As I discussed at length last week, keeping our kids busy is one of our primary parenting objectives (keeping 'em fed, keeping 'em healthy, and keeping 'em away from Chuck E. Cheese are also fairly important.) The 3-day Martin Luther King Day weekend presents an extended challenge. We're just coming off a 10-day holiday break—that was a lot of busy-keeping—and two weeks later, BAM!, three-day weekend. But we're up to it. Or, rather, my wife is. I have to work on Monday. In service to her and to you, here are some ways to keep 'em busy...
Probably the best and coolest kid-friendly event this weekend is the Martin Luther King Day celebration at the American Visionary Art Museum on Monday. The Museum will be open and FREE, from 10am to 6pm, with all kinds of cool things going on all day: Kids can make "I Have a Dream" Shrinky Dinks (Shrinky Dinks!), eat cake, and watch some awesome live musicians, including Abu the Flutemaker (watch those linked videos) at 1pm and all-women Brazilian percussion band Batala at 3pm.
Not surprisingly, there's a ton of other great MLK-related happenings around town:
- The 11th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade (pictured) starts at noon at the corner of MLK Jr. Blvd. and Eutaw St. and heads south, with lots of marching bands, floats, dancers, and politicians—parade stuff.
- The Reginald F. Lewis Museum will have special $5 admission all weekend, including "Family Day" Saturday, when the museum celebrates Coretta Scott King's life with a living history performance by actress Denise Nicholas (In the Heat of the Night), and on Monday, when there will be crafts, special exhibits, and musical performances.
- On Saturday, Port Discovery launches its I Have a Dream Celebration Weekend, where kids can meet Negro Baseball League players, see a Black Cherry Puppet Theater show, hear special story times, and participate in drum circles.
- And on Monday, Walters Art Museum has an excellent program for its MLK Jr. Family Festival, including music, dance, and theater performances by Karen's Fun House and Illstyle & Peace Productions, award-winning speeches from students in the Baltimore Urban Debate League, and lots of different crafts projects.
Also, our ballet-deprived town gets a rare infusion this weekend, when the State Ballet Theater of Russia comes to the Hippodrome for two performances of Swan Lake, on Friday and Saturday. Recommended roughly for kids 5 and up.
And, reprising what I posted last week, there are always the perrenially great-for-kids activities, including the Walters Art Museum, which, besides the great, often kid-friendly exhibits, has a fantastic play area on the lower level with lots of dress up stuff, puppets, puzzles, and an art room where there are facilitators to help you and are kids make great projects and bonus: FREE; Also, the Maryland Science Center ($3 off admission before noon on Saturdays, plus the weekly egg-drop contest), Port Discovery Children's Museum, The Zoo (still open—check out the pic of zebras in the snow (!) on their website), two Storyville locations (we LOVE Storyville), The American Visionary Art Museum (also with kid-friendly exhibits, and the treehouse/sculpture out back if it's not too cold), the various nature centers and conservancies (Oregon Ridge, Irvine, Howard County), and—of course!— the Aquarium.
[photo courtesy of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts]