With easy access to jobs in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., not to mention standout schools that rank among the top in the state, it’s no surprise that Howard County is a magnet for families. But the demands on today’s families often mean free time is at a premium. Luckily, Howard County has plenty of opportunities for family fun seven days a week. From indoor rock climbing and miniature golf to laser tag and pumpkin patches, there’s always something fun nearby for parents and children. For more ideas and a monthly calendar of family-friendly events, visit Maryland Family magazine at www.marylandfamilymagazine.com.


Why let the kids bounce off the walls at home when they can do it at one of these indoor fun facilities?

> Jump Zone Party Play Center, 7175 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, 410-309-5966

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> Pump It Up - The Inflatable Party Zone, 7184 Troy Hill Drive, Suite H, Elkridge, 410-579-1122

> Earth Treks Climbing Centers, 7125 C Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, 410-872-0060. Featuring 15,000 feet of climbing surfaces, 44-foot-high walls, and classes and events for all ages.

> Brunswick Columbia Lanes, 7100 Carved Stone Lane, Columbia, 410-381-7750

> Brunswick Zone, Normandy, 8419 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 410-465-0355. Each site has 32 lanes of bowling fun.

> Monster Mini Golf, 7351 Assateague Drive, Suite 380, Jessup, 410-579-4653. This monster-themed, 18-hole miniature golf center boasts glow-in-the-dark animated props, a DJ, arcade and event rooms.

> Lifetime Fitness, 7220 Lee DeForest Drive, Columbia, 410-953-0022. This fitness club opens kids’ classes to nonmembers as well, so toddlers to teens can take advantage of classes in climbing to cheerleading and karate to hip-hop dance.

> Great Kids Village, 6570 Dobbin Road, Columbia, 410-497-7529. Kids can drive a fire engine, shop in a child-size grocery store, paint or explore tunnels and slides at this 24,000-square-foot indoor play center.      

> The Reaper’s Den, 8919 McGaw Court, Suite 5, Columbia, 410-381-4571. This indoor sports training center includes batting cages and turfed indoor fields, and also hosts parties.

> ShadowLand Laser Adventures, 9179 Red Branch Road, Columbia, 410-740-9100. Up to 30 players of all ages don high-tech suits and hand sets in this 6,000-square-foot, two-level arena filled with mazes and turrets to battle it out with lasers. Special effects, astral music and fog add to the ambience.

> Dancel Family Center Y in Ellicott City, 4331 Montgomery Road, Ellicott City, 410-465-4334. All the exercise classes, swimming and special activities you expect from a community Y facility.


The Columbia Association maintains a number of facilities for members and nonmembers including:

> 23 outdoor pools and 2 mini water parks,  410-312-6332

> Columbia Athletic Club & Indoor Tennis, 410-730-6744

> Supreme Sports Club, 410-381-5355

> The Columbia Gym, 410-531-0800