Monday, August 13, 2012

South Germantown Adventure Playground, Boyds, MD

The adventure playground in South Germantown is an amazing park located right next to the splash park, and several other amenities. The best part about this park is that the equipment is clean, sturdy, huge, and there is tons of space to run and play. The entrance is built like a castle, and kids can climb, swing, run, and jump all over this place.

Another area in the park is constructed in the shape of a ship. There is a main level and then plenty of places to run around under the main deck. The slides vary in size and speed, and kids of all ages can find something to do at this park. They also had a really cool climbing wall which was an instant hit with our kids.

The biggest downside to this park is also its largest benefit which is that it is huge. Our kids had plenty of places to go, but we also really had to follow them everywhere to make sure to keep them in our line of vision. In the summer months, this park can be very hot as it is in the open sun. However, there are several trees along the outskirts of the park that you can stand under for shade. We look forward to coming back in the fall when the weather is a little bit more cool so that we can really spend a good chunk of time here.

Accessibility: Concrete paths to get around the outside of the park, but not as wheel chair accessible as a park like Clemyjontri.


                                                      Hours: Sunrise-Sunset, year round
Age Level: 2-10

Book Recommendations before going to a playground
Please Play Safe! Penguin’s Guide to Playground Safety (Margery Cuyler)
Manners on the playground (Carrie Finn)
King of the Playground (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)

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Cal's Live Steam, Woodlawn, MD

Cal's Live Steam is a great miniature coal train in Woodlawn that runs free and open to the public on the second Sunday of the month during the warmer months. The track runs through a large open field, and the ride is about 8 minutes long. Our kids had a great time riding around in this little train and thought that it was cool that you could sit inside the train even though it is only about 12 inches off the ground from bottom to top. Each conductor works on the trains and donates their time as a service to the community and they stay open to the public solely from donations made. They have a lot of knowledge about the hobby and are thrilled to share the information with anyone that will listen.

The ride was just long enough to keep their interest, and when we finished our trip, we were able to get back in line, wait no more than 5 minutes, and get back on again. You can go on as many times as you would like, and the trains are modeled after local area historical trains. There are also tennis courts and a nice playground on the premises as well as plenty of areas to have a picnic. Right near the tracks a random band even came and sat down to practice and a crowd gathered to listen. We had a great time and will make plans to go back out next season.

Cost: Free
Hours: 11am-3:30pm

Book Recommendations about trains
Trains (Eye Openers)-Angela Royston
The Goodnight Train-June Sobel
Steam, Smoke, and Steel-Patrick O'Brien

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LOL Station, Greenbelt, MD

The LOL station is an indoor play area that offers several different rides and games. The mall itself seemed rather run down, and inside was really dark and expensive for what it was. However, they do have  two indoor mini roller coasters which were a good start to roller coasters for our 5 year old, and they also had bumper cars, an arcade, inflatable moon bounce, inflatable slide, and a gladiator course. There was also a smaller ride for younger children in the 3-5 year old range as well. In the front of the LOL station, they also had an area that was fenced in for children in the 2-5 year old age range which provided a smaller moon bounce and a few slides.

When we first arrived, we had to walk around to find a person so that we could pay and they were understaffed to the point where we had to ask a person to come over from one ride to the next in order to go on certain rides. That being said, the people that were on duty were incredibly nice and friendly, and were willing to answer questions and accommodate us when possible by letting our younger son go on the bumper cars when nobody else was on them. Overall, this place was a bit pricey for what it was, but we had a good time.

Cost: See website for various pricing options
Age Range: 2-10 yrs old
6042 Greenbelt Rd.
Greenbelt, MD. 20770

Summer Hours
Tuesday - Thursday 12 noon to 6pm
Friday - Sunday 12 noon to 8 pm

Regular Hourse
Monday - Thursday-CLOSED
Friday 12 noon to 8 pm
Saturday 12 noon to 9 pm
Sunday 12 noon to 8 pm

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Green Meadow Farm, Ijamsville, MD

Green Meadows Animals 4

If you are looking for a fun outdoor activity for kids that adore animals, then this is the ideal place for you. Green Meadows Petting Farm is located 10 miles south of Frederick, MD and just a few minutes off of I-270. Upon arrival, we were greeted by an adorable little girl named "Cowgirl Brooke" who welcomed us to the farm and lead us to our tour guide, Kenny. Kenny then proceeded to walk us through the countless areas of animals including piglets, cows, llamas, turkeys, chickens, kangaroos, goats, sheep, and more.
The 2-hour tour included the following activities: milking a cow, watching a pig race, lovely tractor ride and hand feeding the animals. The best part of the petting farm is how interactive everything is. There was rarely a barrier between the kids and animals and the kids were always encouraged to pet the animals and meet them up close and personal. After the tour, you are welcome to stay at the farm for as long as you'd like and revisit your favorite furry friends.
I would recommend this farm to any child that is walking and has already showed an interest in animals. Please bring plenty of water and snacks as it gets very hot being outdoors for so long but you hardly notice the heat when you're having so much fun!


