Stuff to See Adventure Park USA, 1113 W. Baldwin Road, New Market, (301) 865-6800, adventureparkusa.com. The typical amusement-park fare is all here: mini-golf, coasters, bumper cars, laser tag, plus you can unload the kids at the park's weekly summer camp.
Clark's Elioak Farm, 10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, (410) 730-4049, clarkandfarm.com. A bit out of the way, but your kids will thank you in the long run when they get to pet those animals they've only seen in their school books or funny YouTube parodies.
Druid Hill Park, 2600 Madison Ave., druidhillpark.org. Baltimore's answer to Central Park, minus the overcrowding and just a stone's throw away from the zoo.
Hershey Park, 100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pa., (717) 534-3900, hersheypark.com. It's a major incentive to get your kids to eat their vegetables when you tell them you'll take them to an amusement park dedicated to chocolate.
Irvine Nature Center, 111201 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, 443-738-9200, explorenature.org. Fun and educational? No way! is what your kids will be thinking. Though the center offers programs year-round, the summer has a nature camp for your young environmentalist-in-training.
Knoebels Amusement Resort, 319 Knoebels Blvd., Elysburg, Pa., (800) 487-4387. Free! Free! Free! resort has everything to satisfy each kind of child: animals, a history museum, thrill rides, etc., etc. Did we mention that this is place is free? Though there are some small charges for a few of the rides.
Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-2370, mdsci.org. Give your kids the gift of science without the added stress of a graded experiment. Attractions include dinosaur bones, IMAX theater, oh, and a planetarium for some late-night stargazing.
Meadowland Regional Park, 10650 Fall Road, Lutherville, (410) 887-3678,baltimorecountymd.gov. Half-rec center, half-park, all kinds of fun. Leave your kids to explore the rec while you roam the woods for that one second of quiet before the ride back home.
Oregon Ridge Park, 13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, (410) 887-1818,baltimorecountymd.gov. Not your basic, run-of-the-mill park. A beach, lodge, and nature center complete this local attraction.
Patterson Park, pattersonpark.com. One of the most poppin' summer spots in Baltimore. When it isn't hosting events (which is almost never), you can enjoy a swimming pool, boat lake, rec center, among other things.
Please Touch Museum, Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4321 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, Pa., (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org. Probably the only place in the world where your kid can touch stuff in a museum without a guide breathing down your neck.
Six Flags America, 13710 Central Ave., Bowie-Mitchellville, (301) 249-1500, sixflags.com. The crown jewel of amusement parks in the Baltimore-Washington area. Boasting Looney Toons, super-hero-themed coasters, and a large waterpark for those soon-approaching humid days, your kid will be begging you to stay forever and ever. Or until they get one more ride on the teacups.
Stuff to Do 8th Annual Wide Angle Youth Media festival, 3:30 p.m. May 15, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance.org, $10 each, groups of 8+ $5 each. A festival which challenges stereotypes of young people in Baltimore through art, photography, and video. The opening reception will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with the screening from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Breakfast with the Animals, various weekend days 8:30-10 a.m., Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, 1876 Mansion House Drive, (410) 366-7102, marylandzoo.org. Enjoy breakfast alongside some of your favorite critters at the zoo. Same-day entry to the park is included with ticket price. Children under 2 are free, but still require a ticket.
Tiny Tinkerers, Thursdays 10-11 a.m., Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org. Kids are given the chance to learn basic science concepts in the Learning Lab.
Train Ride to Mount Clare Museum House, Saturdays 11 a.m., Sundays 12:30 p.m., B&O Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St., Mount Clare Museum House, 1500 Washington Blvd., (410) 752-2490, borail.org, $5, children $4, B&O members free. You can buy a discounted train-ride ticket to the Mount Clare Museum House when you purchase a regular admission ticket to the B&O Railroad Museum.
Wildlife Rescue, through Labor Day, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org. Experience, experiment, and explore the science of how we can save Earth's ecosystems at the Maryland Science Center's new traveling exhibit. Visitors to the exhibit will be introduced to the rescue efforts used by experts, have a chance to experiment with puppets and costumes, and learn survival skills.
Pickling 101, 2-3 p.m. May 18, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org, free with admission. Learn how pickles become pickles with this fun workshop on food preservation.
Who Dunnit Day, noon-4 p.m. May 18, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org, free with admission. Solve the mystery of the missing African bullfrog while learning about ink chromatography, fingerprinting, and footprints.
Group Build, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. May 18, noon-2 p.m. May 19, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-2370, mdsci.org. For the aspiring engineer or architect. Build anything that your heart desires with a variety of building materials, from dominoes to packing peanuts.
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, May 18 and 19, Pumpkin Theatre, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Art Center at St. Timothy's School, Stevenson, (410) 828-1814. When Lilly brings her prized possession to school and has it taken by her teacher, she gets even, then goes on to make things better again, all on stage. Based upon the book by Kevin Henkes.
Railroad Heritage Days, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 18, noon-5 p.m. May 19, Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, 300 S. Burhans Blvd., Hagerstown, roundhouse.org, adults $5, children 4-12 50 cents, ages 3 and under free. The Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum houses some of the most interesting artifacts of railroad history. Come to learn or for trolley rides and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Bike Jam, May 19, Patterson Park, bikejam.org. A day of biking and food for the whole family to enjoy.
Balticon 47, May 24-27, Mariott Hunt Valley Inn, 245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, balticon.org. Join fellow sci-fi buffs in this three-day convention of paradise. Complete with concerts, dances, gaming room and more, it sure beats watching Battlestar Galactica reruns on Netflix.
