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Family Fun

Top Family Friendly Things to Do

By Jim Meyer

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Head to the O.C. Boardwalk for family fun rides like the Ferris Wheel.
The Ocean City Ferris Wheel
Photo By: Clark Vandergrift
SUPERMAN: Ride of Steel Virtual Reality Coaster.
Photo By: Six Flags America

Spend the day lounging on the beach or screaming your heads off on a roller coaster. Get back to nature on a drive-through safari or gaze at distant worlds through the Hubble Space Telescope. In Maryland, the opportunities for family fun are limitless.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore Photo By: Visit Baltimore

1 Dive into fun at The National Aquarium in Baltimore

The beautiful National Aquarium in Baltimore has changed its mission to become one of the premiere ocean conservation organizations in the country, but it remains a must see for all families. From the beautiful Australia: Wild Extremes pavilion to the thrilling Blacktip Reef exhibit, the National Aquarium is fun you can sink your teeth into.  


More about National Aquarium in Baltimore


Type:
General Attractions


Location:
501 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-3800


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Thrashers Fries on the Boardwalk in Ocean City Photo By: Maryland Office of Tourism

2 Walk the boards in Ocean City

Head to Ocean City's boardwalk and set yourself up for people watching with some Thrasher’s famous fries, a big bucket of Fischer’s Popcorn and an ice cream cone from Dumser’s Dairlyland. Or get in on the action and ride the classic rides at Trimper’s Rides and Amusements including the 1912 Herschel-Spillman carousel and Pirate’s Cove and the Haunted House, two of the few remaining Bill Tracy haunted houses.

National Harbor's Capital Wheel at sunset

3 Take to the skies and ride National Harbor’s Capital Wheel

Rise 180 feet into the air and take in the sights from one of the Capital Wheel’s climate-controlled gondolas.  The fantastic view features the Potomac River and skyline of National Harbor out over to the Washington Monument in the Nation’s Capital. The Capital Wheel is a one-of-a-kind ride!


More about Capital Wheel at National Harbor


Type:
Attraction


Location:
116 Waterfront St
National Harbor, MD 20745
301-842-8650


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ASCI's man-made rapids offer thrilling rafting adventures.

4 Ride the rapids at Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI) in McHenry

Home to the 2014 Canoe Slalom World Championships, ASCI offers world-class instructors and a range of challenges from beginner to Olympian in their man-made white-water facility.  


More about Adventure Sports Center International


Type:
Attraction


Location:
250 Adventure Sports Way
McHenry, MD 21541
301-387-3250


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Jolly Roger Amusement Park's Splash Mountain in Ocean City

5 Plunge into fun at Jolly Rogers Splash Mountain Waterpark in Ocean City

Splash in the Lost Lagoon Family Activity Pool, drift away on the 1000-foot-long Lazy River, blast down the 45-foot tall drop on Stealth or thrill up and down the exhilarating Master Blaster water roller coaster. 


More about Jolly Roger Amusement Park


Type:
Attraction


Location:
30th St and Coastal Hwy
Ocean City, MD 21842
410-289-3477


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Penguins at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore Photo By: The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

6 See the penguins at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore may be one of the oldest zoos in the nation, but it combines that long tradition with exciting, cutting edge exhibits like Penguin Coast, where the best dressed animals at the zoo dive, swim and cavort in their naturalistic habitat complete with currents, waves and underwater view ports. 


More about Maryland Zoo in Baltimore


Type:
Attraction


Location:
1876 Mansion House Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21217
410-396-7102


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Wild Cat at Adventure Park USA

7 Ride the Wild Cat wooden rollercoaster at Adventure Park USA in New Market

This old school cool wooden coaster is a must for any family of thrill seekers, but Adventure Park USA also has lots more waiting with bumper boats, putt-putt, a ropes course and more, plus it's conveniently located just down the road from Baltimore and D.C. in New Market.


More about Adventure Park, USA


Type:
General Attractions


Location:
11113 West Baldwin Road
Monrovia, MD 21770
301-865-6800


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Dig in for some spectacular sandcastle-building on Maryland's beaches like Ocean City's.

8 Build a sandcastle at Maryland's beaches

Nothing brings a family together quite like building a sandcastle, and Maryland has lots of great spots to soak in the sun, play in the sand, and make a memory. Ocean City, Assateague and Sandy Point are just a few spots waiting for you to grab your shovel and dig in.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore Photo By: Visit Baltimore

9 Reinvent the art of play at Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore

Named one of the Top Five Children’s Museums in the country by Child Magazine, Port Discovery is where fun lives. From live puppet shows to the interactive water tables and the astounding five-story central play structure—the mother of all playgrounds—Port Discovery is a must for families with young kids.


More about Port Discovery Children's Museum


Type:
General Attractions


Location:
35 Market Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
410-727-8120


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Zoo safari at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo in Thurmont Photo By: Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo

10 Ride a rolling safari at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo in Thurmont

Located deep in the mountains of Maryland, this lush zoo takes families on a genuine safari. Catoctin Wildlife Preserve’s fleet of surplus army trucks will take your family through the park where you can feed the animals from the bed of the big rig. 


More about Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo


Type:
Attraction


Location:
13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd
Thurmont, MD 21788
301-271-3180


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Launch your driving tour along the Star-Spangled Banner trail from Solomons, home to this popular museum.

