3 ways to get the kids outdoors in Harford County this spring

For Harford Magazine

Take advantage of this month’s traditionally gorgeous weather by heading outside with the family. From getting down and dirty in the garden to history, horses and pirates, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of spring in Harford County.

1. Garden gets

Creating a garden can be a family-friendly affair; after all, kids love to dig in the dirt.

On Saturday, May 21, the Havre de Grace Garden Mart, held at the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, makes it easy to get your garden started and get the kids excited about helping. It includes plenty of plants and lawn and garden accessories to purchase, as well as nature-inspired craft vendors. Browsing is inspirational, practical — parents can pick up what they need for their home gardens — and educational.

“Kids can learn about native plants and perennials and annuals,” says the event’s co-chair, Cynthia Leffler.

It’s also fun for the little ones, who can wander the outdoor market and even build their own bat boxes to take home.

Havre de Grace Garden Mart
May 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, 100 Lafayette Street, Havre de Grace.
410-939-4800 or hdgmaritimemuseum.org

2. Jousting at Jerusalem Mill

Get up close and personal with Maryland’s state sport during May and June, when the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association hosts events at Jerusalem Mill Village. The sport is entertaining and offers a glimpse at history.

“Jousting has been run in Maryland since the founding of the colony,” says the association’s president, Randall McGill. “There are tournaments that have been run for a consecutive 150 years.”

When not watching the horses, families can explore historic Jerusalem Mill Village.

Originally established in 1772, the Quaker village, which is located inside Gunpowder Falls State Park, has been preserved and now operates as a living history site.

Jousting tournaments
May 27 at 10 a.m.; June 10 at 11 a.m.; June 24 at 11 a.m.
Historic Jerusalem Mill Village, 2813 Jerusalem Mill Road, Kingsville
marylandjousting.com or jerusalemmill.org

3. Pirate’s life for us

Pirate Fest, which comes to the Susquehanna Museum the second weekend in June, is no Disney-fied pirate experience.

“We have authentic pirates that spend the night,” says Susquehanna Museum director Tyler Buck. “We have a real pirate encampment on the grounds, where they cook meals and fire real cannons — fake bullets, real cannons.”

Visitors can mingle with re-enactors, chatting them up and asking questions about their lives as pirates. “It’s a really neat opportunity for kids,” says Buck.

In addition to the entertainment provided by the re-enactors, Pirate Fest includes food and craft vendors, activities like face-painting and scavenger hunts, and a few non-pirate attractions, including the IronBirds mascot. The weekend also includes a 5K race and a pub crawl for adults.

Pirate Fest Weekend
10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 10, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 11.
Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House, 817 Conesteo St., Havre de Grace
$5 for adults, free for children.
410-939-5780 or thelockhousemuseum.org

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