The New Year is upon us and it seems that everyone and their mother has a book suggestion.
You may be wondering, what books should your kids be reading? Sure, they’ve probably read a good stack for school this year. But if you’re looking for ways to get them more interested, excited or confident in reading, here are 10 local events to attend this month.
Ukulele Storytime Wednesday, Jan. 15, 10:30-11 a.m. What’s better than getting to listen to a story with your kids? Getting to hear music to go along with it, of course! Let your child listen to a few stories while live music is played by the Northern Virginia Ukulele Society musicians. From infants to 5-year-olds, this story time will have them singing, laughing, clapping and learning along at Fairfax County Library. // Burke Centre Library: 5935 Freds Oak Road, Burke; free
Barnes & Noble Story Time: Baby & Me Friday, Jan. 17, 11 a.m. Most little movers or stroller riders aren’t quite old enough to sit for an entire story time, but luckily, this one is designed just for them. Every Friday at the Tysons Corner Center Barnes & Noble, local families can bring their babies to enjoy interactive activities and board books for all. // Barnes & Noble at Tysons Corner Center: 7851 Tysons Corner Center, McLean; free
Barnes & Noble Storytime: Nobody Hugs a Cactus Saturday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m. With hands-on activities and an intimate story time with local residents, even the littlest Northern Virginians can learn from a story about the prickliest cactus in the entire world. With lessons on the reality of loneliness for kids, as well as how to make friends and accept one another, this story will be sure to inspire you and your children while being a fun morning outing in January. // Barnes & Noble at Fair Lakes Promenade: 12193 Fair Lakes Promenade Drive, Fairfax; free
Seniors & Kids Pajama Story Time Jan. 21, 6:30-7 p.m. Everyone loves a good story before bed, and this intergenerational program brings together the love of reading to all ages through read-aloud stories, songs, rhymes and activities. Families are encouraged to participate together, borrow books they want to read and wear their favorite pajamas to the local library. // Arlington Central Library: 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington; free
Stories to Grow On Wednesday, Jan. 22, 11-11:45 a.m. Meant for children up to age 5, this story time is not to “sit still and listen.” Through language development, large motor skills and social growth, little attendees will get to move, act, sing, dance and play while listening to a chosen story. Plus, yoga and take-home crafts are often themed with the story to help with all-around learning. // Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library: 717 Queen St., Alexandria; free
Paws to Read Wednesday, Jan. 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Having open ears to listen while you read, especially when they’re patient while you learn, is priceless. Let your child practice reading out loud to local therapy dogs, and not only will they get in their much-needed practice times, they’ll get puppy hugs and kisses too. This event is meant for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. // Shirlington Branch Library: 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington; free
Reading Buddies in Loudoun County Thursday, Jan. 23, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Learning to read doesn’t always mean your child is going to love to read (It’s a tough process, remember?). Let your child, from preschool through second grade, pair up with a local teen in order to learn to build their reading confidence and develop a better relationship with the activity. This one-on-one reading time will be beneficial to all. // Brambleton Library: 22850 Brambleton Plaza, Bambleton; free
Barnes & Noble Storytime: How to Catch a Dragon Saturday, Jan. 25, 11 a.m. In honor of the Lunar New Year, the Manassas Barnes & Noble location will be hosting a silly story time for kids, where they will learn how the dragon will avoid trap after trap in order to be fully trained, and they will get to try it for themselves! Hear the story and let your little ones get past the paper lanterns, red envelopes, fireworks and more. Plus, color your very own paper lantern to take home in time for the holiday. // Barnes & Noble at Westgate Plaza: 8117 Sudley Road, Manassas; free
Spanish Circle Time / El Circulo de Cuentos en Español Monday, Jan. 27, 11-11:45 a.m. Whether your child’s first language is Spanish or they’re in the process of learning, Spanish Circle Time with Ms. Roxana, also known as Señora Roxana, allows local little ones of all ages to hear story time in Spanish, from beloved classic kids’ books to those that may have never been heard of before. // Bull Run Regional Library: 8051 Ashton Ave., Manassas; free
Reading Tails: Read to Animals at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter Sunday, Feb. 9, 4-5:30 p.m. Help your child learn to love to read and help local shelter pets at this 90-minute program hosted by Fairfax County Animal Shelter. Local children of all reading ages are welcome to participate in Reading Tails, where they will get a tour of the shelter with behind-the-scenes areas and adoption facilities, as well as 30 minutes to read aloud to the shelter dogs and cats before they settle in for bed. Small flashlights and cozy blankets are provided. // Fairfax County Animal Shelter: 4500 W. Ox Road, Fairfax; free
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Fun, family-friendly and free? Sign us up! Find six January events to take the kiddos to throughout the region, below.