11 Be amazed at the sight of the Calvert Marine Museum’s giant Megalodon shark skeleton in Solomons

With exhibits on Maryland’s water culture, historic ships and more, there’s plenty to see at the Calvert Marine Museum, but one toothy exhibit steals the show. The 37-foot long recreated Megalodon shark skeleton takes a bite out of boredom and makes for a fin-tastic time! 


More about Calvert Marine Museum


Type:
History & Heritage


Location:
14200 Solomons Island Rd
Solomons, MD 20688
410-326-2042


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Urban Pirates

12 Plunder the high seas with the scurvy dogs of a genuine pirate ship

Yar, maties, set sail for swashbucklin’ shenanigans on one of Maryland’s family-friendly pirate ships! Join the crews of Ocean City’s Duckaneer, Baltimore’s Urban Pirates, or Pirate Adventures in Annapolis for a rollicking good time. Just leave the landlubbers on shore. 

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center - Visitors Center

13 Have a blast at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt

Wonder at the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, get up close to real rockets and space capsules, gaze at the secrets of the universe in the super cool Geodome, and let the kids try on a kid- sized space suit and helmet. Goddard Space Flight Center is out of this world!


More about NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Museum


Type:
Attraction


Location:
8800 Greenbelt Rd
Greenbelt, MD 20771
301-286-8981


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Wild Ponies on Assateague Island National Seashore

14 See the horses at Assateague, Assateague Island

The wild horses of Assateague National Seashore and State Park are one of the few truly unique sites in the world. The majestic horses have been the island’s signature species for centuries, and seeing them frolicking in the dunes for the first time is one of those iconic family memories you’ll never forget.


More about Assateague Island National Seashore


Type:
Attraction


Location:
7206 National Seashore Ln
Berlin, MD 21811
410-641-1441


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Clark’s Elioak Petting Farm in Ellicott City Photo By: Don Woods

15 Pick pumpkins and pet farm animals in the fairy tale Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City

Ride the ponies or the cow train, pet and feed the farm animals, and take a walk down memory lane with the preserved fairy tale creatures and castles from the old Enchanted Forest amusement park at this Howard County institution.   


More about Clark's Elioak Farm


Type:
Agriculture & Farms


Location:
10500 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042
410-730-4049


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Maryland Science Center in Baltimore Photo By: Visit Baltimore

16 Touch dinosaurs and gaze into space at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore

With live science demonstrations, hands-on paleontological digs with real dinosaur bones, a first rate children’s room, a massive six-story Imax theater, and a mind-expanding look at the universe through the eye of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Maryland Science Center is home to worlds of fun.


More about Maryland Science Center


Type:
General Attractions


Location:
601 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
410-685-5225


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Mind Eraser at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro

17 Thrill the day away at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro

Apocalypse, the Batwing Coaster, the Bonzai Pipeline and the all-new Bourbon Street Fireball are just a few of the amazing thrill rides that will keep the teens grinning ear-to-ear, while the Capital Railways, Crocodile Cal’s Caribbean Beach House and the French Quarter Flyers provide fun for children of all ages. 

Ripley's Believe It Or Not

18 Blow your mind at Ripley’s Believe It or Not

With two locations, one in Baltimore Harbor and one on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, it's double the fun at Ripley’s Believe It or Not, which has been mystifying families since 1918 and Maryland’s two locations are keeping up the tradition. Ocean City's location features a giant robotic shark poking through the building while Baltimore’s museum is home to Chessie the Sea Monster.


More about Ripley's Believe It or Not!


Type:
Arts & Culture


Location:
Light Street Pavilion
Baltimore, MD 21202
443-615-7878


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Mountain Coaster at Wisp Resort

19 Ride the legendary Mountain Coaster at Wisp in McHenry

With 1,500 feet of upward track and a mind-boggling 3500 feet back down, the Mountain Coaster, open year round, is too cool to miss. 

Plumpton Park Zoo Photo By: Plumpton Park Zoo

20 Feed Jimmie the Giraffe at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun

There is nothing like the expression of joy on the face of a person feeding Jimmie the Giraffe for the first time. Just make sure to give your kids a turn, too.


More about Plumpton Park Zoo


Type:
Attraction


Location:
1416 Telegraph Rd.
Rising Sun, MD 21911
410-658-6850


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Featured Places
01
Location:
501 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202
03
Location:
116 Waterfront St
National Harbor, MD 20745
04
Location:
250 Adventure Sports Way
McHenry, MD 21541
05
Location:
30th St and Coastal Hwy
Ocean City, MD 21842
06
Location:
1876 Mansion House Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21217
07
Location:
11113 West Baldwin Road
Monrovia, MD 21770
09
Location:
35 Market Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
10
Location:
13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd
Thurmont, MD 21788
11
Location:
14200 Solomons Island Rd
Solomons, MD 20688
13
Location:
8800 Greenbelt Rd
Greenbelt, MD 20771
14
Location:
7206 National Seashore Ln
Berlin, MD 21811
15
Location:
10500 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042
16
Location:
601 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
18
Location:
Light Street Pavilion
Baltimore, MD 21202
20
Location:
1416 Telegraph Rd.
Rising Sun, MD 21911
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