- Indoor Public Activities for Toddlers in Maryland
- Activities for Children in Bowie, MD
- Family Things to Do in Cumberland, Maryland
- Things to Do With Children Near Laurel, Maryland
- Toddler Activities Near Kent Island, Maryland
- Things to Do With Children in Westminster, Maryland
- Activities for Children near Rockville, MD
- Things to Do for Kids in the City of Havre de Grace, Maryland
Your little one can see his favorite creatures at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. This spacious aquarium features more than 16,000 animals. Besides jellyfish, sharks, dolphins, octopi, clown fish and turtle displays, you can also see sloths, tamarins, frogs and birds. The aquarium also features a special treat for your family: a 4D Immersion Theater where you can experience animal films in a whole new way. 4D combines 3D film capabilities with special sensory effects including mist, wind, bubbles, scents and seat vibrations.
Maryland offers several toddler-friendly indoor water activities. Francis Scott Key Family Resort in Ocean City has a Caribbean pirate themed indoor pool with palm trees, island murals, a retractable roof, dump buckets and a waterfall, all at a comfortable 82 degrees. The Germantown Indoor Swim Center in Boyds boasts an indoor pool and a water slide. Swim lessons are available. Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool in Chillum has a large play area with slides and a spraying water feature that is only 6 to 8 inches deep, perfect for your little one to safely explore with you.
National Children's Museum in National Harbor is an interactive world of fun for your little one. Together you can explore a theater, giant interactive map, a play fire truck and pizza parlor. The 3 years of age and younger area features pretend play, including driving, a lunch truck, household chores and dolls. The Chesapeake Children's Museum in Annapolis features a play construction area, an earth and star exhibit, and a play fishing boat.
Indoor Play Areas
Indoor playgrounds in Maryland are abundant, and offer an ideal way for your toddler to burn off some energy. Kiddie Crusoe in Timonium offers more than 12,000 square feet of slides, themed play buildings and bounce houses. Pump it Up has locations throughout Maryland, including Frederick, Elkridge and Owings Mills. At Pump it Up you will find inflatable slides, bounce houses and obstacle courses. Ultimate Play Zone has locations in Millersville and Cockeysville, both with inflatable stations and play castles, and pirate ships.
Pack a picnic, grab a blanket and head over to Allen Pond Park or the Town Green in Old Town Bowie (cityofbowie.org). During the summer months, you’ll be able to catch some live music as you stretch out with your little one in the grass, have lunch and enjoy the sunshine. These summer concerts provide a nice range of family-friendly music, including blue grass, swing and jazz. If your little one tires of the music, head over to the playground that’s specifically geared to entertain the preschool crowd.
Enjoy some outdoor fun at one of Bowie’s local parks. Blacksox Park (no website; 2201 Mitchellville Road, Bowie; (301) 809-3011) has a preschool play structure, restroom facilities for those gotta-go emergencies and trails to hike or bike. Buckingham Park (no website; 2600 Barberry Lane, Bowie; 301-809-3011) also has a preschool playground and family-friendly walking trails. Rent a boat and teach your child how to fish at Allen Pond Park (no website; 3330 Northview Drive, Bowie; (301) 809-3011). Glen Allen Park (no website; 15600 Atlantis Drive, Bowie; (301) 809-3011) has a preschool playground, picnic areas and kid-friendly trails.
Bowie plans special events to entertain you and your little one throughout the year. Check the City of Bowie’s current special events calendar (cityofbowie.org). Your preschooler will enjoy watching the Memorial Day weekend parade. The Independence Day fireworks show is sure to please her little eyes. Don’t forget to take her to the holiday tree lighting ceremony and catch a visit from Santa. Bowie residents also participate in a friendly house-decorating contest in December, so grab the whole family and go for a drive to take in all the decked-out houses.