Mommy and Me Organizational Workshop Saturday, Jan. 11, 10-11 a.m. It’s time to get organized! Parents and kids will enjoy this workshop at the Erin Condren Mosaic District store, where they’ll learn organization tips and tricks from expert Rachel Rosenthal and her twin daughters, Ellie and Marin. // Erin Condren at Mosaic District: 2905 District Ave., Suite 140, Fairfax; free
Family Fun Obstacle Course and Open House Saturday, Jan. 11, 5-6 p.m. Enjoy a fitness class and obstacle course designed for ages 4 and up. The 45-minute family challenge will be held by Focus Family Karate in its indoors facility, followed by healthy snacks. // Focus Family Karate: 11230 Waples Mill Road, Suite 160, Fairfax; free
Cottage Stories with Miss Laura Tuesday, Jan. 14, 10:15-10:45 a.m. Miss Laura will be reading seasonal stories to preschool-aged children (although all age groups are welcome) inside the “story cottage,” a cozy place where kids can engage with the readings and learn something along the way too. // Nalls Produce: 7310 Beulah St., Alexandria; free
Music and Movement with Ms. Dotty Every Wednesday, 10-10:30 a.m. Learn and have fun through music with Ms. Dotty. This event encourages parents and toddlers to bond and meet new friends as they dance and sing along to their favorite kid-friendly songs. // Famille Cafe: 700A W. Broad St., Falls Church; free
LEGOs Kids’ Club Thursday, Jan. 16, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Do your children love LEGOs? Head to Burke Centre Library to construct a LEGO building of their dreams as they socialize with other local kids. // Burke Centre Library: 5935 Freds Oak Road, Burke; free
Rocks With Cops Saturday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-noon Participate in the rock painting movement sweeping the nation, where kids and adults alike hide painted rocks across the country to spread joy to those who find them, known as the Kindness Rocks Project. The Sully District Station will be hosting its Rock with Cops event to bond with local families through painting and conversation. All supplies will be provided, but guests are free to bring their own as well. // Sully District Police Station: 4900 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly; free
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First, let’s state the obvious: Child care is expensive. The not so obvious? In America, child care is unaffordable in all 50 states and in DC, according to Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA), an organization that aims to provide every family access to high-quality, affordable child care across the nation.
In its 13th annual, recently released study, “The U.S. and The High Price of Child Care: An Examination of a Broken System,” CCAoA found that across all states, the price of center-based care exceeds 27% of median household income for single working parents, especially families of color, and in the state of Virginia, the annual price of center-based infant care is $14,560, which is 13.7% of the median income.
Specifically for DC, the average annual price of full-time, center-based child care in 2018 was $24,081 for an infant, $23,017 for a toddler and $18,980 for a 4-year-old. Median income for a single-parent family is $25,670, meaning the annual care of an infant in a center is 93.8% of the median income. For a married-couple family, median income is $173,340 and infant care in a center is 13.9% of this median income.
But the study also found that families living in the suburbs, including in Northern Virginia, are paying similar child care prices to those living in DC.
Compared to the average annual cost of tuition and fees at a Virginia public, four-year college or university ($13,490), child care annually costs 7.93% more than college tuition.
Broken down even further, single parents in Virginia pay 48.2% of their income for center-based infant child care, and the annual price of center-based child care for two children costs a married couple living at or below the federal poverty line over 100% of their annual household income.
