It’s that time again — when school ends for the year and kids cheer and parents groan (just a little, because, you know, we really love our kids). If you’re looking for some great ideas for day trips with your little cherubs — the kind of daytrips that will keep their imaginations active and expand their horizons, maybe even educate them a little without their even realizing it — then consider the daytrips on this list.
These are the Mid-Atlantic Day Trips Blog’s Top Nine Day Trips for Kids for Summer 2016!
9. Mercer Museum –Doylestown, PA
Where do I start with the Mercer Museum? First of all, it’s in a castle. A CASTLE! Then, there’s all this cool stuff just stuffed into the castle. Whale boats. Carriages (not one but at least three). Wooden Indians. And stuff that used to be familiar to boys and girls, and families, who lived 100 years ago. Today, all this stuff is just oddly foreign to us, but still really cool. You walk around the castle at your own pace, enjoying it, learning about what interests you and your kids, and moving on past the stuff that doesn’t. You can’t absorb it all — I recommend just going and looking and enjoying. Nearby Doylestown offers some great restaurants that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner.
8. Calvert Cliffs State Park — Maryland
Instead of going to a museum to look at fossils someone’s already found — instead go look for fossils on the Chesapeake Bay! Slip in a little hike, and at the end of the hike, wade and float on the Bay after looking for fossilized sharks teeth — yep, that sounds like an all around great day for your kids, no matter what their ages (the hike isn’t so far that little ones can’t walk it)!
7. American Visionary Art Museum — Baltimore, MD
There are going to be those too-hot days or too-rainy days, and you don’t want to stay inside, and you really don’t want to go bowling again, or to some other place that you’ve been to a hundred times before with your kids. So go somewhere new — an art museum that isn’t quite like any other art museum you’ve explored before. The American Visionary Art Museum exhibits art from untrained artists — artists like your kids. Only, the art is really really striking. And really really imaginative — just like the art your kids create. Spur their imaginations at this museum!
6. International Spy Museum — Washington, DC
Your kids should be a little older to enjoy this very cool museum in downtown DC. This museum introduces you to some cool history that maybe you didn’t know was going on around you! For you, there’s 007’s very cool car. For the kids, there’s a great introduction to spycraft.
5. Penns Caverns — Pennsylvania
Do you crave the cave? On a really hot or rainy day, or a really hot and rainy day — what better place to be than underground, where it’s always a cool 54 degrees? (So yeah, bring hoodies and sweaters!) Penns Caverns is unlike other caverns you’ve been to because it takes you on a boat ride, underground. Plus, there’s an interesting zoo located right on the premises, so there’s something for everyone!
4. Annmarie Sculpture Garden — Maryland
If you’re looking for something that both adults and kids can enjoy, then you really need to check out the Annmarie Sculpture Garden, which is located near Solomons, Maryland, where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay. Filled with whimsical as well as some incredibly lovely sculptures, the winding paths gradually introduce you and your children — or your inner child — to some amazing art. Enjoy the great outdoors as well as the art. Then, plan to have lunch (or dinner) at nearby Solomons.
3. Wolf Sanctuary of PA — Lititz, PA
If your kids love dogs, then they’ll LOVE the Wolf Sanctuary of PA — only, there aren’t any dogs there. Only wolves. You’ll learn why wolves aren’t like dogs, and you get to see a bunch of REAL wolves. And their fangs. From a safe distance! In fact, this is one of the only places where you can see wolves on the East Coast. This place was a hit with my kids, and I’m betting it’ll be a hit with yours as well.
2. Fort Washington — Maryland
I love Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, and that’s certainly a great place to take kids. I bet you’ve even done it already! So that’s why Fort Washington is so cool. You might not even have known about it — but it’s this huge fort, bigger and more grand than Fort McHenry, right on the Maryland banks of the Potomac, a few miles downstream from Washington DC. Sweeping vistas of the Potomac and a whole, huge fort to explore equals a fun day learning a little history and spurring big imaginations!
1. National Zoo — Washington, DC
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! And animals. Bunches of them, of all kinds and shapes, in a lovely park setting in a lovely part of Washington DC. I love the National Zoo, and each time I go, I see something different. The zoo is a great place to go, for kids no matter what their age is. If it’s hot, you can cool down in the mist-ers they have set up. You can spend a whole day there and still have some zoo left to see. It’s a great place for kids of all ages. And it can be budget friendly if you pack your own food — there are multiple places to sit and enjoy your lunch.