Jump into some indoor fun at Thrill-O-Rama (thrill-o-rama.com). This facility offers a whole day of entertainment and stimulation. Let your preschooler loose in the play zone so she can jump and bounce around, dress up, read a book, play some music or build something. Enjoy some “you” time while she gets her wiggles out. If jumping around isn’t her thing, head over to Bowie's ice arena (no website; 3330 Northview Drive, Bowie; (301) 809-3090) and throw on some ice skates. You and your preschooler can join in on the action during open skate or you can enroll her in some kid’s basic skating lessons. Even if you’re a bit rusty on the ice, you kiddo is sure to get a healthy giggle session in as you wobble around. Grab some hot chocolate afterwards and it will be a complete afternoon activity.
Constitution Park (no website; 450 Reservoir Ave.; 301-759-6636) features two playgrounds, a swimming pool, museum exhibits, picnic pavilions and a craft house. During the summer the park hosts "Movies Under the Stars," family-friendly movies with free swimming, games and concessions prior to the show. The Mason Sports Complex (no website; Offutt St.; 301-759-6636) provides a large playground along with several playing fields great for a family day out.
Nature and Wildlife
Rocky Gap State Park (dnr.state.md.us) offers 3,000-acres of natural land set aside for recreational use. The terrain is mountainous with a large lake and several creeks. Activities include hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, boating, tent camping, cabin rentals, nature programs and aviary education. The Tri-State Zoological Park (tristatezoologicalpark.com) houses several animals for viewing such as lemurs, alligators, pigs, llamas, hedgehogs, exotic cats and various farm animals. Many events are held at the zoo including Easter egg hunts, concerts and volunteer days.
Adventure and Historical Sites
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (nps.gov/choh) is an historical site dedicated to preserving the history of the canal that once was a lifeline for commerce. Visitors can tour old buildings, kayak, take a boat tour or hike around the grounds. The Western Maryland Railroad Museum (wmsr.com) will take you on steam train excursions exploring the mountain area around Cumberland, teaching all about the history of the railroad. The Great Allegheny Passage (atatrail.org) is a 141-mile hiking and biking trail that runs through Cumberland. A family hike or bike ride along portions of this scenic trail would make for an excellent outing.
Bowling Fun Centers
White Oak Lanes (wolanes.com) provides 32 lanes of bowling along with a full-service snack bar and plenty of video games. The Bowler Inc. Family Fun Center (thebowlerinc.com) includes cyberbowling, which is bowling with laser lights and music, a video arcade room, pizza, billiards and darts. It offers various bowling leagues ideal for families who like to compete together.
The Laurel Historical Society (laurelhistoricalsociety.org) offers walking tours of Laurel as well as historical exhibits inside the museum, including information about the town's role in the Civil War. Just nine miles from Laurel, the Bowie Railroad Museum (no website; 8614 Chestnut Ave., Bowie, MD; 301-809-3089) offers a replica of what Bowie was in the 19th century, centered around the railroad station. Also nine miles from Laurel, the College Park Aviation Museum (collegeparkaviationmuseum.com) houses vintage aircraft, artifacts and hands-on exhibits for children.
Nature and Wildlife
The Patuxent Wildlife Refuge Research Center (fws.gov/northeast/patuxent) welcomes visitors to explore the many exhibits aiming to educate in wildlife preservation and environmental issues. Nature trails, lakes, wildlife habitats and endangered species information are featured at the facility. Green Meadows (greenmeadowsevents.com), eight miles from Laurel in Jessup, features a petting zoo, pumpkin patch and pig races. Goats, emus, ducks, geese, sheep, turkeys and chickens also make their home at Green Meadows, and kids are allowed to pet and hold many of the animals.
The city of Laurel (cityoflaurel.org) maintains over 200 acres of park space, providing many amenities for recreation with the kids. Riverfront Park (no website; Avondale St., Laurel, MD; 301-725-7800) offers 30 acres of open space with picnic pavilions, play areas for kids, hiking trails, a scenic wetland and historic dam ruins. The Roland B. Sweitzer Community Park (no website; Sandy Spring Road, Laurel, MD; 301-725-7800) provides a tot-lot, playgrounds, open grass, a small pond and picnic tables. The Greenview Drive Pool Complex (no website; Greenview Drive, Laurel, MD; 301-725-7800) has an outdoor pool with tennis courts and picnic tables.