To see the full study, as well as more in-depth details on the methodology and findings, click here.
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No matter the time of year in Northern Virginia, a movie night with the kids is always a good idea. Yet in the winter it seems almost ideal, as it provides entertainment for the entire family while staying warm and avoiding the chill of seasonal activities like ice skating or sledding.
From now until February, three family-friendly films packed with highly acclaimed actors are coming to the box office, and here we share details about them all.
Premiering Friday, Jan. 17 More than 50 years later, animal-whisperer Dr. Doolittle is coming back to big screens everywhere. This time, Robert Downey Jr. stars as the physician whose only companions are an array of exotic animals that he can, in fact, speak with. In this adaptation, Dr. Dolittle and his furry friends must leave the safety of their 19th-century manor in England to find the cure for Queen Victoria’s life-threatening sickness on a mythical, unknown island. Kids will delight in the entertaining tale, and adults will recognize the voices of a few of their favorite stars, like Emma Thompson, Michael Sheen, Selena Gomez and many more.
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Premiering Friday, Feb. 14 While millennial-age individuals will recognize the name from the action-packed video game created by Sega, blue superhero Sonic is entering the real world this year in the newly adapted film Sonic the Hedgehog. In this one-of-a-kind story, Sonic mysteriously lands in the rural town of Green Hills and accidentally attracts attention from government officials due to his powers. In order to escape the wrath of Dr. Ivo Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey, Sonic befriends small town cop Tom Waschowski (James Marsden). Watch it all unfold in theaters starting Valentine’s Day.
Premiering Friday, Feb. 21 Over a century ago ago, legendary novel The Call of the Wild made its debut on bookshelves across the country, telling of strong sled dogs who fought for survival on a daily basis in Yukon, Canada. This February, families will get an inside look at the life of Buck, a unique dog who was taken from his home to become a sled dog. The animated figure will become the support system of John Thornton, played by highly acclaimed actor Harrison Ford. Through the intricate scenes and the well-written plot, originally by Jack London, this film is sure to catch the attention of viewers of all ages.
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When Dezi Rebelo wanted an iPhone three years ago, her mother Barbi challenged her with the task of buying it herself. Unlike most 10-year-olds, Dezi went for it, ultimately deciding to combine her passion for dogs and her interest in organic food to create Wag and Woof, a self-made dog treat business.
Plus, she got herself that iPhone.
“Whenever my mom and I would go to the store to get treats for our dog, we would read the labels and couldn’t find any ingredients that we know how to pronounce, which I know isn’t good,” says Dezi, who will be 13 at the end of the month. “I wanted to make a healthier treat that would still be delicious for dogs.”
Inspired by a recipe for dog treats found in a cookbook she received for Christmas one year, Dezi set out to tweak it a bit, creating treats that are completely free of chemicals and other preservatives typically found in brand-name pet treats.
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Since starting the company, Dezi has made a batch of dog treats nearly every month, featuring a unique flavor each time. Over the years, she has made anything from pumpkin to apple bacon, all taste-tested by her own miniature dachshund.
“I know I’ve made a good batch when my dog comes running into the kitchen while they’re in the oven,” Dezi explains.
Depending on how many order requests she receives online, Dezi will bake anywhere from 50 to 250 monthly, all of which are sent out around the 15th day of each month. In addition to online sales, Dezi participates in the annual Young Entrepreneur Business Fair in Gainesville, and also regularly sets up a booth at local businesses to sell her products.
According to Barbi, there are about 50 people who regularly purchase Dezi’s treats each month, ranging in location from here in Northern Virginia to Ohio too.
As for which treat Dezi’s miniature dachshund likes the most? Peanut butter bacon, which she continues to bake and refine.
“I am definitely going to keep doing this,” says the soon-to-be teen of her growing small business. “My favorite part is when I go to local business fairs and see how dogs react. Plus, I love when my dog comes running at the smell.”
Want to purchase this month’s flavor for yourself? Make your inquiry on Wag and Woof’s Facebook page.
