Frequently Asked Questions

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On Stage

How tall is the Filene Center?
125 feet, from stage level to top of visible tower (parapet wall)

Why is the Filene Center so tall?
The structure is called a fly tower. Inside the tower is a system for raising and lowering scenery. With a usable stage opening height of 33’, you need a space 2 to 2.5 times higher in order to conceal scenery.

How many performances take place at the Filene Center each year?
Between 70 & 110.

When was the first performance at the Filene Center?
The first performance was on July 1, 1971, featuring Van Cliburn; Julius Rudel conducting the New York City Opera with Norman Treigle; as well as performances by the National Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society of Washington, the United States Marine Band, and the Madison Madrigal Singers.

The original Filene Center building was destroyed in a massive fire on April 4, 1982. The current Filene Center opened on July 30, 1984, with a performance by Placido Domingo, Rosario Andrade, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Do you have a list of the artists who have performed at the Filene Center over the years?
Yes, and a project is underway to make this list available online.

How long does it take to set up for a particular show?
It varies greatly depending on the show. It could be as little as an hour for some shows, all the way up to three days with 50+ people working 8 to 12 hours each day for a larger production.

Is it possible to see backstage?
Tours are offered during the off-season (October through April). Tours during the season are limited due to production requirements. For information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/wotr/planyourvisit/guidedtours.htm

How do you decide what artists perform at Wolf Trap?
The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, our non-profit partner, makes those decisions based on our shared mission to provide a wide range of performing arts programming. They regularly seek our review of the schedule as described in our cooperative agreement. For more information about Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, please visit www.wolftrap.org.

Are there any free shows at Wolf Trap?
Yes! The Summer Blast-off, which features the Marine Corps Band and a spectacular fireworks show, generally occurs the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The annual Holiday Sing-A-Long occurs in early December. Both of these shows are free. Seating is first come first serve and will sometimes fill up. In addition, artists appear at Pre-Performance Discussions prior to some performances (about 10 each summer), and these are free of charge.

General admission (lawn) seating at the Filene Center is still as low as $20 for some performances. Also, Children’s Theater in the Woods features high-quality children’s programming at modest prices.

What type of sound console is used in the Filene Center?
Actually, we have three. All are considered digital consoles. They receive audio signal and convert it to a digital signal that can be shaped and routed and sent through processing before converting back to send to amplifiers and speakers. Our main seated Audience Console is a Digico SD-7. The Lawn area has its own console, a Digico SD-8, for a separate sound system. The performers get their own mix through our Digico D5.

Attending a Show

How many people can the Filene Center accommodate?
The maximum capacity is 7,028. The actual number may vary due to a variety of factors, such as whether the orchestra pit is in use for a given show.

Can we bring in our own food? What are the dining options if I am attending a show?
Yes, you may bring in your own food, including alcohol. The maximum allowable size for coolers is 15” x 15” x 22”, which is approximately the size of a 48-quart cooler. For all other bags, the size limit is 14” x 13” x 10”. More detailed information about allowable items and the inspection process are described at https://www.nps.gov/wotr/planyourvisit/inspections.htm.

Please visit http://www.wolftrap.org/visit/dining-and-concessions.aspx for information about dining options when attending a show.

Where can I buy tickets? Is it OK to buy tickets from 3rd party vendors on the Internet, like Stubhub.com or Ebay?
The Wolf Trap Foundation (www.wolftrap.org) is the only authorized vendor of Wolf Trap tickets. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets early for best availability. Patrons purchasing tickets through third-party ticket brokers, such as StubHub or through an individual re-selling their tickets, assume full risk for potentially fraudulent tickets purchased or obtained through unauthorized vendors.

Can I bring a lawn chair to sit on the Lawn?
Lawn chairs with legs (this includes the short legged beach/sand chairs) are allowed only in designated areas located on the top/back of the lawn seating area. Signs are posted to identify these areas. Chairs without legs, cushions and blankets are allowed on all areas of the lawn. Cushions may be rented from the Gift Shop, if you have not brought your own.

Are the performances accessible to the mobility impaired?
Yes, please visit http://www.wolftrap.org/visit/accessibility.aspx for more information.

Is there First Aid available?
During Filene Center performances, First Aid assistance is available at the First Aid Station located inside the Filene Center gates near the Gift Shop. Otherwise, please go to the Ranger Station located outside the Filene Center gates or contact a park employee.

What is the difference between The Barns at Wolf Trap and the Filene Center?
The Filene Center is located inside Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and is operated under a cooperative agreement with our non-profit partner, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation and is not part of the national park. Both facilities are world-class venues with a wide variety of musical offerings.

