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.
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 premier 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
501 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202
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.
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
116 Waterfront St
National Harbor, MD 20745
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
250 Adventure Sports Way
McHenry, MD 21541
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
30th St and Coastal Hwy
Ocean City, MD 21842
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
1876 Mansion House Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21217
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
11113 West Baldwin Rd
Monrovia, MD 21770
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.
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
35 Market Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
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
13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd
Thurmont, MD 21788
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
History & Heritage
14200 Solomons Island Rd
Solomons, MD 20688
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 (also in National Harbor) or Pirate Adventures in Annapolis for a rollicking good time. Just leave the landlubbers on shore.
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
8800 Greenbelt Rd
Greenbelt, MD 20771
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
7206 National Seashore Ln
Berlin, MD 21811
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
10500 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042
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
601 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
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.
More about Six Flags America
13710 Central Ave
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
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!
Arts & Culture
Light Street Pavilion
Baltimore, MD 21202
19 Ride the legendary Mountain Coaster at Wisp in McHenry
With 1,500 feet of upward track and a mind-boggling 3,500 feet back down, the Mountain Coaster, open year round, is too cool to miss.
More about Wisp Resort
296 Marsh Hill Rd
McHenry, MD 21541
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
1416 Telegraph Rd
Rising Sun, MD 21911