Brain Food
1. Darwin: The Evolution of Evolution: The National Museum of Natural History celebrates the father of evolution's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking work, "On the Origin of Species," with an examination of the role Darwin's theories have played in unifying the biological sciences.

Where: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: 1 to 5:30 p.m.; through July 13

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

2. House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage: Cars. We imagine them always in motion, but they spend most of their time at rest. We have all spent time in parking garages, but we rarely stop to think about what they have meant for our cities and ourselves. The exhibit House of Cars explores the unique relationship between parked cars and the built environment and encourages visitors to see these familiar structures in a whole new way.

Where: National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; through July 11

Info: Free; 202-272-2448;

3. Gardener's Favorite: The USBG Children's Garden" Stroll through the Children's Garden and learn all about the plantings there, as well as ideal plantings for a children's garden of your own! Please note: This tour is held outside in the garden. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing, and bring water. Tour is canceled if it rains.

Where: Conservatory Children's Garden, United States Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW

When: 10 to 11 a.m. July 6

Info: Free, registration required; 202-225-1116;; program TH070610

4. "American Buffalo": One of David Mamet's greatest works, "American Buffalo" takes place in a Chicago South Side junk shop, where three small-time thieves conspire to steal a valuable coin collection.

Where: Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday; through July 11

Info: $35 to $63; 202-332-3300;

5. Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull Pop and Turn: Movable, pop-up, folding and multiple-construction books from the year 1570 to the present day comprise this exhibition highlighting innovative book design. Although today pop-up books are often found in the children's book section, the earliest movable books were tools to educate and document information, such as the days of the year, the moon's movements or the inner workings of the human heart.

Where: Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition Gallery, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; through Sept. 1, 2011

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

1. "If You Give a Pig a Pancake": For all ages. This play tells the story of a little girl who is hostess to a challenging piglet, whose never-ending wishes lead them from the kitchen table to the bathtub to the backyard. Who has the patience to host such a piglet?

Where: Adventure Theatre, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo

When: Friday through Aug. 15

Info: $12 to $15; 301-634-2270;

2. "Pirates: A Boy at Sea!": Time: 1718. Place: the high seas. Jim finds himself first captured by pirates, then rescued from the deep by sailors from a British man-of-war. The strict McGovern reminds Jim of his dad, while the fun-loving but enigmatic Freely reminds him of his mom. For ages 7 and up.

Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda

When: July 6 to Aug. 15

Info: $10; 301-281-1660;

3. "Granny's Appalachian Tales": Using puppetry (hand, rod and shadow puppets), live music and live actors, the Good Life Theater presents folk tales from the rich and vibrant Appalachian tradition. Granny, a life-size puppet storyteller, weaves Appalachian Jack tales, the African-American legend of John Henry, and the Cherokee tale "How the Milky Way Came to Be."

Where: Discovery Theater, Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institute, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW

When: 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday

Info: $4 to $6, free for children under 2; 202-633-3030;

4. "Adventures of Tio Conejo/The Adventures of Uncle Rabbit": Three folk tales will delight you and your children. This well-known trickster from Nicaragua delights in fooling his neighbors, especially his Uncle Tiger.

Where: Classika Family Theater, 4041 S. 28th St., Arlington

When: Through Aug. 15

Info: $12 to $15; 800-494-8497;

5. "Sleeping Beauty": For prekindergartners and older children, the Puppet Company Playhouse presents the classic fairy tale.

Where: 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo

When: Through July 25

Info: $10; 301-634-5380;

1. Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg: Are you at all surprised to learn that Lucas and Spielberg are both enthusiastic collectors of Norman Rockwell? This set of more than 50 of Rockwell's wholesome and humorous drawings and paintings is culled from the private stashes of two of the most popular filmmakers in the history of cinema -- men who share Rockwell's ability to connect with a broad audience through works that emphasize personal honor and the importance of family.

Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets NW

When: Through Jan. 2, 2011

Info: Free; 202-633-7970;

2. Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration: This comprehensive survey of Close's pioneering work in the medium of printmaking includes more than 100 pieces, among them two never exhibited before: "Roy Paper/Pulp" and "Self-portrait (anamorphic)."

Where: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW

When: Through Sept. 12

Info: $10, $8 students/seniors (62-plus), free for age 12 and under;

3. Fantastic Journeys: A juried exhibition celebrating works devoted to extraordinary travels, featuring compelling new work by Rebecca Katz, Amy Glengary Yang, Sabine Carlson and others.

Where: McLean Project for the Arts at McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean

When: Through July 31

Info: Free; 703-790-1953;

4. The Unbroken Line: A Cast of Characters: Terry Svat's 3-D print collages on canvas explore the imagery of human archetypes.

Where: Washington Printmakers Gallery at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Silver Spring

When: Through Aug. 1

Info: Free; 202-332-7757;

5. Chris Rucker: If I Told You One Time ... : New York designer Rucker's oriented strand board (pressed wood) chairs just might be the seating platforms of the post-industrial future.

Where: Industry Gallery, 1358 Florida Ave. NE, Suite 200


Info: Free; 202-399-1730;

1. A Capitol Fourth Rehearsal: Want to experience the feeling of the National Mall on the Fourth of July without the usual crowds? Head to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on July 3 for a dress rehearsal of the next evening's National Symphony Orchestra concert. Just like the real thing, however, you'll have to allow extra time for security measures.

Where: U.S. Capitol, East Capitol and First streets NW

When: Gates open at 3 p.m., performance at 8 p.m. Saturday

Info: Free; 202-225-6827

2. Free s'more gelato and s'more-tinis: To help the city get into the swing on summer, the Ritz-Carlton is offering complimentary mini-cones of s'more gelato and s'more-tinis (served in tasting glasses) every night in its hotel lobby.