Some of the best things about living in Northern Virginia are its family-friendly events, great school systems and safe housing, making it a desirable region for those raising a family. As such, Northern Virginia Magazine covers family-themed stories weekly (we even have an e-newsletter that’s sent out every Thursday). Below, find the top 10 family stories our readers loved most in 2019.
Dad might want to spend the day just “resting his eyes,” but these events were worth spending some time off of the couch on Father’s Day 2019. Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming June issue, which will feature events coming to the region for Father’s Day 2020.
We listed out the best local Mother’s Day events for sharing the day with your mom and celebrating the special relationship between you and her. Our May 2020 issue will once again list out need-to-know information on the best Mother’s Day events around Northern Virginia.
Endless summer? Nah, it only feels that way when you’re trying to fill it with experiences that will keep your kids fulfilled and enriched throughout the dog days. And while it might never feel normal to map out your kids’ entire summer before the season begins, here’s something that might make you feel a bit better about it: a massive list of camps chosen by our readers as the best of the best.
This year for Halloween, we knew many parents were worried about being out late on a school night or trekking down dark neighborhood streets. So, we compiled a list of safe community events that were costume-worthy and stocked with sweet treats. Come next Halloween, we’ll do the same thing, and might even add in a fun, spooky story or two.
January is right around the corner, and after such a busy holiday schedule, you might be in search of a few local activities to fill the holes in your calendar.
To get some more fresh air and stay active with the kids, check out these nine local events coming to Potomac Overlook Regional park in January. // Potomac Overlook Regional Park: 2845 Marcey Road, Arlington
New Year’s Resolution Hike Wednesday, Jan. 1, 9-10 a.m. If your New Year’s resolution involves exercise or simply getting more fresh air, this hike is the perfect way to get you off on the right foot. Head to the nature center at Potomac Overlook Regional Park to join park members and other local residents to expore the outdoors in honor of 2020. // free
Nature Hike: Changing Seasons Sunday, Jan. 5, 1-2 p.m. Native animals in Northern Virginia can be tough to identify, but not with an expert by your side. Join the crew, including a NOVA Parks naturalist, at Potomac Overlook Regional Park for a hike of examining plants, animals and the environment, especially as the coldest temperatures of winter start to arrive in the area. // $10 per person
Wednesday Wonders Every Wednesday of the month, 10:15-11 a.m. Your little ones need a chance to explore too! Head to this weekly workshop for kids where they can learn a new natural topic through hands-on activities, fun presentations and more. These events are designed for 2- to 5-year-olds, and hope to help even the littlest participants start to love science. // $40 for series, $12 drop-in per child
Birds in Winter Saturday, Jan. 11, 8-9:30 a.m. Our flying friends are up to their normal winter antics this year, and it’s time for you to catch a glimpse. Whether you’re a birding expert or a casual “look up in the sky,” kind of person, you can learn a lot about our area’s native species through this short and sweet workshop. Appropriate for ages 5 and up. // $5 per person
Tree ID Hike Saturday, Jan. 11, 9-10 a.m. Sure, during the holiday season we bring trees inside, decorate them with lights and ornaments, and eagerly announce, “It’s a fraser fir!” or, “This one’s a blue spruce,” but do we really know what trees are native to our area? Head to this outdoor class that will have you identifying Northern Virginia trees in no time. // $10 per person
Night Hike and Campfire – Nocturnal Animals Saturday, Jan. 18, 6-7:30 p.m. When the sun goes down, lace up your boots. Join a NOVA Parks naturalist for a night hike learning all about nocturnal wildlife in Northern Virginia. Attendees will learn what makes these species adapted to nightlife and, if you’re lucky, meet some of them up close. Appropriate for families with children ages 6 and up. // $10 per participant
Animal Feeding: Frogs and Toads Saturday, Jan. 25, 1-2 p.m. Our local amphibian friends need to be cared for too. Hop at the chance to meet Northern Virginia’s resident croakers at this short workshop and feeding of local species of frogs and toads. This event is appropriate for families with children ages 4 and up. // $5 per participant
Agents of Discovery Sunday, Jan. 26, 2-4 p.m. Agents of Discovery is a fun and educational mobile app that takes users across the park as they compete in virtual and physical challenges while learning about animals, native species and more. Attendees can meet at the nature center to learn how to use the app and set off to complete as many cool challenges as you can. All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. // free
Junior Naturalist Day Camp Friday, Jan. 31, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Make your kiddos happy campers by enrolling them in a day camp about what naturalists do in the Northern Virginia parks in the winter. All attendees will learn the daily duties and tasks of local naturalists while exploring through the nature of the park grounds. Campers must be 7 to 9 years old. // $95 per camper
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Here’s where to find family-friendly New Year’s Eve events across the region, including fun “Noon Year’s Eve” parties for the little ones. Cheers to the new decade!
