We happened across, what I think, is a best kept secret. It's a place called Explore and More in Gettysburg, PA. Before you gasp, for those of you who live near Silver Spring, MD, it's only 1 1/2 hours away - just long enough for the kids to watch a movie in full on the DVD player. We came across it on a weekend away last summer. It's a lovely little rowhouse that two former preschool teachers transformed into a children's place. It's inexpensive and rarely crowded. Sometimes they are busy with field trips or birthday parties. But you can always call ahead and check on the day you want to go and if none of the above are happening, you practically have the place to yourself! The place is small enough that the children can roam from 1st floor to 2nd floor and back, doing science experiments, creating in the art room, constructing in the building room, being inside a bubble (always a favorite), searching for fossils...there is even a housekeeping area set up with a Civil War time period. There is no fear of losing them or having to follow them every second because of the size and layout of the place. After 3 hours (or more!), they are moaning NOT to go home and need to stay longer. They also have a wonderful big backyard with a huge sandbox and other activities (my husband couldn't stop playing with the digger!). Bring your own snacks or lunch and enjoy eating in the backyard. Metered parking is on the street, never had a problem getting a spot. We love it and the kids do too (even my 11 year old)! http://www.exploreandmore.com/ .
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