Asian Pacific Heritage Celebration, 10 a.m. May 25, Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, portdiscovery.org. Celebrate the tradition and cultures of Asian Pacific Islanders with a variety of dances, including ballet, and more.
Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery, May 25-Sept. 2, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org. Sherlock Holmes needs assistance in solving another mystery in Victorian England.
Park Quest 2013, May 25-Sept. 2, Assateague State Park, 7307 Stephen Decatur Highway, Berlin, (410) 641-2120, dnr.state.md.us/parkquest. Parks can be intimidating, but Maryland's Department of Nature is making going to the park a feat for all to conquer with Park Quest 2013. In their sixth season, Park Quest gives families VIP access to parks across the state to complete tasks. Now they'll believe you when you say you're a secret agent working for the government!
Memorial Day Fun, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 27, Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, portdiscovery.org, $13.95. Port Discovery is opened for limited holiday hours. Events include a community drum circle and Once Upon a Doorstep.
Fairmount Academy's 1800s Festival, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 1, Fairmount Academy, Fairmount Road, Upper Fairmount, visitsomerset.com. free. Check out an 1800s classroom and participate in a spelling bee. There will also be crafts, seafood, and dessert.
Filipino Festival 2013, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. June 2, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Lutherville-Timonium, (443) 812-3241, katipunan.org. Learn about the Filipino culture, taste their food, watch them dance Tinikling, all in an air-conditioned complex. Kids under 12 get in for free.
Carnival Science, noon-4 p.m. June 8 and 9, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-2370, mdsci.org. Your kid convinced he's going to join the circus one day? Allow him the luxury of seeing how it works behind the scenes and watch them be amazed at this three-ring, two-day spectacle.
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs, June 8, Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, portdiscovery.org. A special Little's Day event dedicated to the lives of bugs.
National Aquarium World Oceans Day, June 8, National Aquarium, 501 E. Pratt St., (410) 576-3800, aqua.org. Explore the ocean without getting wet with activities that are exclusive to this once-a-year extravaganza.
Born To Be Wild 3D, June 15, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org. A 3-D film about orphaned animals and the bond that is created between them and the people who take care of them. Narrated by Morgan Freeman.
Solar Plasma Fest, noon-4 p.m. June 15, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org. Scientists from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab will be on hand to discuss the relationship between the sun and the Earth.
Thing-a-ma-jigs, 2-4 p.m. June 15-16, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, mdsci.org. Build a carrier that will go down a zip line to a drop zone.
I've Been Readin' on the Railroad, June 17-Aug. 26, B&O Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St., (410) 752-2490, borail.org. Encourage your kid to read this summer with steampower . . . trains that is. Kids can also earn a free book and the chance to win an engineer's outfit.
Grade A Student Night, 6-9 p.m. June 20, National Aquarium in Baltimore, 501 E. Pratt St., (410) 576-3800, aqua.org, free. Students who have three or more A's will get into the aquarium for free. Check aqua.org for additional requirements.
Go Skateboarding Day, June 21, gostakeboardingday.org. Your kid is going to become part of that chair from all that social-media nonsense. Use this annual ode to skateboards to get her moving and the adrenaline pumping. Just make sure she's aware of oncoming traffic.
There's No Place Like Home: A Celebration of Homes Across the World, 10 a.m. June 22, Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, portdiscovery.org. Port Discovery celebrates homes across the world. Guests will have the chance to build homes out of Lincoln logs and K'Nex figures, among other activities.
Fourth of July Fun, July 4, Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, portdiscovery.org. Port Discovery will be open on the Fourth of July with different activities for kids, including circle time and Art A La Cart.
Teddy Bear Picnic, July 13, Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, portdiscovery.org. A special Little's Day event which includes special activities like bear masks and a teddy bear health clinic.
Zoos Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, N.J., (856) 365-3300, adventureaquarium.com. If you decide to head up north during the summer, check this place out on your way. Hippos, penguins, and sharks await you. It is busy this time of year, so check ahead of time before you go rushing up there.
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, 1876 Mansion House Drive, (410) 396-7102, marylandzoo.org. Conveniently located in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park, the Maryland Zoo has it all, from lions to giraffes to goat grooming and scavenger hunts throughout the day.
Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo, 13019 Catoctin Furnace Road, Thurmont, (301) 271-3180, cwpzoo.com. This conservation area boasts 25 acres of landscape and gardens, an array of animals from all around the world, a safari, and camel rides.
National Aquarium in Baltimore, 501 E. Pratt St., (410) 576-3800, aqua.org. Animal feedings, a 4-D movie experience and up-close encounters with sharks. No wonder this aquarium is one of the best in the country.
Plumpton Park Zoo, 1416 Telegraph Road, Rising Sun, (410) 658-6850, plumptonparkzoo.org. A bit on the small side when it comes to zoos, but that doesn't mean it should be counted out. Birds, wolves, a tiger, and a capuchin monkey all make their homes here.
National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., nationalzoo.si.edu. A part of the Smithsonian family (which means it's free), the National Zoo is one of the reasons you should make your way to D.C. sometime in the summer. Exhibits include giant pandas and a newly finished elephant trail.
Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, Pa., (215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org. A well-rounded zoo experience. Not only are there animals galore, there are also rides, a café, gift shop, and rentals for strollers and wheelchairs.
Salisbury Zoological Park, 755 S.Park Drive, Salisbury, (410) 548-3188, salisburyzoo.org. Another quaint zoo experience close to Ocean City. A standard lot of animals plus other things that kids can enjoy, including a week-long camping experience and camping outside near the animals.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, (410) 228-2677. While not technically a zoo, the refuge still provides shelter for endangered animals. Attractions include an insect garden, bald eagles' nests, trails to explore, and a gift shop.
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