2 Locations:
Main location:
10102 Fingerboard Road
Ijamsville, MD 21754

Wednesday - Friday: 9:30 AM
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 AM
Closed Monday & Tuesday
The last visitor is admitted to the farm at 2:00 PM
but please stay as long as you like!

 Meadows Farm
8018 Max Blob Park Road
Jessup, MD 20794

Monday - Friday: 9:30 AM
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 AM
(Weekends are better for family visits due to the volume of field trips during the week)
The last visitor is admitted to the farm at 2:00 PM
but please stay as long as you like!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool, Hyattsville, MD

What a great indoor splash playground!!!! Rollingcrest-Chillum is only 15 minutes from the Silver Spring area and provided a fun adventure for my five year old. While this isn't the newest looking place, the complex is great for kids ages 5-12 but can be enjoyed by kids a few years younger and a few years older.  This venue is mostly wheelchair accessible as well.

A large portion of the playground is in 6-8 inches of water which allows kids that are new to water to walk around comfortably and splash around. Additionally, for a child who is 2-5 years old, they can go down the slides into very shallow water (again, 6-8 inches) without having to know how to swim (with supervision, of course). There were 5 slides that were geared toward children who can't quite swim yet. Then there was another part that had 6 inches of water with a mushroom, spraying water down gently for kids that weren't quite ready for the slides.

When you walk to the other side of the facility, there was a bigger water slide that went from the upstairs of the building to the outside, and then back in on the lower level of the building. The water on that side is much deeper and is meant for older children that can swim well. There were plenty of staff members standing at each slide and I felt that my child was being supervised properly as he went on each slide.

When you finish with water play, there is also an outdoor playground on the premises which allows for the kids to dry off before the ride home. This facility also offers swim classes, water aerobics, and fully equipped locker rooms with lockers for $0.50 (note that they do not have money to make change, so bring a few quarters). We look forward to coming back on both sunny and rainy days in the future!!!


To return to the Family Fun in MD and Beyond website, click here.

6122 Sargent Road
Chillum, MD 20782

Phone: 301-853-9115

$5.00 for non-PG county adult residents
$4.00 for non-PG county child residents
(the hours the facility is open for structured programs, patron inquiries, registrations, etc.)
(the hours the facility is open for public swimming)
6:30 am - 8:30 pm
12 noon - 4:45 pm
6:30 am - 8:30 pm
12 noon - 4:45 pm
6:30 am - 8:30 pm
12 noon - 4:45 pm
6:30 am - 8:30 pm
12 noon - 4:45 pm
6:30 am - 9:00 pm
12 noon - 8:45 pm
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
12 noon - 5:45 pm
12 noon - 6:00 pm
12 noon - 5:45 pm

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Play N' Learn, Columbia, MD

Play N’ Learn is a hidden gem in Columbia, Maryland.  Designed as a showroom for outdoor play equipment, Play N’ Learn has roughly 10 different wooden pieces of play equipment with slides, rock climbs, cargo nets, platforms, different types of swings, and playhouse areas. They also have a basketball court area with 5 hoops, 2 air hockey tables, 2 trampolines, and a pool table in the corner.

If you go to see the equipment in order to purchase a piece, there is no charge and they will talk with you about the different options available. However, if you just want a nice, clean, air conditioned place to let your kids run and play for a few hours, they charge 6 dollars per child for 2 hours of play. The owner is very kind and friendly, and he was very happy to chat about the different equipment available. We also found that it wasn’t overly crowded like other places in the area. They also do birthday parties.

