Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington has been serving families and family-free individuals for more than 150 years. Today's deal gives you one month of family membership (good for two adults and any children under the age of 21 residing in the same household, normally $130) to this venerated institution and its numerous locations, which have numerous amenities. In addition to accessing fitness equipment and indoor and outdoor pools (pool availability varies by location), you'll have a standing invitation to the family festivals and pool events happening throughout the summer. You also get the choice of two personal-training sessions ($120–$140 value) with a certified trainer to help jumpstart a stymied fitness routine or improve a preexisting one. Personal training can even incorporate popular elements such as Zumba, cycling, belly dance, kickboxing, playing catch with computer monitors, and more. If you prefer squeaky-shoe sports, you may also choose two private tennis lessons ($150 value), available at the Bethesda/Chevy Chase location, Silver Spring location, or the YMCA Arlington Tennis and Squash Center.
When America's first six presidents needed a place to celebrate, they headed to Gadsby?s Tavern. Home to Thomas Jefferson's inaugural banquet and two of George Washington's Birthnight Balls, the tavern also hosted plenty of community dances, musical performances, and meetings for local organizations.
These days, at the circa-1780s tavern?plus its neighboring 1792 hotel?guides teach visitors about 18th-century decorative arts and social customs. Visitors can also learn about the tavern's recently restored historic subterranean ice well. Designed along with the buildings by architect John Wise, the well could store up to 68 tons of ice, enough for the tavern plus Alexandria's citizens and vacationing polar bears.
In addition to regular guided tours, the museum plays host to frequent programs and events throughout the year. Along with lectures and candlelight tours, these include an annual recreation of George Washington's ball, complete with costumed actors filling in for George and Martha.
Since it was first settled in 1669, and officially established in 1749, the city of Alexandria has played a crucial role in American history. It has existed as a tobacco trading post, a busy port, home to a large free-black community, and a Civil War supply center for Union troops. Famous figures such as George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and Mama Cass once claimed it as their hometown. Now, more than 260 years since the town’s first historic buildings were constructed, visitors can tour them year-round—with the aid of interpreters dressed in American colonial and Victorian garb.
The Alexandria Archaeology Museum displays artifacts unearthed from the city’s streets; the Alexandria Black History Museum welcomes visitors into African American heritage exhibits; and the Fort Ward Museum, a preserved Union fort, hosts regular Civil War reenactments and slumber parties. Along the town’s winding streets, visitors can also step over historic thresholds at Lee-Fendall House and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum; Carlyle House Historic Park, a Union hospital during the Civil War; and Gadsby's Tavern Museum, a favored haunt of founding fathers, journalists, and military officers. Historians and staff also bring history into the present through weekly activities such as fencing classes at the tavern, farmers’ markets at Market Square, restoration workshops, 18th century fashion shows, and film screenings.
Gallery Lafayette offers customized-framing treatments and original prints, watercolors, and gifts. Using special conservation glass and acid-free mat boards, skilled frame-ologists protect prized photographs and collectibles from the damaging effects of light, humidity, acidity, and Father Time's righteous fists for unblemished wall hanging. The average custom-framing order is around $180—combine two Groupons and frame your favorite oversized obedience-school diploma or Ken Burns–autographed placemat. Inside the gallery, customers will find an assortment of gifts featuring pen-and-ink illustrations of classic Old Town landmarks such as Captain's Row and Gadsby's Tavern. Images are magically transferred onto tote bags ($30), tea towels ($15.95), and more. Snag a set of eight note cards ($12.95) to start a one-man letter-writing campaign to rename the Route 1 IHOP to the William Howard Taft Memorial House of Pancakes.
The Metropolitan School of the Arts - formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center - was founded more than 14 years ago. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization takes a holistic approach to teaching and encouraging performance-arts skills, creating performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Ford's Theater and Signature Theater. Youth programs include year-round programs in dance, theater, music, music-theater, and acting, as well as a performing-arts program in the summer, all for children as young as 2. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.