Summer means it’s time to get the kids together for a little playtime — and parent time — out of the house. From sun-soaked adventures to educational experiences that feel like anything but, plan your next group playdate at any of these exciting local spots and make memories you’ll never forget.
Oregon Ridge Park, Beach & Nature Center
13555 Beaver Dam Road
Cockeysville, Md. 21030
Price: $8 per adult/$5 per senior 62 and older/free for children younger than 12
The perfect place for kids to run around, meet other kids and play all day long is Oregon Ridge’s 1,100-acre park. Its beach borders a spring-fed lake, which provides shallow and deep areas for swimming and a cool relief from the summer heat. Plus, certified lifeguards are always on duty. Picnic groves with grills and tables nestled in the trees create a nice shady area to eat, play games or take naps. This family friendly park also offers a pavilion, bath house, concession stands, a sand volleyball court and a playground area. In addition to enjoying the area’s wildlife, visitors may learn more about the past iron-ore and mining operations that took place on the park grounds during the mid-19th century.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Place
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Price: $13.95 per adult/$13.95 per child ages 2 to 18/free for children younger than 2
Ranked among the top five children’s museums in the U.S., the Port Discovery Children’s Museum hosts three floors of education, interaction and thought-provoking programs for kids. Just a few of its special exhibits include Nano, a hands-on experience with technology and science; Adventures Expeditions, jump back to Egypt in the 1920s for a physical and mental obstacle course using hieroglyphics to find the pharaoh’s lost tomb; Exploramora: Down at the Farm, where planting vegetables, milking a cow and brushing a horse are all in a day’s work when living on a farm; KidWorks, a three-story urban tree house designed for unforgettable playtime while climbing, crawling, jumping, sliding and then crossing a narrow rope bridge; and Mystery House, the only place to solve a head-scratching case by using detective research techniques, literacy and problem-solving skills. Any option guarantees a memorable experience for kids of all ages.
5707 Smith Avenue
Baltimore, Md. 21209
Click here for classes and pricing
Baltimore Clayworks is a local ceramic fun center that has summer classes and youth classes, teen camps and family workshops, which are great for groups or individuals. Younger kids may enjoy sessions like Big Hands, Little Hands for ages 3 to 5 and an adult, in which the possibilities for clay are explored through pushing, pinching, rolling and squishing while molding a ceramic masterpiece. Clay for You and Me for children ages 6 to 11 and an adult includes a full-day of working on a special clay project together. Summer camps are offered in full and half-day sessions and are packed with inspiration, new cultural traditions and entertainment all while teaching ceramic arts and creating a clay work of art.
Adventure Park USA
11113 W. Baldwin Road
New Market, Md. 21774
Price: $28.95 per all-day pass/$24.95 per three-hour pass (save $2 when you buy online)
This Maryland wild west amusement park is located just a short drive outside of Baltimore and supplies everything you need to have a one-of-a-kind get together with family, friends and kids of all ages. Make new friends by joining in group activities such as laser tag, Desert Oasis Mini Golf, go karts or a paintball course that is set in the western scenery of the 1870s. The Prospector Playground offers a four-level soft play area indoors, which boasts lots of energy-burning activity and interaction with other kids. Let them climb to new heights and challenge others at the rock climbing wall, or enjoy exciting rides like the Wildcat Roller Coaster and Crater Lake Bumper Boats. Whether you stay a few hours or all day long, Adventure Park USA is an exceptional group attraction that should not be missed this summer.
Related: Best Paintball Arenas Near Baltimore
Charm City Kids Club
1500 Riderwood Drive
Lutherville, Md. 21093
(410) 337-CCKC (2252)
Price: $99 per family membership
It’s time to redefine the childhood playtime experience by signing up for some of the most unique children’s classes available in Baltimore. Charm City Kids Club is a hangout zone for children ages birth through 9 years old and their parents. The club offers a safe, clean and enriching environment to help promote every child’s educational advancement. Kids are encouraged to use their play skills to further develop their imaginations and have fun while both interacting with and entertaining their playmates. There are also special events for expecting moms, parents and families, as well as birthday parties.
Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her on Twitter at @KtBlue16 and online at Examiner.com