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Day trips: Have a rockin, rallying and rousing Fourth of July

By Kate Godwin, The Baltimore Sun

12:58 PM EDT, July 3, 2012

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Washington

Mini-golf in the National Building Museum

Grab your putter and tee off in a one-of-a-kind miniature-golfing experience at Washington's National Building Museum. Challenge your friends and family to a round on one of several courses designed by some of the region's top architects, construction firms and urban planners. Indoor, air-conditioned courses mean that you and your friends will be beating the heat while you play.

Course opens Wednesday and is open during museum hours through Labor Day. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Courses will be open until 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, and Thursday, Aug. 23. Admission is $5 per round per person, National Building Museum members play for $3. For more information, call 202-272-2448 or visit nbm.org.

Independence Day Parade & Fireworks

What better place to celebrate Independence Day than the nation's capital? Join thousands of spectators on the National Mall for a day of parades, concerts and a fireworks display over the Reflecting Pool. The Independence Day Parade begins at 11:45 a.m., and will march through some of the most beautiful streets in historic Washington. Visitors can enjoy patriotic performances by the Army Blues Jazz Ensemble and Steppin' Out Live, then share oohs and aahs during the 9 p.m. fireworks finale.

Admission to the National Mall is free. Parade route follows Constitution Avenue N.W. from Seventh to 17th streets. Parade begins at 11:45 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Concert begins at 6 p.m. and is followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. Visit nps.gov for more information.

Philadelphia

Party on the Parkway

Things are getting loud in Philadelphia at the annual Fourth of July Party on the Parkway, where hip hop/soul band the Roots will perform with special guests Queen Latifah, Joe Jonas, Common and Daryl Hall. After the concert, watch as the Philadelphia skyline lights up with a fireworks display.

Admission is free. Concert begins at 7 p.m. on Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 18th and 23rd streets. Fireworks begin at 10:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Call 215-683-2200 or go to visitphilly.com for more information and viewing locations.

Atlantic City, N.J.

'Let it Rock'

Treat your senses to a stunning display of lights and sounds at Atlantic City's free fireworks display, concert and light show Wednesday. The event includes fireworks and music along the boardwalk and beach, followed by a free concert at Kennedy Plaza by rap-rock superstar Kevin Rudolph, whose songs inspired the celebration's title. After the performance, the Atlantic City Alliance is scheduled to debut "Duality," a permanent sound and light show engineered by Moment Factory, the entertainment studio famous for its work with Cirque du Soleil, Jay-Z, Disney and Madonna.

Admission to all events is free. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. along the Atlantic City boardwalk; concert at Kennedy Plaza begins at 10 p.m. "Duality" debuts at 10:20 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall. For more information, go to atlanticcityny.com

Ocean City

Fourth of July at the beach

Enjoy a free concert and fireworks display with your toes in the sand at one of two locations for Ocean City's Annual Fourth of July celebration. At Northside Park, the U.S. Army Band's Downrage will perform at 8 p.m., followed by a fireworks display at 9:30. Alternatively, visitors can pull up a beach chair at the boardwalk for a concert by the 78th United States Army Band and fireworks over the ocean.

Northside Park location is at 125th Street and the bay; boardwalk event is at North Division Street. Band performances start at 8 p.m., fireworks begin at 9:30. Limited parking is available. Bus service is $3 for a day pass or $1 per boarding. For more information, call 800-626-2326 or visit ococean.com.

Lexington, Va.

Balloon rally and celebration

Lift off for a balloon ride at the 16th Annual Balloon Rally & Fourth of July Celebration in Lexington, Va. From Tuesday through Thursday, visitors can take piloted balloon rides over the Virginia Military Institute parade ground and enjoy live musical performances, a barbecue dinner, children's activities, antique appraisals, a classic car show and more. A fireworks display begins at about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Admission is free. Piloted balloon rides require reservation and purchase, and are offered mornings (6:30 a.m. launch) and evenings (6:30 p.m. launch) on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as Thursday morning. Tethered balloon rides will be available at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and do not require reservations. Call 540-461-0402 for more information.