Hidden Gems

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North Atlantic Right Whale - Museum of Natural History

Photo: Alissa Kempler

Saddle up

for a pony ride at the Rock Creek Park Horse Center. Known for horse rides catering to ages 12 and older, the stable also offers 10-to-15-minute pony rides for younger kids along a wooded mini-trail. Budding equestrians must be at least 30 inches tall.  Afterward, keep your little one smiling with a visit to the nearby Rock Creek Park Nature Center for stories, animal feedings, and planetarium shows. Horse Center: 202-362-0117, rockcreekhorsecenter.com. Nature Center: 202-895-6070; nps.gov/rocr

Candyce H. Stapen

Sleep under a life-size model of a 45-foot-long right whale

on a sleepover at the National Museum of Natural History. The evening starts with an “Exploration of Extremes” through the exhibits, where kids may be asked to craft bioluminescent creatures, eat like a Tyrannosaurus Rex (with no hands), or collect rocks using remote control “arms” like moon astronauts. They’ll watch an Imax movie in their pajamas before climbing into sleeping bags in Sant Ocean Hall. Up to three children ages 8 to 12 may participate with one adult. $125. 202-633-3030; smithsoniansleepovers.org

Candyce H. Stapen

Swing through the woods like Tarzan

at Go Ape!, a ropes course in Rockville’s Rock Creek Regional Park. After a 30-minute safety session, you can make your way through the forest adventure at your own pace. You’ll soar through the treetops on a 340-foot zipline, crawl through a wooden tunnel, cross swinging bridges, and climb rope ladders. Participants must be at least four-foot-seven and ten years old; maximum weight is 285 pounds. Open March through mid-December. Adults $60.50, ages 10 to 17 $38.50. 888-520-7322; goape.com

Candyce H. Stapen

Go strawberry picking

at Homestead Farm in Poolesville. Although there are a lot of farms in the Washington area where you can pick your own produce, this 230-acre, family-owned operation offers one of the widest varieties. May’s strawberries herald the season, followed by tart cherries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, and squash. Buy a fresh-fruit smoothie or pie from the snack bar and picnic by the lake. There are resident chickens, pigs, sheep, and goats to meet. In fall, the farm features apples, pumpkins, hayrides, and hot apple cider. 301-977-3761; homestead-farm.net

Candyce H. Stapen

Catch some air

at the new Maloof Skate Park at RFK Stadium. A legacy of 2011’s Maloof Money Cup professional skateboarding competition, the park—the first major skate venue in DC—opens in April. Designed to mimic street elements favored by Washington’s best skaters, it features ledges like those at Freedom Plaza, rails like the handrails at Metro Center, plus stairs and ramps. The plaza design allows two skateboarders to ride at once. For those who prefer to watch instead of skate, this year’s Maloof Money Cup takes place in September—or you can stop by on a warm weekend afternoon when the park fills with fearless teens. 202-608-1100; eventsdc.com

Candyce H. Stapen

 

Article Details
Date: Print: April, 2012; Online: April, 2013
Publication: Washingtonian
Placement: Print & Website
Viewership: Millions
Link: www.washingtonian.com
Photography: Alissa Kempler
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