It is always bittersweet when summer draws to a close. Personally, this particular summer has flown by all too fast. Our new baby arrived in June and now suddenly it is early September. She’s not so new anymore, and I’m left looking back on the summer, lamenting activities we should have done, places we should have visited… Northern Virginia just offers so much to do!
The bucket list for next summer is growing in my mind.
One of my favorite summer haunts for kids in Northern Virginia is Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. Luckily, we made it there for one show the final week it was open this summer. It left me wanting more, though, so I suppose I’ll just have to live with the anticipation of next summer’s season.
Most people know about Wolf Trap National Park’s Filene Center in Vienna Virginia. If you live in this area, chances are you cherish the day that lovely foldout calendar arrives in your mailbox sometime in early Spring, detailing all the outdoor concerts your little heart desires.
Maybe you circle all the ones you want to attend, and then quickly realize you’ve circled just about every day of the summer.
No? Just me? Well, then!
The perfect Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods
What most people don’t necessarily know is that behind the Filene Center, tucked away off a dirt path in the woods is a mini version of the Center, with wooden bench seating just the right height for kids.
The Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods hosts a variety of entertainment throughout the summer, with performances at 10:30 in the morning. Shows are geared towards children ages four and up, but honestly, my son has loved going to the music shows since he was about four months old.
I’m glad we made it out in the end to see Culkin School of Irish Dance and The Bog Band. The dancers’ quick steps and bright costumes fascinated my son. The wide spaces between rows of benches allowed him quite enough space to do his best imitation of every movement. Such enthusiasm for the arts is welcome at Wolf Trap, so I didn’t have to try to wrangle him back down in his seat… thank goodness, as I was juggling the baby and the diaper bag already!
Afterwards, we enjoyed a picnic lunch with some friends. There are several tables nearby in the park, as well as plenty of grassy space to lay a blanket. The kids also loved the creek that runs through the woods. We played Poohsticks off of the little footbridge and listened to the soothing sounds of running water as we ate.
If you visit, I highly suggest taking a stroller if you have young children. The walk from the parking lot is a bit long for little legs, and is also steeply uphill on the way back. There is plenty of shaded stroller parking to the side of the theater.
Though the theater only operates in the summer months, you can still walk the trails behind the Filene Center throughout the year and take in approximately 65 acres of National Park wildlife. I hear the sledding is quite good there, too… maybe it’s not so sad to say goodbye to summer after all!