Noon Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-noon Even the littlest members of the family want to get in on the fun, but midnight might just be a bit too late. Join the Columbia Pike Library in celebrating the end of 2019 with interactive games, hands-on activities, light snacks and a countdown to noon. // Columbia Pike Branch Library: 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington; free
Noon Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-noon As much as they want to, the kids in your family probably won’t be staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve (time to use the good old dad joke, “See ya next year!” when they head to bed). Celebrate 2020’s arrival at Kingstowne Library with arts and crafts and a countdown to noon on the final day of the year. // Kingstown Library: 6500 Landsdowne Center Drive, Alexandria; free
Noon Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve parties tend to have a lot of energy, so why not let the kids expend some of their own? Head to My Gym and let them enjoy games designed just for them, with the chance to run, climb, jump and play, and they’ll enjoy a live balloon drop for their very own high-energy party to start the new decade. // My Gym: 5810 Kingstowne Center, Suite 110, Alexandria; $15 for members, $18 for nonmembers (additional siblings are discounted)
New Year’s Eve at Uno Dec. 31, 4-8 p.m. Fun crafts, goody bags and slices of pizza … need we say more? Uno Pizzeria & Grill is celebrating the new year with two family-friendly time slots, allowing everyone to enjoy a great end-of-year meal (kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree), a countdown to 5 and 7 p.m. and a ginger ale toast to wrap up the night. // Uno Pizzeria & Grill: 5935 Kingstowne Center, Alexandria; free entry, food prices vary
First Night Alexandria Dec. 31, 6 p.m. There’s a lengthy list of entertainment scheduled for this year’s 25th annual First Night Alexandria celebration, from comedy shows and live music, to a fireworks display and more. But if you’re looking to keep the night’s activities rated PG, head to the Kids Karnival. Held at four locations (Charles Houston Recreation Center, Mount Vernon Recreation Center, Washington Street United Methodist Church and William Ramsay Recreation Center), the carnival-style celebration will include face painting, interactive games, balloons and more for children 12 years old and under. // Locations vary; $5 for kids, parents are free
New Year’s Eve Around the World Dec. 31, 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. For your STEM-loving kid, this New Year’s Eve celebration is the way to go. Join other children in building kid-engineered noisemakers and confetti throwers that the whole family can enjoy. Then, take them home to use at your own celebration later into the night. // Children’s Science Center Lab: 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax; $13 per child
Kid Junction Noon Year Party Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-noon Let your kids mix and mingle with new local friends and celebrate New Year’s Eve on their own time. The party will include open play in the gym, a $5 game card and milk served in Champagne glasses with Oreos and cupcakes to enjoy. The best part? There will be a confetti drop at noon. // Kid Junction: 4090 Lafayette Center Drive, Suite E, Chantilly; $20 per child
Kids’ Countdown to New Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-noon Gymboree Play & Music is a great place to start your New Year’s celebration off right, especially when your toddlers need a few fun activities to get their hands into. Let your kids climb, roll, dance, play and sing to kid-friendly tunes in the open gym space, prior to the noon countdown in honor of the holiday. // Gymboree Play & Music: 6045 Burke Center Parkway, Suite 204, Burke; $25
Noon Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Super, Awesome & Amazing at The St. James is a hub for fun with over 30,000 square feet of play areas for kids to enjoy. Grab a pass and celebrate the New Year by letting the kids splash though the water park, learn to reach new heights on the rock-climbing wall, explore new realities with virtual-reality technology and e-sports areas and climb their way through the American Ninja Warrior-style gym. Plus, parents get in free (and there’s an open bar) and a balloon drop will be held at noon. // The St. James: 6805 Industrial Blvd., Springfield; $37 (kids ages 4 and older), free for adults
