Although it may have felt like spring for a little while, now it's officially here! After being cooped up inside all winter, spring is the perfect time to get outside for some fun and adventure. Fortunately for Marylanders, this is a state where you can spend a lot of time exploring and discovering. The state has some amazing places to visit, both near and far. So, if you're up for a springtime road trip, pack up the family and check out 10 of my favorite places in the state.
Mitchell's Golf Complex — If you're looking for something local to do that's also inexpensive, Mitchell's is the perfect choice. It's great for families and has three separate miniature golf courses that are geared toward age and ability. There are also picnic benches available so that you can enjoy an ice cream after a fun round of mini golf right here in Reisterstown.
Ladew Topiary Gardens — Ladew is a beautifully maintained botanical garden in Monkton. At Ladew, you will find tons of interesting topiaries and more than 15 separate garden sections that display thousands of different plants. Along with the gardens, they give house tours of the historic mansion and lead nature walks. This is the perfect place for an afternoon walk with the family or even a family photo shoot.
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore — The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore houses more than 1,500 animals including birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The Maryland Zoo has been in existence in Druid Hill Park since 1876, making one of the oldest zoological parks in the United States. The zoo is located in a gorgeous section of the park. Plan to spend the entire day, as the zoo has a great variety of exhibits to explore.
Assateague Island — If you've ever been to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, your most likely familiar with Assateague Island. Assateague is a 37-mile-long island located off the eastern coasts of Maryland and Virginia. It is best known for its herds of wild ponies and its pristine beaches. There are also walking/biking trails that wind through marshland, dunes and pine forest, in addition to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the operational 19th-century Assateague Lighthouse. Spend the entire day (or an entire weekend) and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the state.
Clark's Elioak Farm — Clark's Elioak Farm is located off of Route 108 in Columbia. Clark's Farm is a historic farm covering 540 acres. In recent years, the farm has become a petting zoo. And for those of us who remember the Enchanted Forest theme park, it's a great place to reminisce since the farm has become a place for restoration of the former Enchanted Forest. In addition to the petting zoo and Enchanted Forest exhibits, activities for visitors include hayrides, pony rides, playground and play areas, a picnic area and educational tours.
National Aquarium — Journey from the depths of your couch to the depths of the ocean and beyond at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Located in the heart of the Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium features thousands of animals, in addition to marine-life exhibits, a dolphin show and a walk-through rain forest. And for Shark Week lovers in the house, they will love the shark tanks and exhibits.
Walters Art Museum — The Walters Art Museum is one of my favorite places in the city. Located in the historic Mount Vernon district of Baltimore, the Walters is a public art museum that was opened in 1934 and holds both antique and ancient artifacts and artwork. The museum is free.
Adventure Park at Sandy Spring — The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring boasts that it is the largest man-made outdoor climbing park in the world and the largest aerial climbing course in the U.S. The Sandy Spring park has 13 trails, which are color-coded, with purple (the easiest) being a 12- to 20-foot-high course and double black diamond (the most difficult) being about 65 feet in the air. It combines zip lining with bridges and trails for an exhilarating family adventure.
Watkins Regional Park — At Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro not only can your family explore beautiful nature, they can also play at a Wizard of Oz-themed playground or ride an antique carousel. The hard part won't be getting there, but getting the kids to leave.
Irvine Nature Center — Irvine Nature Center, located in Owings Mills, includes a green exhibit hall, indoor classrooms, an outdoor classroom, amphitheater and trails. Irvine's educational programs are great for young and old learners alike. Spend time learning at the nature center or take the family out on the trails for a great hike.
Enjoy the wonderful weather that the spring season has to offer and get out with the family to make long-lasting memories!
Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.