Attending a Performance
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.
Lawn capacity: 3,200 | House capacity: 3,800 | Pit capacity: up to 88
Can we bring in our own food and alcoholic beverages?
Yes, you may bring in your own food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages. The maximum allowable size for coolers is 16” x 16” x 8”. For all other bags, the size limit is 14” x 13” x 10”. More detailed information can be found on the Inspection Process at the Filene Center page.
What are the on-site dining options?
Visit the Wolf Trap Foundation Dining and Concessions page for more information.
Where can I buy tickets? Is it permissable to buy tickets from third party vendors on the Internet?
The Wolf Trap Foundation is the only authorized vendor of Wolf Trap tickets. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets early for best availability.
The gates open 90 minutes prior to the scheduled performance start time for lawn seating. The pavilion (covered) seating area opens 30 minutes prior to the performance.
Can I bring a lawn chair to sit on the Lawn?
In order to maintain clear sight lines for all patrons in the Filene Center, lawn chairs with legs (this includes the short legged beach/sand chairs) are allowed only in designated, limited 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 are available for rental from the Gift Shop, located on the plaza.
What happens if I have a Lawn ticket and it rains?
All scheduled performances go on, rain or shine. There are no refunds due to inclement weather. Visitors with Lawn tickets may not take unused seats in the pavilion; however, tickets may be applied towards the purchase of any available in-house seating (if available) through the Box Office.
What happens if there is severe weather during a performances?
In the event of severe weather, the safest shelter may be in your vehicle. You will need your ticket and a re-entry pass to comeback into the Filene Center.
Are the performances accessible to the mobility impaired?
Yes, please visit the Wolf Trap Foundation Accessibility page 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. Contact 911 in the case of an emergency if employees cannot be notified.
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 located outside of the National Park and is operated exclusively by the Wolf Trap Foundation. Both facilities are world-class venues with a wide variety of musical offerings.
Is there a Lost & Found?
Yes, all items turned in from performances, events, etc. are secured. If you have found an item that you suspect someone may have left behind, please bring it to the Ranger Station, located just outside of the main entrance to the Filene Center. If you have lost an item, report it to the park employee in the Ranger Station. They will make a detailed report and contact you if the item is located. Per federal standards, lost/found items will only be kept for 30 days after they are turned in. For inquiries, please call: (703) 255-1800.
Where is the pickup and drop-off location for taxis and rideshare vehicles?
The pickup and drop-off area is located through the pedestrian tunnel on the opposite side of Trap Road from the illuminated Wolf Trap sign. 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 of the Filene Center. Visitors must walk down the hill and through the pedestrian tunnel to pick up a taxi or rideshare. There is no taxi stand with taxis waiting. Taxis would need to be called as needed.
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?
If you decide to drive, it is generally faster to exit the park and 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.
After many performances, traffic exiting the park flows relatively smoothly, and delays are minimal. However, for certain busy performances, you should expect delays of up to an hour when leaving the park. Trap Road narrows to one lane outside of 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 accessible parking?
Yes, there is a limited amount of accessible parking available on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend arriving early. Please notify the United States Park Police officer or National Park Service Ranger directing traffic, and they will direct you to the appropriate parking lot depending on the location of your seats.
Is there a drop-off area for visitors 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 designated drop-off location. For security reasons, vehicles may not stop in front of the Main Gate/Box Office area of the Filene Center.
Is the courtesy cart service available after a performance?
Cart service is limited and provided only for individuals with mobility issues. Carts are available from the West Lot and East Lot starting 30 minutes prior to the gates opening.
After the performances, we are unable to operate the carts immediately, because of the large number of vehicles exiting the park. We are happy to provide cart service once traffic subsides and the carts can be safely operated, but this can be as much as 45 minutes after the performance concludes.
How tall is the Filene Center?
125 feet, from stage level to top of visible tower (parapet wall). 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.
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.
Today, an average of 70-80 performances take place at the Filene Center each year.
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 performance?
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. Check out what a "Day in the Life" looks like at Wolf Trap.
Is it possible to see backstage?
Backstage tours are offered during the off-season (October through April). Tours during the performance season are limited due to production requirements.
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.
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.
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 Performance
How many people can Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods accomodate?
Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods can accomodate approximately 700 people.
Is there First Aid available?
Yes, please contact the nearest usher or uniformed National Park Service Ranger for First Aid assistance.
Is the theater stroller-friendly?
Once you cross the footbridge over Wolftrap Run, there is a short stretch of unpaved trail leading to the Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods. Strollers can be taken up to a point just outside of the entrance to the theater seating and are self-parked along the split-rail fence adjacent to the theater.
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.
Can I use public transportation to get to Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods performances?
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. The Fairfax Connector does not provide bus service to Wolf Trap for Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods performances.
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, or call 703-255-1800 in advance).
How many acres is Wolf Trap?
What else is there to do at Wolf Trap? Are there hiking/walking trails?
Where can I learn more about the native plant gardens, other plants and animals in the park?
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.
Explore some of the other Natural Resources of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
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 our Permits & Reservations page. 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.
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.
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 Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts?
Wolf Trap Ntaional Park for the Performing Arts is the official name of the park, administered by the National Park Service, and is one of the 419 units comprising the National Park System
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.
Is this the only National Park Service unit that presents live performances?
No, there are several 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.
Are you on social media?
Yes, the park maintains a social media presence on multiple platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
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, about a 15 minute drive from Wolf Trap.
How can I apply for a job 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. Current job opportunities at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts can be found here. Current job opportunities at the Wolf Trap Foundation can be found here.
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, you can volunteer at Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods starting at age 13.
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. Visit our Kids & Youth page to learn more about all of the programs offered at the park.
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 in the Laws and Policies section of our website.
How many people visit Wolf Trap each year?
402,580 people visited the park in 2019.
Last updated: October 7, 2021