3 things to do with the kids in Howard County this summer

For Howard Magazine

With three months of summer vacation on the horizon, you’re not alone if you’re looking for ways to keep the kids occupied. From ropes courses to reading challenges, June is rife with opportunities to get out of the house.

1. Go adventuring

Thrill-seeking families will stay entertained at Terrapin Adventures in Savage, where zipping through the forest at 20 miles per hour, free-falling from a platform 40 feet in the air and taking on ropes courses are everyday business.

“We’ve designed Terrapin Adventures to be family-friendly — we go from ages 5 to 85,” says Chief Adventure Officer Matt Baker.

The Terrapin Explorer course is geared toward kids ages 5 to 9, with a rope course, mini-zip lines and a 20-foot-high rock wall. Older children and adults can try out a high ropes course and a giant pendulum swing.

Adventure tours are guided, so families do not necessarily have to stick together.

“Oftentimes, parents have kids who are older and younger. We can do both at the same time on different parts of the course without parents having to worry about being split,” says Baker.

Terrapin Adventures, Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage. Packages cost $15-$75. 301-725-1313. terrapinadventures.com.

2. Hit the books

Enjoy the great outdoors and the world of literature during Books in Bloom, a daylong festival at Merriweather Park.

The event will include panel discussions, readings, a poetry wall and a pop-up bookstore run by Politics & Prose, as well as several kid-centric events, like crafts, a stage featuring children’s authors, a story time corner and a “Feminism in YA” panel.

Though the event is just one afternoon, it kicks off a summer-long reading program, Summer @ Your Library. The program, organized by the Howard County Library system, promotes reading all summer long by tying it to virtual badges and fun prizes.

Books in Bloom, June 11, 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Free. downtowncolumbiamd.com/books-in-bloom.

3. Cast a line

You don’t have to head out of town to spend family time on the water this month. Ellicott City’s 54-acre Centennial Lake offers plenty of boating and fishing opportunities.

“Centennial Lake is one of our most popular lakes,” says Adam Eshleman, a fisheries biologist with Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. “It’s got a great mix of different species of fish — sunfish, crappie, a good bass population. We also stock it every spring and fall with rainbow trout to provide extra angler opportunity for everyone.”

Before you go, jump online to review the most up-to-date fishing and boating regulations and to procure fishing licenses, which are necessary for adults.

Take advantage of the boat ramp to bring your own vessel (it must be 16 feet or smaller, electric motors only) or rent a rowboat or canoe. Throw a line in the water, and wait for a nibble.

Centennial Park, 10000 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City. Boats permits are $5 a day or $35 for the season. Boat rentals range from $10 per hour to $60 per day. dnr2.maryland.gov.

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