By Patricia Hall, Fairfax Family Fun
Maybe it’s because so many new stores and restaurants keep being added, or because the nearby MGM hotel and casino is just a little over a year old, but… can you believe National Harbor has been around for a decade? This community along the Potomac River in southern Maryland is celebrating 10 years with a full day of fun, including some great free offers, on Sunday, April 8, 2018.
Among the highlights of the day are free rides on the popular Capital Wheel and the carousel, plus kids’ activities, a parade, and live entertainment. National Harbor is a 350-acre resort destination that includes the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, other hotels, Tanger Outlets, the fun Peeps Store, a marina, and dozens of restaurants and specialty shops. Throughout the year, National Harbor also hosts family-friendly special events and seasonal attractions such as free movies and concerts and a farmers’ market.
One of its distinguishing attractions is The Capital Wheel, a 180-foot observation Ferris wheel with climate-controlled gondolas that feature panoramic views of the nation’s capital. Just a short walk from the Capital Wheel is a children’s area with a playground and traditional carousel, plus the Flight Deck bar and “The Awakening” Sculpture, which kids love to climb and visitors love for the photo opportunities. A very short drive away is the MGM National Harbor casino resort complex, which opened December 2016 and has a 24-story hotel, 12 restaurants from renowned chefs plus casual dining, a 3,000-seat theater featuring top artists, and specialty shops.
For its 10th Anniversary Community Day celebration day on April 8, National Harbor is offering:
- Free Capital Wheel Rides: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
- Free Carousel Rides: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
- Sidewalk Sale: noon – 10:00pm
- Kid’s Corner: noon – 5:00 pm
- National Harbor Cares: noon – 4:00 pm
- Community Parade: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
- Live Music: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Capital Wheel and carousel rides go on all day long, free to all guests, a great deal (prices usually are $11.25-$15 per person, and $7 for the carousel rides). The Kids’ Corner will feature additional free fun, with a touch-a-truck, bounce house, and art and fitness vendors. From noon to 4 pm, the National Harbor Cares program will raise awareness and funding for homeless students in Prince George’s County. This portion of the event, along the water taxi pier, will include sweet treats, a silent auction, and face painting from 1 pm-3 pm. At 3 pm, the community parade to celebrate 10 years of National Harbor takes place along American Way.
For more information, see this special page of the National Harbor site. For lots of photos of National Harbor and ideas for family fun while you’re there, see our feature post on 19 kid-friendly attractions, plus our original feature on the area.