Rocknoceros’ New Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. This annual end-of-year show is the perfect excuse to let your kids sing, dance and clap along to the kid-inspired local band, Rocknoceros. Attendees will also enjoy a full countdown in typical New Year’s Eve fashion and an apple juice toast to ring in their new decade. // Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; $10-$15
Noon Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-noon Put on your dancing shoes and head to the Richard Byrd Library for a dance party destined to be as great as the upcoming new year. This event is designed for ages 3 to 8 who love to sing, bop, bounce and wiggle along with the music and celebrate a countdown at noon. // Richard Byrd Library: 7250 Commerce St., Springfield; free
Noon Year’s Eve Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. A day full of fun is a day well-spent, and so is the new year! Ring in 2020 with a kid-friendly, daytime celebration at Chantilly Regional Library, and enjoy family-friendly games, hands-on activities and a countdown to noon for all ages. // Chantilly Regional Library: 4000 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly; free
Commitment Day 2020: Kids New Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31 11 a.m.-2 p.m. If you’re looking for a break from the kids in order to enjoy a New Year’s Day lunch or brunch, drop them off at Life Time Athletic for an early afternoon celebration with healthy snacks, games, crafts and a balloon drop to celebrate. The event will allow you all to enjoy some refreshing holiday time having fun, and then reunite ready to take on the rest of the holiday together. // Life Time Athletic – Centreville: 5900 Trinity Parkway, Centreville; $30 day pass
Midday Family New Year’s Eve 2020 Dec. 31, 5-8 p.m. Keeping the kids entertained on a holiday can be tough, especially when you want it to be a fun, enjoyable experience for all ages. Head to Dave & Buster’s to give them free rein for the final day of the year. Kids can play interactive games, enjoy an appetizer buffet and dessert, and catch the video ball drop well before midnight. // Dave & Busters Fair Oaks Mall: 12000 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax; $33.74 and up
New Year’s Eve in London – A Family Celebration Dec. 31, 5-8 p.m. Bowl America has set their clocks ahead of time and is ready to ring in the new year with London, England, right here in Northern Virginia. Bring the whole family to enjoy an evening of bowling strikes and spares, assorted appetizers and a new decade of fun. // Bowl America Burke: 5615 Guinea Road, Burke; $7.99 and up
Busy Bees Falls Church Dec. 31, 3-5 p.m. Rock out with the Rainbow Rock Band and dance, sing, snack and play the afternoon away with a kid-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration at Busy Bees. The kids will get the chance to enjoy the space, make new friends, munch on Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets and have a toast with bubbly apple cider. Cheers to a new year! // Busy Bees: 6110 D Arlington Blvd., Falls Church; $30 per child, adults are free (food is included for your child)
Noon Year’s Eve at Monkey Joe’s Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Bouncing into the new year is just what your little ones want to do anyway, so let them bounce until they’re tuckered out at Monkey Joe’s. The location will have a countdown to noon, and a day full of prizes and giveaways for attendees. // Monkey Joe’s (Dulles): 23521 Overland Drive, Suite 120, Sterling; $12.99
Family New Year’s Eve at The Zone Dec. 31, 6 p.m. The Zone will be hosting a New Year’s Eve party fit for adults before midnight, but it will also be hosting a kid-friendly version at 6 p.m. Enjoy great eats and participate in the singalong countdown in the evening, with a Champagne toast for adults and an apple cider toast for kids. The kids can then enjoy laser tag, bowling, arcade games and more with their $15 game card and unlimited laser tag. // The Zone: 43811 Central Station Drive, Suite 100, Ashburn; $20.20 per person
New Year’s Eve in London – A Family Party Dec. 31, 5-8 p.m. The clocks are set ahead by five hours, which means you and the family get to party five hours early! Come bowl the evening away at Bowl America Dranesville with three hours of unlimited bowling, assorted appetizers and unlimited soft drinks. // Bowl America Dranesville: 46940 Woodson Drive, Sterling; $7.99 and up
