Take the kids to Movies on the Potomac — Mommy Daze


Movies On The Potomac2 WIn the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, we have some pretty cool things to do including the National Harbor — on the shores of the Potomac River in Maryland. I’ve visited a few times in the winter, but never in the summer. When I saw they are hosting Movies on the Potomac, I decided to check it out with the kids.

The movies are shown on a large outdoor screen on the Plaza, right by the pier that houses the impressive Capital Wheel. Thursday nights are date night movies and Sundays are family-friendly films, so we chose a Sunday night with a double-feature of “Babe” and “Sing.” We arrived around 5:30 p.m. to make it in time for “Sing,” the second film starting at 6 p.m.

I’d heard the parking garages at National Harbor can be hard to get out of when it’s crowded, so we parked in the lot right next to The Carousel, which still had plenty of spaces available. There is also metered street parking around the harbor, which was our back-up plan if The Carousel lot was full.

We grabbed our lawn chairs, blanket and cooler before walking the short distance along the water to the Plaza. Despite the place bustling with people, we found space to sit on the turf-covered ground in front of the screen.

Movies On The Potomac WWe set ourselves up and covered the kids with sunscreen since we were directly in the sun. They definitely complained about the sun and for a while, I thought this wasn’t going to work at all. The sun did eventually dip down behind the screen by around 6:30 p.m., which put an end to the whining. I would recommend coming early and grabbing a spot to the right of the screen which was shadier. But once the sun was down, there was a wonderfully cool breeze blowing in from the water that made it a very comfortable evening.

We had a great time watching the film while eating the dinner and snacks we packed. There were various food vendors and restaurants along the waterfront, including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a hot dog stand, and a kettle popcorn food truck. There are also plenty of restaurants nearby that would make for great carry-out dinners.

After the film ended, the boys had a blast climbing on the bronze “Awakening” sculpture in the sand. They also enjoyed The Carousel ($7 per child) which includes unlimited rides, a playground, toddler area and picnic tables.

This time we didn’t ride the 180-foot Capital Wheel, or take advantage of the pedal boats, pirate cruise or all the shops and restaurants. It was getting late and the sun was going down, so we left around 8:30 p.m. and had a breathtaking view of the sunset. I am definitely planning to head back to National Harbor to enjoy date nights, more family fun or one of the other events from the Farmer’s Markets to festivals. For details and the movie schedule, visit the National Harbor website at nationalharbor.com.

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Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 5-year-old James and 3-year-old Luke.