Tired of watching the kids play video games? There are dozens of places in Howard County to take children — indoors and out, during the pandemic — for fun, exercise and, yes, even learning experiences. Here are 30 venues to check out in 2021.
Indoor Adventure and play
Autobahn Indoor Speedway
Enjoy indoor electric go-karting in Jessup.
8251 Preston Court, Jessup, 410-880-0010. autobahnspeed.com
The “escape room” craze hits Howard County. Test your mettle in live-action entertainment.
8661 Robert Fulton Drive, Columbia, 443-832-6980. breakoutgames.com
Columbia bowling center holds parties for children age 4-12.
7100 Carved Stone, Columbia, 410-381-7750. bowlero.com
Children ages 7 to 14 learn to code, also known as computer programming, while building games during weekday sessions and day camps.
5725 Richards Valley Road, Suite A3, Ellicott City, 410-680-2633. codeninjas.com
Dancel Y in Ellicott City
Yoga, zumba and cardio classes for kids, plus swimming, soccer, lacrosse and rock wall climbing.
7100 Carved Stone, Columbia, 410-465-4334. ymaryland.org
Drama Learning Center
The center provides theater classes and camps for children of all ages at its Columbia headquarters, as well as at local schools.
9130 Red Branch Road, suite I, Columbia, 410-849-6335. dramalearningcenter.com
Earth Treks Climbing and Fitness Center
This Columbia climbing center offers open-climb sessions with a range of rock walls, as well as climbing lessons for children ages 6 and up.
7125 Columbia Gateway Drive, #110, Columbia, 410-872-0060. earthtreksclimbing.com
This indoor playground keeps preschoolers busy while parents relax with coffee in massage chairs.
5405 Twin Knolls Road, #3, Columbia, 443-542-9655. everkidsplayhouse.com
Goldfish Swim School
With its 90-degree pool, Goldfish provides year-round swim instruction for children 4 months to 12 years old, as well as family swim times.
9315 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, 410-421-7185. goldfishswimschool.com/columbia
Launch Trampoline Park
This 30,000-square-foot center has wall-to-wall trampolines where kids and adults can bounce while playing everything from basketball to dodge ball.
9315 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, 443-319-5494. launchtrampolinepark.com/columbia
Monster Mini Golf
Jessup site offers mini golf, an arcade and virtual reality attraction.
7351 Assateague Drive, Suite 380, Jessup, 410-579-4653. monsterminigolf.com/columbia
This 25,000-square-foot “American Ninja Warrior”-inspired obstacle racing center includes a trampoline, dodgeball court, climbing walls and mechanical bulls, as well as classes for children as young as 3.
9301 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, 443-600-9550, ninjabe.com
ShadowLand Laser Adventures
Play laser tag, glow golf or enjoy the 3,000-square-foot arcade at this Columbia venue.
9179 Red Branch Road, Columbia, 410-740-9100. shadowlandadventures.com/columbia
Soccer Dome in Jessup offers soccer skills lessons to children ages 3 to 11, as well as summer camps.
7330 Montevideo Road, Jessup, 443-755-0014. soccerdome.com
Open every weekend through May, this newly renovated Columbia Association facility is home to water slides (riders must be at least 4 feet tall) and a rope swing. Within the same facility, recreational swimming is also available.
10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia, 410-730-7000. columbiaassociation
Outdoor Adventure and play
Howard County Conservancy
With two county locations (Woodstock and Elkridge), the conservancy offers a range of outdoor education programs and events for children of all ages.
10520 Old Frederick Road, Woodstock, 410-465-8877. howardnature.org
Robinson Nature Center
The nature center is home to a range of educational programs, a planetarium, an interactive nature discovery room and exhibits highlighting the Chesapeake Bay watershed and local forest animals, as well as several outdoor walking trails.
6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, 410-313-0400. howardcountymd.gov/robinson
From zipline rides and rock climbing to a multi-level ropes course, Terrapin Adventures in Savage provides aerial outdoor adventures for ages 5 and up.
8600 Foundry St., #50, Savage, 301-725-1313. terrapinadventures.com
Arts and crafts
Burning Down the House
In addition to offering paint-your-own-pottery, this do-it-yourself fired arts studio in Fulton offers special events like canvas painting and movie nights with movie-themed pottery.
11821 Scaggsville Road, Fulton, 301-317-9936. bdthpottery.com
The Pottery Stop
The paint-your-own pottery shop offers walk-in painting, special classes and camps for children, and a snack and coffee bar.
9050 Baltimore National Pike, #109, Ellicott City, 410-480-0111. thepotterystop.com
Museums and history
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station
The museum, billed as the oldest surviving railroad station in America, includes a replica of the first horse-drawn passenger rail car, a 1927 caboose, model railroads and displays highlighting small-town railroad life.
3711 Maryland Ave, Ellicott City, 410-313-1945. borail.org/ellicott-city-station.aspx
Ellicott City Colored School, Restored
The school, which opened in 1880 to provide an educational space for Black children, is now a genealogical resource center and museum highlighting the history of African Americans in Howard County.
8683 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, 410-313-0420. visitoldellicottcity.com
Howard County Historical Society Museum
The museum tells the story of Howard County’s history through collections and exhibits highlighting everything from the Ellicott family and the Patapsco Female Institute to Native American tools and the Enchanted Forest.
8328 Court Ave., Ellicott City, 410-480-3250. hchsmd.org/museum
Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum
Dedicated to preserving Howard County’s agricultural history, the museum in West Friendship includes farm sheds, historic farm equipment, a blacksmith shop and six miles of nature trails.
12985 MD-144, West Friendship 410-489-2345. farmheritage.org
Howard County Police Museum
Honoring the men and women of the Howard County Police Department, the museum in Ellicott City includes exhibits on vintage police uniforms, antique weapons and fallen heroes.
8267 Main St., Ellicott City, 410-313-1447. hcpdmuseum.com
Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum
The Jessup museum showcases more than 65 vintage and classic BMW motorcycles and sidecars, as well as motorcycle memorabilia and art.
10630 Riggs Hill Road, Suite Y, Jessup, MD, (301) 497-8949. bobsbmw.com
Breezy Hill Alpaca Farm
Call to schedule a one-hour interactive visit with the Woodbine farm’s alpacas, goats, sheep, rabbits and chickens, and learn how the farm processes wool.
2820 Woodbine Road, Woodbine, 410-489-5802. bhalpaca.com
Clark’s Elioak Farm
In addition to housing the former Enchanted Forest attractions, the farm has a “petting farm,” with pigs, emus, donkeys and goats, play areas and special events for children.
Howard County Times: Top stories
10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, 410-730-4049. clarklandfarm.com
The Woodbine farm is home to a variety of pick-your-own fruit, vegetable and flower fields, as well as fall activities like hay rides and straw mazes.
2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine, 410-442-2605. pickyourown.com
Sharp’s at Waterford Farm
Along with special seasonal events and open houses, the farm hosts educational farm tours covering everything from worms and birds to farm life and gardening.
4003 Jennings Chapel Road, Brookeville, 410-489-2572. sharpfarm.com