Entertainment and Game Centers
Medieval Times (medievaltimes.com), in Hanover, is just 11 miles from Laurel. Kids can enjoy witnessing an entertaining show of medieval games while eating a hearty meal without utensils. AMF Laurel Lanes (amf.com/laurellanes) provides 32 lanes of bowling with snacks and video games alongside. Monster Mini Golf (monsterminigolf.com) in Jessup features an 18-hole miniature golf course themed with monsters. Contests with prize giveaways are also a part of the experience.
Getting toddlers involved in sports programs is ideal for socialization and motor skills development. Queen Anne's County Recreation Department (parksnrec.org) offers sports activities for toddlers. The indoor kiddie soccer program is for 3 to 4 year olds, providing a chance for them to learn the sport and develop their skills. No special gear is required. The recreation department also runs a kiddie T-ball league for 3 to 4 year olds. It is held in the spring and is eight weeks in length. A baseball glove will be needed for each participating child.
Step 1 Dance 2 Academy (step1dance2.com) is a potential place to start toddlers in a dance program. It has a class called "Little Movers" for 2 to 3 year olds introducing ballet basics, rhythmic skills and dance appreciation. For young ones interested in the martial arts, The Kent Island Martial Arts Center (kimac.org) offers a program for 3 to 6 year olds. The "Lil' Dragon" class will introduce the fundamentals of kicks, blocks and various other skills. Queen Anne's County Free Library (quan.lib.md.us) provides a story time for toddlers, along with a selection of children's books.
There are many parks in the area providing perfect environments for toddlers to play and explore. Church Hill Park (no website; 1130 Sudlersville Rd. Church Hill; 410-758-0835) is one of the newer parks, featuring playing fields, playgrounds, restrooms and walking trails. The park has an arboretum atmosphere with many wildflowers and trees. Ferry Point Park (no website; 425 Piney Narrows Road, Chester; 410-758-0835) is a natural wetland area with tide pools. Kids can walk around the area and see lots of little sea creatures in the pools.
Other Points of Interest
The Chesapeake Exploration Center (baygateways.net) is the visitors and information hub of the area. Not only will it guide you to several points of interest throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, but it also has hands-on educational exhibits to see at the center. "Our Chesapeake Legacy" teaches all about the Bay and how it has shaped the culture and community around it through the years. Just 4 miles across the bay is Sandy Point State Park (dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/sandypoint). There are endless opportunities for kids, including swimming at the beach, fishing, boating, hiking and wildlife viewing.
The Hashawha Environmental Center and windmill in Westminster is an educational and recreational destination for families. The site has a lake for multiple-use recreation, camping areas, sports facilities and a wildlife area. Hashawa also contains winter cabins with bunk beds for overnight trips in the woods. The center provides environmental education, recreation, lodging and food service ''while functioning in a self-supporting capacity," according to the website for the Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks. It is a popular location for summer camps, too.
The Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster is a popular destination for Marylanders and schoolchildren. Visitors can experience authentic exhibits of mid-19th century rural life while touring historical farm buildings and recreated examples of an 18th-century log barn, smokehouse, broom shop, saddlery, springhouse, wagon shed, general store, firehouse and one-room schoolhouse. The museum also teaches the history of agriculture in Carroll County using artifacts and is home to a variety of farm animals.
Westminster's Equestrian Center is a destination for horse enthusiasts and children with horse riding experienced. The center is available for trail rides and dressage competitions. Youth equine organizations can rent and use the facility. Youth organizations such as Girl and Boy Scouts participate in Trail Days at the center. Horse riding lessons are abundantly available for children in Westminster and Carroll County, which is still home to significant undeveloped and farmland.
Families can easily reach activities in the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C., region, including federal monuments and parks in Washington, D.C., the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and historic Annapolis, Maryland, the state's capital. Like Westminster, the nearby Carroll County town of Mt. Airy has a historic downtown street with shops and restaurants and is a scenic area for walks with the family.
