When: Wednesday, 2/1 from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Price: Free
Address: Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Ave SW &, 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20560
Learn more here.

Flights of Fancy Drop-In Storytime at the Udvar-Hazy Center

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Children and their families can drop in for a fun and free storytime at the Udvar-Hazy Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings throughout February. February’s story is Pluto’s Secret, An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery by Margaret Weitekamp, David DeVorkin and illustrated by our educator, Diane Kidd. Learn about the icy worlds that exist at the edge of our solar system and then stay to create a model of a planet or the whole solar system.
When: Every Tuesday and Thursday in February, with storytimes beginning at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Price: Free
Address: Udvar-Hazy Center (National Air & Space Museum), 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly, VA 20151
Visit their website to find out more.

Chocolate Lovers Festival

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Experience the most delicious event of the year – The Chocolate Lovers Festival! At this City of Fairfax festival, enjoy 3-days of chocolate-inspired fun, including family-friendly events, activities, and, of course, the much-anticipated Taste of Chocolate at Old Town Hall. Adding to the excitement of this weekend is a search for the Golden Ticket! Limited-edition chocolate bars will be scattered throughout downtown with three bars containing a lucky Golden Ticket inside; lucky finders will be rewarded with a Chocolate Lovers Gift Basket. Visit the beautiful historic downtown Fairfax City businesses to search for your very own chocolate bar and possibly a Golden Ticket.
When: Friday, 2/3 through Sunday, 2/5.
Price: Admission is free, but tastings and some events may require a fee.
Address: Multiple locations in the City of Fairfax, including Old Town Hall, Fire Station 3, and the City of Fairfax Regional Library.
See all the details here.

Paw Patrol Live! Heroes Unite!

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Children and their families are invited to join the Paw Patrol pups and their loveable friends for a live performance from February 3-5 at George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena. At this special show, help the pups solve puzzles as honorary members of the pack while Ryder, Marshall, Skye, Everest, and more navigate the globe to make it back to Adventure Bay in the nick of time. Guests will enjoy stunning visual effects, captivating storytelling, and a fun musical score!
When: Friday, 2/3 through Sunday, 2/5. Various showtimes.
Price: Tickets start at $25
Address: EagleBank Arena, 4500 Patriot Cir., Fairfax, VA 22030
Click here to see more info.

Winter Lantern Festival

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Many holiday light displays may have ended, but this one’s going strong for two more weeks! Visit an immersive festival, illuminating the night sky in the heart of Northern Virginia. The Winter Lantern Festival creates a  dazzling world of light, featuring 1,000 handmade lanterns depicting Chinese myths, legends, and zodiacs, as well as the world of ice with displays of mammoths, polar bears, and penguins. Plus, enjoy interactive light swings, see-saws, and tunnels, too!
When: Friday, 2/3 through Sunday, 2/5, and closing after the following weekend (Sunday, 2/12). Various evening time slots available.
Price: $19.99 for youth ages 3-12, $31.99 for general admission
Address: Lerner Town Square at Tysons III, 8025 Galleria Dr., Tysons, VA 22102
Purchase tickets here.

Ice-travaganza at Reston Town Center

Photo by Karl Hornfeldt via Unsplash

Join Reston Town Center for a day of all things ice! Check out  ice sculptures and a live carving demonstration, then warm up with hot chocolate and s’mores. There will also be a live DJ, photo booth, ice skating performances at the Ice Rink, and more!
When: Saturday, 2/4 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Price: Free to attend
Address: Reston Town Center, 11900 Market St., Reston, VA 20190
See the schedule of events here.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Beauty & the Beat

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Join The Kennedy Center and members of the National Symphony Orchestra for a special performance to inspire young audiences to explore the magic of music. This melodic and rhythmic ride proves that no matter how different the instruments are, they can come together to make beautiful music! This performance is suitable for children ages 5+.
When: Saturday, 2/4 and Sunday, 2/5 at various times.
Price: $20/attendee
Address: The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC 20566
Purchase tickets here.

19th Annual Alexandria Warehouse Sale

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The Alexandria Boutique Sale returns in a walkable format once again! The popular longest-running winter affair will take place throughout Old Town over the weekend. The sale, which consists of nearly 50 independent boutiques from Alexandria and the surrounding region, will take place in stores, select side streets, and other spaces along King Street. Shoppers are sure to find the best deals from Alexandria and the region’s beloved retailers, indie brands, clothing, shoes, jewelry, home furnishings, and more. Attendees will get to shop from this wide variety of local brands at up to 80% off retail prices.
When: Saturday, 2/4 and Sunday, 2/5 at various times.
Price: Free to attend
Address: Multiple locations in Old Town, Alexandria.
See the full list of vendors here.

Families Outside: Full Moon Hike

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Explore the habitats of the John Hayes Forest Preserve with this naturalist-led nature outing! This activity will help you and your family enjoy the wonders surrounding the Croydon Creek Nature Center. Adults and children must register, and children must be accompanied by an adult.
When: Sunday, 2/5 from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Price: $6 registration fee
Address: Croydon Creek Nature Center, 852 Avery Rd, Rockville, MD 20851
Learn more here.

AlexandriaDCFairfaxNational ZooReston

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.