Family Fun in and Around Baltimore
Sure, the kiddos do something special for you on Father’s Day, but what about the 51 other weekends of the year? Lucky for you and your children, there are tons of choices for family fun in and around Baltimore. We’ve curated a few out-of-the-ordinary options guaranteed to create memories and lots of smiles (including yours when you proudly fill your “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug at the office).
No doubt, catching an Orioles game during Oriole Park at Camden Yards’ Silver Anniversary season should be tops on your list this summer. But why not check out a Frederick Keys minor league baseball game where Manny Machado earned his chops? Keys’ games in nearby Frederick are tailor-made for families. First off, parking is free. (Yes, you read that right. Free.) There are plenty of seats in the Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, but if you’d rather your little sluggers not hear the kind of language that is often the by-product of beer and late innings, opt for the non-alcoholic family section. Many players sign autographs before and after the games at the home clubhouse entrance, so bring a baseball and Sharpie. If your son or daughter (12 and under) wears his or her baseball uniform, they are admitted for free to any Sunday through Thursday regular season home game (you will need to purchase a regularly priced adult ticket). Make sure your kids wear athletic shoes so they can run the bases, a Keys’ tradition for kids (also 12 and under) after every home game. There are Artists’ Fireworks throughout the season, which means music from a famous artist—Bowie, Prince, Blake Shelton, 90’s boy bands, Taylor Swift, Ole Blue Eyes, etc.—accompanies the fireworks. And don’t miss the stadium’s Fun Zone with rides, games, and more. A trip to a Keys game will make you love the O’s even more, knowing just how cool the road to Birdland is. Frederickkeys.com, Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, 21 Stadium Drive, Frederick, MD.
What kid doesn’t love a treasure hunt? Throw in a chance to be in command of your smartphone and you’re a shoo-in for “Father of the Year.” Geo-caching combines the thrill of the hunt with digital tools while soaking in the great outdoors. (Your kids might be confused at first: they can play on screens and be outdoors at the same time. Huh?) Download the free app at Geocaching.com, type in a location near you, and follow the digital trail to the cache (a hidden container with a log and typically small “treasure”—stickers, plastic animals, etc.). The app leads you to within a few feet of the treasure, then the traditional hide-and-seek skills kick in as you physically hunt for the container. Once found, leave your name—can just be the Smith Family or whatever, log it digitally on the app, enjoy the treasure, and leave something for the next geo-cacher. There are fun geo-caches at Cromwell Valley Park, Lake Roland Park, Hampton Historic National Park, etc. Be aware, though: it’s addictive.
Take your family’s movie-viewing experience to the red-carpet level with the revival series at the Senator Theater, Baltimore’s historic Art Deco movie theater named one of the top 20 movie theaters in the world in 2014. Introduce your budding cinephile to classic movies, Hitchcock thrillers, Bond flicks, and family favorites on the big screen (main theater) with this cool series. Most of the weekly screenings aren’t exactly school-day friendly—typically the films screen on Monday and Tuesday matinees and Wednesdays at 8 p.m.—but the Sunday morning screening makes this an unexpected outing that will exceed all expectations. Popcorn and Junior Mints for breakfast—what’s not to love? Cap off your cinematic outing with lunch/brunch afterwards with build-your-own burgers at the adjacent Clark Burger or cookie dough pancakes at Belvedere Square’s Starlite Diner. For listings, TheSenatorTheatre.com.
Flying with the family is rarely the best part of a journey, but make Indoor skydiving at iFLY the destination, and the sky’s the limit. The state-of-the-art flight center at White Marsh is a pure thrills, no-chills adventure—no plane or parachute required, so it’s safe. Jumpers age 3 and up receive flight training, suit up (helmet, goggles, and flight suit), and then it’s into the flight chamber to soar with an instructor. Flyers fly individually, leaving you lots of time to video. Prepare to blow up your Facebook feed with the results. iFlyWorld.com.
Is driving the family minivan slowly sucking your soul dry? Do your backseat drivers think they know the best way to merge onto the Beltway? Give them and you a much-needed chance to let loose, put the pedal to the metal, and tear up the track at the Autobahn Indoor Speedway in White Marsh and Jessup. This indoor go-kart track is fast, furious and family-friendly (for ages eight and above). Up to ten racers can speed around the Grand Prix-style track at the same time—no speed limit—in state-of-the-art, F1-inspired electric karts with responsive steering and safety features (helmets and four-point safety harnesses, just like the pros). Consider a few laps around the track as research: watching your young racers may give you an idea of what you’ll need to hammer home when it’s time for driver’s ed. AutobahnSpeed.com.
Do you have a favorite spot you and your family love to visit in the Baltimore region? Share it with Towson Lifestyle readers at TowsonLifestyle.com. If we publish it, we’ll share some swag with you.