This weekend C. was my date to a tiny tots puppet show at the Puppet Co. Playhouse at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD. The Great Guy I Married sacrificed his Saturday morning the worthy cause of cleaning out our storage unit so he missed a stellar performance of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic by puppeteer Bob Brown.
The Puppet Co. Playhouse is a cute little space in one of the art-deco buildings in Glen Eco Park (more on that later). They have a varied schedule of performances for kids. The one I chose was a tiny tots performance that was only 30 minutes long and only cost $5 apiece so I knew I wouldn’t feel bad if C. decided he hated puppets and demanded to leave. The performance space boasts a small stage, plentiful floor seating and benches around the edge that are allocated first to pregnant ladies, a detail I really liked. It was packed when we got there and so we pulled up a spot of floor, openly broke a few rules by digging into a snack cup of Goldfish (The boy hadn’t had breakfast. Don’t judge me.) and started a conversation with the mom next to us about where to buy shoes for kids. Don’t you love it when you spend 15 minutes talking to a total stranger like she’s been your friend for years because being moms in a puppet theatre is enough of a common bond to open the gates of conversation? So great.
The puppet show was done by Bob Brown who used to work on Mr. Rogers back in the day. So, it’s totally possible that I was looking at the real King of the Land of Make Believe or Lady Elaine Fairchild and that is just. so. cool. He did a cute show where he brought out different puppets, made them do tricks to music and gave a funny running commentary on what he was doing. No plot, plenty of action for the short attention span crowd, lots of bright colors and music. My kid would have preferred fewer dancing frogs and more trains so he spent the second half of the show standing in my lap and looking at all the people behind us but no one seemed to care. My kind of crowd.
After the puppet show and the near total melt-down when I yanked C. away from the private party room across from the theatre that was all set-up for a birthday party complete with balloons that C. wanted real bad, we walked outside into Glen Echo Park itself. And oh! The park! Swoon!
|photo from www,glenechopark.org
Apparently, when it first started at the turn of the last century, Glen Echo was an amusement park in a quiet wooded area near a river. Eventually the National Park Service acquired it and now maintains it as an arts and entertainment park but it still has charm fairly oozing out of the ground all around it. There are a bunch of buildings housing the puppet theatre, a children’s theatre, pottery and art studios, and a candy shop. All of them are darling art-deco buildings with restored details that make you long for the scent of cotton candy and pop-corn. There’s a carousel, a pool (called the Crystal Pool! Love!), bumper cars, an outdoor stage, and a ballroom. Ballroom! I don’t know what happens in the ballroom but I imagine you would go there wearing a smart little black hat with a bunch of artificial cherries pinned to it and lipstick-red t-strap shoes and a silk dress and you would swing dance with a soldier on leave and maybe walk into the woods and kiss and…
I’m sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yes, Glen Echo Park. Right.
|photo from www,glenechopark.org
Basically, I have fallen madly in love with this retro little park that is all but in my backyard. The calendar of stuff to do there is amazing with nature programs, art shows, performances, and yes, even swing dancing. I will most definitely be headed back there for more adventures when the carousel other attractions open up for the season.