Can I purchase tickets for Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods the day of a performance?
Yes, ticket sales on the day of performance take place at the Meadow Kiosk down from the parking area. Some shows do sell out.

Can I reserve specific seats for Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods?
Seating is first-come first-served and ushers direct seating from the front to the back. Accessible seating is held until show time.

What type of seating is there at Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods?
The Theatre-in-the-Woods has bench seating and is general admission.

How many people does Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods accommodate?
Approximately 700.

Is Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods stroller-friendly?
Once you go over the bridge across Wolf Trap Creek, there is a short stretch along an unpaved trail leading to the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. Strollers can be taken up to the entrance to the theater seating and are self-parked along the split-rail fence adjacent to the theatre.

Is Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods wheelchair accessible?
Yes, and there are accessible areas set aside for those who need it. Please contact the Ranger Station at (703) 255-1800 in advance so that we are ready to provide any assistance upon your arrival.

Are Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods performances held rain or shine?
Theatre-in-the-Woods Performances are canceled if it rains. The official call is made no later than one hour prior to the show. Call (703) 255-1824 or check the Alerts & Conditions section for updates the day of the shows.

Park History

Where does the name Wolf Trap come from?
The name first appeared on a survey in the early 1700s, a reference to wolves that were trapped in the area, mostly along the creek called Wolftrap Run. Back in that time, wolves were seen as a threat to farmland and livestock.

When was the fire at the Filene Center?
There have actually been two fires. The first occurred during the construction of the first Filene Center on March 13, 1971. The second was the April 4, 1982, fire that completely destroyed the building. The 1982 fire is believed to have been electrical in nature.

I remember this used to be called Wolf Trap Farm Park. When did the name change?
Wolf Trap's name was officially changed from Wolf Trap Farm Park to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts on August 21, 2002 (Public Law 107-219).

When did Wolf Trap become part of the National Park System?
Public Law 89-671, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 15, 1966, established Wolf Trap Farm Park.

Why is it called the Filene Center?
In 1966, Catherine Filene Shouse donated 59 acres of her land to the National Park Service for the establishment of Wolf Trap Farm Park. Mrs. Shouse donated additional funds for the construction of the park’s centerpiece, the Filene Center, which is named after the Filene family, founders of the well-known Filene department stores.

Mrs. Shouse’s grandfather, William Filene, opened the first Filene’s in Boston in 1881. Her father, Lincoln Filene, along with her uncle, Edward Filene, built Filene’s into a major retail presence in the early 1900s.

Who was Catherine Filene Shouse?
Catherine Filene Shouse (1896-1994) donated the land for Wolf Trap Farm Park, funded the construction of the initial Filene Center, and helped to guide the park’s early development and direction.

Long before the park’s establishment in 1966, Mrs. Shouse had an impressive list of accomplishments. She produced a book in 1920 called “Careers for Women,” a comprehensive 576-page volume that listed multiple career options for women as well as recommendations for how to pursue those careers. In 1923, Mrs. Shouse became the first woman to graduate from the newly-founded Harvard Graduate School of Education. Just three years later, she was the first woman to chair the board of the Federal Prison for Women, and made the establishment of job training programs for female prisoners a top priority. In 1930, she purchased 53 acres of farmland, which later would become the center of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

Who designed the Filene Center?
The original Filene Center was designed by architects Edward F. Knowles and John F. MacFadyen. The team had collaborated earlier on the design for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York. The second Filene Center, completed in 1984, was designed by the architectural firm Dewberry and Davis of Fairfax, Virginia. While there were several improvements in the second Filene Center, including a substantially larger area backstage, most of the major design elements were retained from the original building.

What kind of wood was used for the outside of the Filene Center?
The original structure was Oregon cedar. The current Filene Center is Douglas fir.

When did the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods open?
In 1971, the children’s theater performances were temporarily located near the area of Ovations Restaurant. The Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods opened in its current location in 1975.

Recreation

How many acres is Wolf Trap?
130.28 total gross acres, of which 12.39 acres are in scenic easement.

Is the park open year-round? What are the hours?
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is open to the public from 7:00 a.m. to dusk every day with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Even if there is no performance taking place, the park is still open for your enjoyment!

During the performance season, the park is closed for non-performance recreation from 2 hours prior to show time until one hour after the show concludes. The park is closed from dusk to 7:00 a.m., except to patrons attending authorized events.

