Add These 10 Family Activities to Your Calendar for Maximum Fall Fun
Make memories with your family and the military community this fall with time-honored family activities around the National Capital Region.
We’ve rounded up 10 of our must-do recommendations this season, but check with your closest USO-Metro location for all of the activities available to active duty service members and their families.
1. Decorate your Jack-o’-lantern at the Fall Festival
Join in on the fun as thousands head to the block party outside of USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir. The annual Fall Festival is a favorite for many as it features a little of everything: a cupcake competition, giveaways, live music and a pumpkin patch. Center Manager Casey Pizzuto said they will also have face painters, a moon bounce, Mad Scientist Lab, informational booths from community partners and a photo booth to capture all of the awesome costumes!
- Where: 5940 9th St, Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060
- When: Oct. 13, 2018 from 2 to 5 p.m.
- Find out more: No registration is required to attend and it is open to all active duty and military dependents. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip: Get there early for food vouchers provided to the first 1,800 guests. This year’s Fall Festival was generously sponsored by Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated.
2. Cheer on your favorite team at a game
Football season is upon us and whether you are new to the area or a lifelong fan, bring the family out to enjoy the game with one of our sports partners.
- Where: Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, D.C. United, and more!
- When: All season
- Find out more: Active duty, reservist, and active National Guard service members as well as their military dependents (with military ID) within the Washington-Baltimore region can register with Ticketline to receive free tickets to sporting and entertainment events throughout the year.
Tip Going to a Redskins home game? Stop by the USO-Metro Club at FedExField for pregame festivities, which is open to all military service members, veterans and their families with a game ticket and military ID, two hours prior to kickoff.
3. Cook up a masterpiece at a healthy cooking class
Sponsored by the Robert Irvine Foundation, professional chefs lead a regular healthy cooking class as part of the Cooking with Chefs Series at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir and Bethesda.
- Where: USO Warrior and Family Centers (Bethesda and Belvoir)
- When: Next upcoming class is September 26 at Bethesda or October 4, 2018 at Fort Belvoir
- Find out more: Open to all active duty and dependents. For more information, email email@example.com.
Tip The cooking classes pack a crowd every month as service members and family work hands-on together to cook a family-style meal while building their knowledge of healthy cooking techniques. Bring the whole family and make an evening out of it!
4. Get your cheer on at the Marine Corps Marathon
The annual competition is fun to watch even if you aren’t a runner! The United States Marine Corps throw an amazing annual race and we love to roll by with some complimentary coffee and cheers for our active duty service runners.
- Where: Opening ceremonies at the MCM Start Line on Route 110 in Arlington, Virginia, and spectator locations throughout route
- When: October 22, 2018
- Find out more: Learn more about the route and spectator viewing on the Marine Corps Marathon website
Tip Swing by to say hello to the USO Mobile! We’ll be the ones cheering the loudest.
5. Dress up for a spooktacular evening at Fall Fest Meade!
Didn’t make it out to the Fall Festival at Fort Belvoir early in October? Not to worry! The Ft. Meade USO is ready for an evening filled with fun. Get your caramel apples and show off your costumes while you join in on the fun.
- Where: Ft. Meade USO - 8612 6th Armored Cavalry Rd. Ft. Meade, MD 20755
When: Friday, October 26th from 5PM-8PM
Find out more: Food is guaranteed for first 300 participants. Open to all Active Duty Military Personnel and their dependents.
6. Grab some popcorn and a coke at Movies on the Lawn
The smell of popcorn popping and fall leaves in the air? Sign us up!
- Where: Outdoor movie showings are shown at or near military installations in the Washington-Baltimore region on the USO-Metro inflatable AIRSCREEN® movie screen for service members and their family.
- When: The next Movie on the Lawn will be Sherlock Gnomes playing Sept. 26 after a family dinner at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Belvoir (Register here) or Hocus Pocus at the Fort George G. Meade USO Center, 8612 6th Armored Cavalry Road, Fort Meade, at 6:45 on Oct. 5.
- Find out more: Check out the USO-Metro website for more details
Tip Bring a lawn chair or blanket for maximum comfort!
7. Get crafty at children’s art sessions
Check out the family-friendly art programs and activities on a weekly basis in its USO Warrior and Family Center-Bethesda Art Studio.
- Where: USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda, 4565 Taylor Road, Bethesda, MD 20889
- When: Year-Round
- Find out more: Open to All Active Duty Military & Dependents. Children must be accompanied by parent/guardian. Please email Ashy@usometro.org for more information.
Tip Come regularly to learn about new arts activities like visual art, music, acting, dance and more!
8. A round of BINGO, anyone?
Volunteers, service members and families love the regular BINGO tournaments at centers located throughout the National Capital region. Check out the next tournament at the closest USO-Metro to you this Fall!
- Where: USO Fort Meade, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Honor Guard USO Lounge and the USO Warrior and Family Centers (Fort Belvoir and Bethesda)
- When: The next BINGO will be offered at
USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda, 4565 Taylor Road Building 83 Bethesda, from 6 to 7:00 p.m.
- Find out more: Check out the times and locations for all upcoming BINGO games on the USO-Metro website.
Tip Enlist the whole family for more chances to win!
9. Chow down on a homemade Thanksgiving meal
Eat your Thanksgiving dinner — then burn it off at the Turkey Trot! Join us for crafts, cooking demos, games, activities and more for the whole family to enjoy at our annual Turkeys for Troops.
- Where: Community Ballroom at Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall, Building 405, 228 McNair Rd, Fort Myer, VA 22211, and at the USO Warrior and Family Center — Bethesda, Building 83, 4565 Taylor Street, Bethesda, MD 20815.
- When: November 14, 2018
- Find out more: These programs are available to active duty service members, E-1 to E-6 and offered on a limited, lottery basis. Registration will be be open from October 9 to 16 on the USO-Metro website and chosen participants will be notified on November 2, 2018.
Tip: Need to work up an appetite? We will be out supporting the rock-star efforts at the Turkey Trot in Arlington, Virginia on November 22, 2018. Come say Hello! and cheer on the runners.
10. Get ready for winter with a visit to the Polar Express
The USO Mobile rolls out around the National Capital Region each year to bring this duo to life just short of the region’s wintry winds blowing in. Sign up for Trees for our Heroes, Project Elf or follow the USO Mobile on Facebook to find them at another event or installation near you,
Trees for our Heroes welcomes families out to pick a Christmas tree for their home, create seasonal arts and crafts, snap pictures with Santa, and enjoy a day of fun with the family.
- Where: Off-site at Gaver Farm in Frederick, Maryland
- When: December 1, 2018
- Find out more: The special day for military families to experience one of the timeless traditions of the holiday season would not be possible without BAE Systems. This program is available to active duty service members, E-1 to E-6 and offered on a limited, lottery basis. Registration will be be open from October 9 to 16 on the USO-Metro website and chosen participants will be notified on November 2, 2018.
Project Elf matches our youngest patriots ages 1-15 with community and corporate donors to make their holiday dreams come true. Children of military troops selected will receive age-appropriate gifts from their wish list as well as a day of memories with their family.
- Where: USO-Metro All Star Depot and USO Fort Meade
- When: December 3 to 7, 2018
- Find out more: This program is available to active duty service members, E-1 to E-6 and offered on a limited, lottery basis. Registration will be be open from October 9 to 16 on the USO-Metro website and chosen participants will be notified on November 2, 2018.
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