$6.00 for two hours of play during weekdays
$8.00 on weekends

Monday 10-6
Tuesday 10-6
Wednesday 10-6
Thursday 10-6
Friday 10-6
Saturday 10-5
Sunday 11-4

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Six Flags America, Largo, MD

More Flags, More Fun!!!!! Six Flags America is a fun theme park that is just a stone’s throw from the DC/Metro area in Largo, Maryland. There are a wide variety of different attractions for children starting at around 5 years of age and up. The park is broken up into many areas including Looney Tunes Movie town, Whistlestop Park, Hurricane Harbor (water park part open during warmer months), Gothem City, Southwest territory and more! For the older kids, they have a range of roller coasters such as The mind eraser, The Jokers Jinx, Superman, Batwing, and others which fluctuate in intensity and offer different types of thrills. They also have fun water rides such as ZoomAzon Falls and The Halfpipe. For younger kids, the rides include typical attractions such as tea cups, a flying swing, Flight school (little planes), a playground, Buccaneer Beach(water pools), a train parade and more. There are many arcades and carnival type games scattered throughout the park and a variety of food stands as well. Don’t expect to bring in anything other than water to the park as they want you to buy food from them. I believe you can leave your food in your car and they will stamp your arm to let you out to eat and then come back in. Overall, this is a really nice park for a wide variety of ages. Keep an eye out for discount coupons which can usually be found online or at places like supermarkets and local convenience stores like CVS. 

 • General Admission $56.99
 • Junior Under 48" $36.99 
 • 2 & Under FREE 

Buy online and save $20. 
Print your tickets at home and go straight to the gate. 

Hours: Hours vary but during the summer the hours are roughly 10:30am-8:00pm. 

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Friday, February 17, 2012

American Visionary Arts Museum, Baltimore, MD

Cooky! Bizarre! Fun!Extraordinary! These are just a few of the words that describe this museum (disguised as a fun house). Located in downtown Balitmore, the AVAM is the best starter museum for children in the DC/MD/VA region. All of the artists whose work is displayed in this museum have no formal art training and use a wide array of different mediums to create their works of art. Their out of the box thinking allows children to expand their thinking about the age old question, "What is art?". Pictures are not allowed to be taken in the museum but may be taken in the sculpture gallery as seen above. 

When we went to visit, they had fascinating exhibits in both the permanent and temporary collections which included, small hand made machines of every day chores, a sculpture of the city of San Fransisco made out of over 100,000 toothpicks (took over 35 years to make), and a sculpture of a man made out of phone wire.  Other artists had created faces carved out of common styrofoam cups and a fantastic 3D art exhibit (they provide glasses) as well. 

The museum is broken up into three buildings and a sculpture garden. The main building has 3 floors of fantastically wacky art, and one of the best and most affordable gift shops that I have ever seen. In the next building is a life sized metal chess set that kids can actually play a game of chess on (ala Harry Potter). Between the first and third building is also a small sculpture garden and a nice large hill area to bring a picnic. In the third building is bunch of small and large mechanical machines that can move with the push of a button. This facility also contains an art studio for artists to rent space and also an art camp that they run in the summer. 

I highly recommend this museum and we hope to go back there soon. The AVAM is perfect for kids starting as young as 7 and is intriguing for adults as well. Please visit their website to see pictures of art on display in their facilities.

Adults: $15.95
Student/Child: $9.95
Children 6 and under are Free
Membership is available

10:00am - 6:00pm, Tuesday - Sunday (Closed Mondays*)

Book Recommendations before going to an Art Museum
Beautiful Oops! (Barney Saltzberg)
Jack in search of Art (Arlene Boehm)
Ella's Trip to the Museum (Elaine Clayton)
Babar's Museum of Art (Laurent De Brunhoff)

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Great Falls, MD/VA

Great Falls can be accessed on both the Maryland side and the Virginia side. We visited the falls on the Maryland side (officially called the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal) and had a great time. This was a family-friendly outing, and we were fortunate to have good weather.

It costs $5 for a private vehicle, regardless of the number of people in the car, and parking is plentiful. There is a small snack bar that offers cold drinks and some ice cream treats and some water fountains to refill water bottles (there are also restroom facilities on-site). The visitor’s center features a museum about the history of the canal, and all of the rangers of the park are incredibly knowledgeable and ready to help.

The best part about this park is probably how stroller friendly it is as we were able to keep our toddler in his stroller while we walked on the paths. The park is mostly centered on the canal and offers miles of trails up and down the canal. There is also a path (about 1 mile) that leads to a falls overlook (also stroller-friendly). There are plenty of other hikes in the area for those looking for a bit more of a challenge.

The visitor center also sells tickets for the canal boat which costs $8.00 for adults (ages 15-61), $6.00 for seniors (ages 62 and over), and $5.00 for children (ages 4-14). Children aged three and under ride free. The boat rides were closed for the season so we were unable to take advantage of this opportunity. 

 This park was full of kayakers, runners, families, rock climbers, and others and made for a wonderful Sunday outing.
To return to the Family Fun in MD and Beyond website and find more great kids adventures, click here