What else is there to do at Wolf Trap?
While Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is primarily known for its live performances during the summer, the park is open to the public year-round. Backstage tours and other interpretive programs are offered throughout the off-season. The park is an excellent location for picnicking and quiet reflection, as well as hiking on over 2 miles of scenic hiking trails.

You have trails? Who does the maintenance?
Trail maintenance is done by park staff and volunteers, primarily through the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). The Park has a General Agreement with the PATC to perform trail maintenance. To assist with trail maintenance, contact the park volunteer coordinator at 703-255-1893 or e-mail us. To learn more about PATC, go to https://www.patc.net/

Are pets allowed in the park?
Yes, with some limitations. Pets, except for service animals, are prohibited in the Filene Center, at the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, in picnic areas, and in any area of the park being utilized for an authorized event. Pets are permitted elsewhere in the park, but must be restrained on a leash of no more than six feet in length. Pet owners/handlers are responsible for removing pet excrement.

Where can I learn more about the native plant gardens?
We are in the process of developing educational materials on our native plant gardens, which are maintained both by NPS staff and volunteer Master Gardeners. Please consider attending one of the “First Sunday” hikes offered by the Friends of Wolf Trap, which often include a stop at one or more of the native gardens. More information is available at http://friendsofwolftrap.org/

Do you allow special events like weddings in the park?
Yes, we do allow weddings and other events within the park and they are considered on a case by case basis. Weddings, recreational and sporting events, 1st Amendment activities, and other uses may require a Special Use Permit. For more information, please call 703-255-1822 or visit https://www.nps.gov/nama/planyourvisit/permitsandreservations.htm. Permit applications are coordinated through the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Are there any picnic grills in the park?
No, open fires and/or cooking devices are not permitted within the park at any time, except by written permission of the Superintendent.

General Questions

How many people work at Wolf Trap?
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts employs approximately 30 permanent staff and nearly 100 seasonal employees.

What is the difference between Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts?
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is the official partner of the National Park Service for providing concert and performance programming within the Park. As a nonprofit organization, the Wolf Trap Foundation is dedicated to creating excellent performing arts experiences for the enrichment, education, and enjoyment of diverse audiences.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is the official name of the park, which is one of the 417 units comprising the National Park System.

Are you on social media?
Yes, the park maintains a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Like or follow us:
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/wolftrapnps

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Wolf_Trap_NPS

Do you sell National Park passes such as the Annual Pass and Senior Pass?
Since there is no entrance fee at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, we do not sell these passes. If you plan to visit other parks with an entrance fee, learn more about the America the Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass series and fee-free entrance days in National Parks. The closest National Park site that sells these passes is Great Falls Park (https://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm), located at 9200 Old Dominion Drive in McLean, Virginia, about a 15 minute drive from Wolf Trap.

How many units of the National Park System are there now?
There are currently 417 units of the National Park System. Learn more about the different types of NPS units at https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/national-park-system.htm.

How would I apply for jobs here?
All jobs with the National Park Service, as well as other federal agencies, are advertised via USAJOBS, the federal government's official source for federal job listings and employment opportunity information. We typically host job fairs in December or January to answer questions about positions and provide an orientation to the USAJOBS application process. Check our website for further details on these job fairs.

Can I volunteer at Wolf Trap?
Yes! There are a variety of volunteer positions that will accommodate the busiest of schedules and all ages. Most of our positions are for those 18 years of age and older; however, we have a few positions for those who are 13 years of age and older.

Visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for the positions that are currently open, or contact the volunteer office at (703) 255-1893 for additional information.

What kinds of activities are there for kids?
The park has a Junior Ranger program, hiking trails, and tours year-round for children, along with a 7 week season of shows at Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods.

Is this the only National Park Service unit that presents live performances?
No, there are a number of units that present live performing arts. However, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is the only park that was established specifically to present performing arts.

Is there food for sale during performances at the Filene Center?
Ovations Restaurant and a picnic caterer offer a selection of food choices before Filene Center performances. Concession stands are also available inside the Filene Center.

Food and drinks are not available at Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods performances.

Is there food for sale outside the Filene Center performance season?
No.

How long before a show do the gates open?
Filene Center Performances: The gates open 1 1/2 hours prior to the performance time and the pavilion (covered) seating area opens 30 minutes prior to the performance.
Theatre-in-the-Woods Performances: The theatre opens at 10:00 am for the 10:30 am show.

Where can I find the NPS regulations that are specific to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts?
The laws and policies enforced in Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts can be found at the Laws and Policies section of our website.