Where: The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, 3100 South St. NW

When: Nightly

Info: 292-812-4100

3. NoMa presents The Future is NOW: Future- and/or time-related films will be shown on a big screen, complimented by DJs and barbecue.

Where: 201 L St. between Second and Third streets NE

When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays; through July 28

Info: 202-289-0111;

4. Yuungnaqpiallerput (The Way We Genuinely Live): Harpoons, snow goggles, kayaks and dance masks created by the people of western Alaska are among the 200 tools, clothing items, weapons and watercraft on display.

Where: National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; through July 25

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

5. "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Hamlet": The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents two Shakespeare classics.

Where: Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, 3691 Sarah's Lane, Ellicott City

When: "Much Ado" through July 1; "Hamlet" through July 25

Info: $15 to $30; 866-811-4111;

1. A Capitol Fourth: Jack Everly conducts the National Symphony Orchestra and special guests that include recording artists Reba McEntire, Gladys Knight, Darius Rucker and David Archuleta, classical pianist Lang Lang, actors Jimmy Smits and John Schneider, Washington's Choral Arts Society, and U.S. Army and Marine Corps instrumentalists. The program of patriotic, classical and popular songs climaxes with fireworks.

Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Info: Free; rehearsal at 8 p.m. Saturday. Also broadcast live on PBS-TV.

2. Gipsy Kings: The perennial favorites infuse the woods with their fiery flamenco tunes, Latin and Cuban rhythms, and jazzy guitars that stoked the theatrical hit "Zorro" on London's West End.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Info: $42 in-house, $25 lawn; 877-965-3872;

3. Pat McGee Band: The Virginia rockers return home with numbers from "Live From the Southland" and special guest Honor By August for a resounding reunion with fans.

Where: Wolf Trap Filene Center

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Info: $32 in-house, $25 lawn; 877-965-3872;

4. Chuck Brown: The Godfather of Go-Go is back with his irresistible beat and personality.

Where: Blues Alley

When: 8 and 11 p.m. Thursday

Info: $35; 202-337-4141;

5. Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra: The big band reminisces with "The Sound of WWII," an evening of nostalgia and romantic rhythms.

Where: Blues Alley

When: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Info: $25; 202-337-4141;

Also worth noting:

6. Bill Kirchen: The rockabilly guitarist-singer-songwriter hosts a CD release show for "The Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods."

Where: The Birchmere

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $35; 703-549-7500;

7. Eric Roberson: The R&B/soul singer-songwriter and Howard University alumnus returns to entertain with his latest songs.

Where: The Birchmere

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Info: $29.50; 703-549-7500;

1. Fireworks on the National Mall: It wouldn't be Independence Day in Washington without them.

Where: The National Mall, between the U.S. Capitol and Lincoln Memorial

When: 9 p.m. July 4

Info: 202-619-7222

2. A George Washington Fourth of July: Historic Mount Vernon salutes our first commander in chief with a dazzling display of daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military re-enactments, a special wreath-laying ceremony, free birthday cake for all (while supplies last), and a visit from the "first" first couple, "General and Mrs. Washington."

Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 4

Info: $15, $7 for children ages 6 to 11, free for children ages 5 and under; 703-780-2000;

3. Fourth of July in Reston: Family fun and amusements during the day with fireworks at night.

Where: Lake Fairfax Park, 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston

When: begins at 10 a.m. July 4; fireworks around 9:15 p.m.

Info: 703-471-5415;

4. Fourth of July in McLean: Music performances, food, carnival rides and amusements before the fireworks.

Where: Langley High School, 6520 Georgetown Pike, McLean

When: begins at 6 p.m.; fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

Info: 703-790-0123

5. Laurel Independence Day Celebration: Festivities include a parade with antique and classic cars, horseshoe contest, children's field events, music by the Oracle Band and fireworks.

Where: Granville Gude Park, 8300 Mulberry St., Laurel

When: July 3 -- 9:30 a.m. parade; 11 a.m. horseshoes; 1 to 3 p.m. field events; music 5 to 9:15; fireworks 9:15 p.m.

Info: 301-725-7808;

1. "Mary Poppins": A limited eight-week engagement of the story about the world's most famous and most beloved nanny. Original U.K. star Caroline Sheen will reprise her role as Mary Poppins, and Gavin Lee will assume the role of Bert.

Where: The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW

When: Through Aug. 22; see Web site for times

Info: $25 to $135; 202-467-4600;

2. Capital Fringe Festival: The fifth annual festival of theater, music, dance, poetry and clowning includes 800 performances, 137 performing arts groups (local and international) and 18 days of fun.

Where: Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW; festival takes place at various venues throughout D.C.

When: July 8 through July 25; preview July 1 and July 4 at Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar, 607 New York Ave. NW

Info: $15 (with purchase of $5 button); 866-811-4111; tickets available online June 21;

3. "New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza": David Ives' play is a witty theological drama, in which philosopher and accused apostate Baruch de Spinoza faces excommunication from the Jewish community.

Where: Theater J, Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday; through July 25

Info: $30 to $55; 800-494-8497;

4. "Othello": Synetic Theater takes on Shakespeare's great play about jealousy and betrayal in its latest in a series of Shakespeare without words.

Where: Terrace Theatre, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW

When: Through July 3

Info: 800-494-8497;

5. Source Festival: Completely new works will be presented in this three-week festival. Some of the nation's best playwrights will be paired with some of Washington's finest actors to present the festival. In this final week, the festival presents three new full-length plays.

Where: Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW

When: Through July 3; see Web site for times

Info: $18; 866-811-4111;