Even with a free ticket for my son while my daughter stayed home with Mom, last year's Six Flags expedition cost me more than $100 for bad park food plus innertube and locker rentals. Huge fun, but too hefty a price. This year, we saved a bundle at Adventure Park USA, off I-70 near Frederick. For the 10 and under set, this place is heaven. It felt safe enough to let my 8-year-old son wander outside with his buddies, choosing among mini-golf, spinning teacups and water-squirting bumper boats. Inside, my kids loved laser tag, but my 5-year-old daughter found the rope course too scary -- it was 10 feet off the ground. Choosing from a limited menu, the three of us lunched for $20. Friends brown-bagged it that day, and nobody objected. Save on admission by clicking on "specials" at Adventure Park's website. A three-hour pass costs less, too, and it gets you home by dinner.
Matt Roth, Patuxent Publishing