What happens if I have a lawn seat in the Filene Center and it rains?
All scheduled performances go on, rain or shine. There are no refunds due to inclement weather. Patrons with Lawn tickets may not take unused seats in the pavilion; however, their tickets may be applied towards the purchase of any available in-house seating through the box office.

How many people visit Wolf Trap each year? In 2016, 437,513 people visited the park.

Are there hiking/walking trails?
Yes, there are trails of easy to moderate difficulty and loops of varying lengths. Please consider using insect repellent, wear sturdy close-toed shoes, be alert, and stay in the middle of the trail. Download a copy of the trail map at https://www.nps.gov/wotr/planyourvisit/outdooractivities.htm

For kids, there is the Wolf Trap TRACK Trail (approximately 1.5 miles long). The TRACK Trail is a great way to explore the outdoors for children and families, but is also great for those interested in a more leisurely hike. The trailhead and self-guided adventures can be found in the Meadow. Complete the adventure(s) and track your hike at http://kidsinparks.com/wolf-trap-national-park-performing-arts to earn free prizes.

TRACK Trails is made possible by a partnership with Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's Kids in Parks program (http://kidsinparks.com).

Respect the natural environment and expect the unexpected. Wildlife is wild - you can expect to see whitetail deer, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, and more. Of course, there are snakes, though the Northern Copperhead is generally the only poisonous one. You may encounter mosquitoes, spiders, and ticks which can carry diseases. Poisonous plants include poison oak and poison ivy.

Where can I find information about the plants and animals in the park?
Learn more about the natural resources of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts at https://www.nps.gov/im/ncrn/wotr.htm

Can I swim in the park streams and pond?
For your safety, swimming and wading are not permitted in the park farm pond or streams.

Is fishing allowed in the park?
Fishing is allowed in the park farm pond but not the streams. All fishing is ‘catch and release’ and a valid Virginia fishing license is required.

Transportation

Is there public transportation to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts?
Fairfax Connector (https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/) provides round-trip service from the West Falls Church Metro station to all Filene Center performances. This service is not available for Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods performances, the Summer Blast-off in May, nor the Holiday Sing-A-Long in December. It is also not available for performances at The Barns at Wolf Trap (which is not located on national park grounds). Patrons are strongly advised to consult the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (https://www.wmata.com/) when planning a visit to the park by public transportation.

Where is the pickup and dropoff for taxis, Uber, Lyft, etc.?
The pickup and dropoff area is located near the main entrance to the park on Trap Road (near the large lighted marquee). Because of the large number of vehicles exiting the park after a performance, it is not possible for taxis/rideshares to pick up at the Main Gate. Patrons must walk down the hill to the designated pickup area along Trap Road.

Where is the nearest Metro stop?
The nearest Metro is the Spring Hill station on the Silver Line, approximately 2 miles away. However, there is no public transportation to the park from this station.

Do you have any tips to get out of the park faster at the end of the show?
We encourage you to use the Fairfax Connector bus service to the West Falls Church Metro or transportation options such as taxis, Uber, Lyft, etc.

TIP: If you decide to drive, it is generally faster to head north on Trap Road toward Route 7, rather than south toward the Toll Road. Turn right (east) on Route 7 to access the Dulles Toll Road and the Beltway.

We also encourage you to carpool whenever possible to help reduce traffic congestion.
Why does it take so long to get out of the park after a performance?
For many performances, traffic flows relatively smoothly after the show, and delays are minimal. However, for certain busy shows, you should expect delays. The primary reason is that Trap Road narrows to just one lane outside the park, heading both northbound and southbound. United States Park Police and National Park Service rangers work diligently to expedite traffic flow as much as possible, within the limitations of the roadway designs.

Is there a drop off area for patrons with mobility issues who can’t walk long distances? Yes, please notify the United States Park Police officer or National Park Service ranger directing traffic, and they will direct you to the appropriate location.

Where can I get picked up after a performance?
The pickup area is located near the main entrance to the park on Trap Road (near the large lighted marquee).

Is the courtesy cart service available after a performance?
Because of the large number of vehicles exiting the park, we are unable to operate the carts immediately after a performance ends. We are happy to provide cart service once traffic thins out and the carts can be safely operated, but this can be as much as 30 minutes after the performance.

Where do I park for Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods?
Parking is available on the large grassy lot near Ovations Restaurant. From there you can walk down the hill to Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. Accessible parking is available behind the Filene Center (ask a ranger for directions).

Last updated: May 24, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1551 Trap Road
Vienna, VA 22182-1643

Phone:

(703) 255-1800

Contact Us