Summer is winding down and the weekend skies threaten rain. If you're at a loss for what to do this weekend, fear not: in the DC area we're fortunate to live near the Smithsonian Museums, where there are plenty of entertaining possibilities for you and the whole family. Check out our sampling of weekend activities:
- Movies: The Smithsonian's IMAX Theater continues its run of The Dark Night Rises. If Batman's not your cup of tea, take a virtual trip through a coral reef or tour the Artic; or experience an on-screen encounter with dinosaurs or monsters. The theatre is located in the Natural History Museum. For information on films, show times and prices, visit the IMAX Theater website.
- Visit Julia Child's kitchen: In celebration of the iconic chef's 100th birthday, the American History Museum has put Child's beloved kitchen back on display, for a limited time. The kitchen, from her Cambridge, Massachussetts, home, was the set of three television shows as well as the testing ground for many of her cookbook recipes. The tools, appliances and furnishings are arranged exactly as when Child donated the kitchen to the museum in 2001. The kitchen exhibit is on display from now through Sept. 3 (Labor Day).
- Experience history through live theatre: Join the Student Sit-ins at the Greensboro Lunch Counter at the American History Museum. Take the family to meet a Civil Rights activist in 1960 or take part in a training session based on an actual 1960s manual and prepare for a sit-in. Performers bring to life the people, emotions and stories tied to the actual lunch counter (on display), with 15- to 20-minute performances (various times on Saturdays throughout the day—check website for schedule).
- Explore The Art of Video Games at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. We know that video games involve images, action and, of course, player participation. But have you considered that they also tell stories and are art with elements of film, animation and performance? Billed as "the first to examine comprehensively the evolution of video games themselves as an artistic medium," the exhibit looks at video game development and changes, from Atari to the Playstation 3. (Bonus: it also includes a selection of working video games for visitors to play!). The exhibit runs through September 30, before it begins touring the country.
- Go into (virtual) orbit at Moving Beyond the Earth. Ever wonder how spaceflight feels? This exhibit, at National Air and Space Museum, may be the closest to it without actually flying, as it visually places visitors "in orbit" in a space shuttle. Visitors can learn what a space shuttle orbit feels like and get a view of the Earth as it looks like from space. There's also a 12-foot-tall space shuttle model on hand, plus astronaut gear and spaceflight artifacts, and SpaceFlight Academy, a group quiz game to test space smarts and become “flight ready.”