Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Dad Camp 2022

The week before school begins every year is Dad Camp. It started when The Moose was only about five months old the week prior to his beginning going to day care and continues up to today as my kids entered 6th grade, 3rd grade, and kindergarten. Now is probably a good time to mention that all three kids are at the same school for this first (and only) time ever. One drop off in the morning and everyone is in the same location. It’s wonderful!

Over the years, I’ve taken the kids to a variety of places in the DC metropolitan area. Dad Camp was rather limited in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid restrictions and the lack of vaccinations for kids, but we were able to visit some new places over the last few years. I should mention that the real purpose of this post is a reminder for myself of activities I can do with the kids for Dad Camp 2023 and beyond! Anyway, here’s what we did this year:

Monday: Mini golf

Fairfax County’s Park Authority has several miniature golf locations across the county. The ones we’ve been to at Oak Marr and Burke Lake are quite enjoyable. Burke Lake also has a disc golf course which I took my kids to for the first time recently separately from Dad Camp. It wasn’t a disaster, so we’ll try again later this fall.

Tuesday: Puppet show and a movie

I don’t want to call out the production company, but the puppet show was just odd. Others we’ve seen over the years have been more interactive. The Moose was definitely too old for the show. Not doing that again. Meanwhile, Regal Cinemas have $2 kids’ movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Even though my kids watched the film several years ago, we saw The Secret Life of Pets for our first trip to a movie theater since the experience ended with a trip to the emergency room. As a bonus, Regal has half price deals on popcorn on Tuesdays, so yes, I bought the largest tub possible for us to share.

Wednesday: Cubs-Nationals Game

I’d like to thank Major League Baseball for scheduling a weekday afternoon game during Dad Camp. The stadium wasn’t crowded, and possibly because the Nationals are pretty terrible this year, the team has a kids eat free promotion to encourage families to attend. I’d also like to thank the person who handed me 4 free tickets while we waited in line to buy some.

Thursday: Meet the Teacher Day

I really appreciate that the school has separate times based on grade levels. All-school activities are an absolute nightmare for crowds and parking. Unfortunately for me, the open houses were 10:00-11:00 for kindergarten, 12:00-1:00 for grades 1-3, and 2:00-3:00 for grades 4-6. That meant three separate trips to school and lots of back and forth.

Friday: Hirschhorn Museum

While my kids would generally be quite happy playing and watching sports every day, occasionally, I try to sprinkle in a little bit of culture in their lives. Enter the “One With Eternity” exhibit by Yayoi Kusama. The Hirshhorn hosted a Kusama exhibit several years ago, and while it looked amazing, I never made it to the National Mall. Now, The Hirshhorn has several Kusama pieces as part of its permanent collection, and I thought the kids would enjoy it. They did!

We arrived on the National Mall right around 9:30 AM, which turned out to be perfect since that’s when you can begin to park on most streets like 7th Avenue SW between the Hirshhorn and Air & Space Museum with beautiful views of the Washington Monument and US Capitol. We got in line to get timed passes for the Kusama exhibit and got 11:15 tickets. This gave us plenty of time to walk on the mall and explore the Hirshhorn’s sculpture garden and other parts of the museum before seeing “Pumpkin” and her two Infinity Mirror rooms. I highly recommend checking them out.

Weekend Bonus: A Loudoun United soccer match. 

The Moose and Pedro Tulo were able to be part of the pregame ceremony where kids lined up on the field as the players gave high-fives and walked through. 

Another successful week of Dad Camp! I’d like to try Luray Caverns next year. If you have any other ideas for things to do in the DC area, please share them in the comments section.


Amy said...

Just a comment - my brother had a girlfriend who was from Luray and she used to correct us that it was pronounced LOO-ray (like "Hoo-ray for Lu-ray") instead of Luh-RAY like most people in the DC area pronounce it.

If your kids like Wizard of Oz I've heard this place is cool (never been): https://www.mommynearest.com/edition/washington-dc/article/this-wizard-of-oz-themed-playground-is-a-must-visit

Anonymous said...

Dad and I visited the Luray caverns several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The boys would love it!

Sean said...

Didn't know about the pronunciation of Luray and haven't heard of the Wizard of Oz park. Might have to check it out.