A perfect time to explore the Annapolis area waters and historic sites

This just might be the best time of the year to be in Annapolis. The weather is mild, flowers are in bloom, the State Legislature session is over – making it easier to find a parking spot downtown, and the tourist season does not begin in earnest for at least a month.

So, while it's still a little quiet, consider a cruise. Step aboard the Harbor Queen to experience a narrated, 40-minute cruise of historic Annapolis and the banks of the U.S. Naval Academy. Enjoy the water view of Maryland's capital and catch a glimpse of the Chesapeake Bay Bridges. Cruises run on the hour, weather dependent. Starting at 11 a.m. daily at Annapolis City Dock, 1 Dock Street, at the far end of Ego Alley in downtown Annapolis. Pricing is $17 for adults, $6 for children ages 3 to 11, and free for those 2 and under. Call 410-268-7600.


Take a free tour of the Maryland State House – it's very quiet right now. The State House is open to the public daily day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Christmas and New Year's Day. To help make your visit to the Maryland State House more enjoyable, and to provide you with an understanding of its rich and historic past, self-guided tour information is available in the Office of Interpretation on the first floor or at .

The Maryland State House was the first peacetime capitol of the United States and is the only state house ever to have served as the nation's capitol. The U.S. Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber from November 26, 1783, to August 13, 1784. During that time, General George Washington came before Congress to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, marking the official end of the Revolutionary War. In May 1784, Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson minister to France, the first diplomatic appointment by the new nation.

The State House is a treasure trove of four centuries of Maryland and early American history.

Ever thought about being an archaeologist, like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) for its Saturday Archaeology Dig Day on April 21 at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Come learn about SERC's environmental archaeology program and help its archaeologists excavate their current site. Be an archaeologist for a day as you dig and sieve sediments in search of artifacts, and participate in real, ongoing archaeological research. SERC is located at 647 Contees Wharf Road, off Muddy Creek Road, in Edgewater. Call 443-482-2271 for details.

In Annapolis, amble over to the Chesapeake Children's Museum for its Creek Critters program. Investigate CCM's nature trail for the wildlife living in the woodlands and creek surrounding the museum. Share stories, songs, games, and crafts. This event is open to all ages, starting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, at the museum, 25 Silopanna Road, Annapolis. The program is free with museum admission. Call 410-990-1993 or visit

Tennis anyone? There are free Healthy Anne Arundel Month Family Tennis Clinics being offered in two locations this month. At 2:30 p.m. Saturday and April 21, a clinic is being held at Waterbury Recreation Area, 1251 Sunrise Beach Road, Crownsville. Another series is 2:30 p.m. Sunday and April 22 at Arundel Middle School, 1179 Hammond Lane, Odenton. Call 443-924-6263 or visit

As part of Healthy Anne Arundel Month, Spring Into Health Expo is being held starting at 10 a.m. April 21 at Marley Station Mall, 7900 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie. This indoor and outdoor event offers something for every age and every interest and engages, entertains, educates and empowers families to take actions and make choices to be more healthy. You will also be able to connect with community resources to help you and your family members reach your health and wellness goals. Call 410-222-3501 or visit .

Still more health-oriented activities are taking place 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 21 at The Y in Central Maryland during its annual Healthy Kids Day sponsored by McCormick Flavor for Life. Fun games and activities that get you moving, like a bounce house, obstacle course, face painting, sports stations, make and take, healthy snacks, games, crafts and more. The Y in Central Maryland is located at 1209 Ritchie Highway, Arnold. Call 410-544-2525 for details.

Aquafina $2 Family Fun Nights are being launched at Port Discovery Children's Museum, 35 Market Place, Baltimore. Enjoy three floors of interactive exhibits along with fun and engaging programs for just $2 per person from 4 to 8 p.m. April 20. Also take part in drop-in programming including Port Discovery's interactive Circle Time featuring stories and songs, visit the SPCA and more. This is also a great chance to explore the temporary Native Voices: New England Tribal Families exhibit on display at the museum. Tickets must be purchased in person for this event. Call 410-727-8120 or visit