The School of Music (theschoolofmusic.wordpress.com) provides music lessons for all ages and skill levels. Children can learn to play the drums, the violin, the guitar, harmonica, ukulele, bass, cello and many more instruments in either a private, group or duet setting. The Guitar Center (guitarcenter.com) offers music lessons from beginner and up in rock, metal, blues and jazz. Students get the opportunity to rehearse and record with a band, learning what it is like to be in a musical group. The city of Rockville (rockvillemd.gov) offers guitar classes through the recreation department.
The Cabin John Ice Rink (montgomeryparks.org/enterprise/ice/cabin_john) is an indoor ice skating facility offering lessons, camps and open skating throughout the year. The summer camps include theater on ice, hockey and general skating fun. The Civic Center Park (no website; 603 Edmonston Drive; 240-314-5000) boasts 153 acres of open space, playgrounds, nature trails, a climbing gym, picnic areas and tennis courts. The Rockville Skate Park (rockvillemd.gov/skatepark) provides kids with numerous skating ramps, ledges, rails and open space for skateboarding. A skateboarding camp is offered for 6- to 14-year-olds in the summer.
Sports and Fitness
Go Ape (goape.com) is an outdoor climbing experience for all ages. Using zip lines, obstacle courses and tarzan swings, it provides participants with a fitness program atop the trees. Marva Tots and Teens (marvatotsnteens.com) is a gymnastics training center for kids. Classes for 1- to 11-year-olds are offered, teaching children Olympic event skills for boys and girls. Xtreme Acro and Cheer (xtremeacroandcheer.com) offers classes in cheer, tumbling, trampoline, acrobat gymnastics and parkour. Classes are available for 3- to 11-year-olds.
Bounce U (bounceu.com) is an indoor inflatable bounce toy arena offering open play time, camps and party reservations. It houses obstacle courses, boxing arenas, basketball and many others along with a full snack bar. Five miles from Rockville in Gaithersburg is Chuck E. Cheese (chuckecheese.com/loc/401). It provides plenty of arcade and redemption games, play structures and pizza in a fun environment. Also in Gaithersburg, Bowl America (bowl-america.com) features cosmic bowling, bumper bowling, league play, snacks and video arcade games.
Havre de Grace is home to several parks. The Susquehanna State Park provides opportunities for fishing, boating, biking, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and picnicking. The park has a playground for kids and an old grist mill that dates back to 1794. Tydings Park encompasses 8 acres overlooking the river. It offers playgrounds, grassy areas and walkways for the kids to enjoy. When you take the kids for a walk along the Lafayette Trail, you'll see the historical portions of town including the significant landmarks.
If the kids are up for some outdoor adventures, visit Old Town Parasail, which offers parasailing, boat rides, kayak, canoe and pedal boat rentals. The Lantern Queen Riverboat is another option for water-loving kids. Paddle-wheel propelled just as the old Mississippi Riverboats, this cruise boat will transport your family down Chesapeake Bay and has both open air and indoor seating.
The Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House is a historic home located on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Before the railroad, canals were necessary for commerce between cities -- and this is a home preserved from that era. The Lock House has historic exhibits and also hosts events throughout the year like a reenactment of the War of 1812, a "piratefest" weekend and candlelight tours during the holiday season. Plus, you can take the kids for a guided tour along the nature trail by the old canal. The kids might also enjoy visiting the Concord Point Lighthouse, which was built in 1827 on the corner of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. Here, they can take a tour of the lighthouse as well as take in the view from the top.
Museums with Classes and Programs
The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum is a large collection of decoys used for waterfowling. The Chesapeake Bay is known for its decoy-making -- and the museum offers a look into the decoy heritage of the region. Kids can participate in classes designed to introduce them to the art of decoy carving. Carving demonstrations take place on a weekly basis. Havre de Grace Maritime Museum details the maritime history of the area offering educational programs for kids including story times and exhibit-interactive activity books that enable kids to obtain "First Mate Certificates" upon completion.