British New Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 5-10 p.m. The entire world celebrates New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to some extent, and Vanish is celebrating the holiday Liverpool-style. Come out for the “British New Year’s Eve Party,” to enjoy food specials, test the new cider release, have your child’s face painted, listen to live music and watch the balloon drop in honor of 2020. // Vanish: 42245 Black Hops Lane, Leesburg; free admission, food and drink prices vary
Family New Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 7-9 p.m. Comedian and juggler Mark Nizer will bring his one-man show fit for kids to the Franklin Park Arts Center for a New Year’s Eve celebration like no other. Don’t miss your chance to laugh and see the juggling, movement, music and technology that comes along with a one-man band. // Franklin Parks Art Center: 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville; $10 per person, $35 for family for four or more
New Year’s Eve Family Party Dec. 31, 7 p.m.-midnight Salamander Resort & Spa is a great place to celebrate the holidays and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Fill your festive night with music, dancing, drinking, games and a dinner buffet, while waiting to celebrate the ball drop. Twenty-one-and-older attendees will have special access to the New Year’s Eve party in the living room, but children are welcome throughout other parts of the resort. // Salamander Resort & Spa: 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg; $45-$179
Prince William County
Uptown Alley’s New Year’s Eve Party Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. All-day entertainment is the way to go when you have no other plans for you and the kids. Head to Uptown Alley to enjoy 90 minutes of bowling (with shoe rentals included), four games of laser tag, $40 in game cards for the arcade and one single-topping pizza with soft drinks. The location will be giving out over $1,000 in prizes throughout the day and hosting a balloon drop for the kids at 4 p.m. // Uptown Alley: 8300 Sudley Road, Manassas; $100 for four people, $20 per additional person
New Year’s Disco Party Dec. 31, noon-5 p.m. Disco, dance and skate your way into the New Year at Skate N Fun, and you could be entered to win a brand-new set of roller skates. The rink will be hosting games, giving out prizes and playing all of your favorite family-friendly disco tunes for the afternoon. Plus, don’t miss the balloon drop for everyone at 4 p.m. // Skate N Fun: 7878 Sudley Road, Manassas; $12 admission, $4.50 skate rental
Leap into 2020 Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Ring in the New Year by giving your family the chance to battle each other at Laser Quest. The entire family can join in on the fun with themed missions, creative challenges and the heart-pumping excitement of laser tag. Light snacks are included. // Laser Quest: 14517 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge; $25-$30 per person
What’s on your wish list this year?
“We’d love a family tent. My family and I have gotten into hiking and nature quite a bit lately. A nice, big outdoor tent is so fun to take to a campground, or even just set up in our backyard in Falls Church. Instant bonding time and great fun!”
What’s your favorite NoVA holiday tradition?
“Our favorite holiday tradition is by far Santa’s workshop at Merrifield Garden Center. We don’t miss it. Up until recently, Santa himself was making many appearances but has since cut back. But simply walking through the garden center and checking out all its Christmas trees so beautifully decorated makes us all smile. The cookies, popcorn and punch on hand don’t hurt either.”
What’s your favorite NoVA holiday tradition?
“Every year I love going to Reston Town Center with friends. We love taking pictures in front of the large Christmas tree, going ice skating and grabbing dinner. But my absolute favorite holiday tradition is taking a quick trip down to Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Williamsburg. It really puts me in the holiday mood.”
This post originally appeared in our December 2019 issue. For more holiday gift guides, click here. For more life and style content, subscribe to our newsletters.