College for Kids, July 24-28, Towson University, Towson, (410) 704-5437, website. The little smartypants in your household can learn a thing or two from professionals, public and private school teachers, and even college professors, with hands-on activities and accelerated work—including a mini-med-school for rising 6th- and 7th-graders.
Colonial Kids Summer Program, Historic London Town, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, (410) 222-1919, website. Disconnect the kids from their iPods and send them back to the colonial days to experience life at London Town for a week, with activities like cooking, playing dress-up, farming, science, and more.
Enchanted Summer Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 24, Winterthur Museum, Route 52 (Kennett Pike), Winterthur, Del., (800) 448-3883, website, $15, seniors and students $13, kids 11 and under $5. Behold the coronation of the new Fairy Queen, with maypole dancing, storytelling, music, crafts, and “fairy food”—is that like pollen?
CyberCamps, Johns Hopkins, University of Baltimore, and University of Maryland campus locations, (888) 904-2267, website. If your kids don’t already know more about technology than you do, send ‘em away to summer camp to learn. Three tracks focus on different elements: user (digital photography, web design), coder (programming, robotics), and gamer (game design and modding).
DayJams Rock Music Day Camp, the Park School, 2425 Old Court Road, Brooklandville, (800) 295-5956, website. Beginner and advanced lessons in guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, and vocals for ages 9-15—and kids get to write and record a song, make a video, and design T-shirts and paraphernalia for their band. Hopefully the rock star ego isn’t included.
Half Pints Fridays at Whole Foods, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays through summer, Whole Foods, 1330 Smith Ave., (410) 532-6700. Balloons, a gift bag, a rubber duck pond, and story time for kids when they register as a member. That oughta keep them distracted while you shop.
Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs, various sites in Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Cecil, and Washington counties, (410) 260-8721, website, free. Kids ages 8-15 can learn to fish-and learn about ecology, the bay, angler ethics, and fish identification—for free with a five day program.
Kiddie Crab Round-Up, 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 12, Lagoon Dock, Northside Park, 125th Street and bay, Ocean City, website. Nonstop blue crab-related fun, both educational and culinary.
Maryland Science Center Special Summer events, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., website. Stop by Baltimore’s alternative to the latest blockbuster animated feature for their 30th Anniversary Weekend in June. E.T. on a giant outdoor screen dusk June 23 and a birthday party with cake June 24. July 15 and 16 are Bubble Days, obviously, with good clean fun and a big bubble blowing contest. And check out Backyard Science Days Aug. 12 and 13 for fresh ideas for fenced-in fun.
Modeling Camp, Holiday Inn, 2 Montgomery Village Ave., Gaithersburg, (888) 757-5575, website, ages 7-17. Send your little Gisele (or Toccara—this camp doesn’t discriminate by weight or height) to learn social graces, fashion and beauty basics, design, and even cotillion essentials.
“The Navy Way” Boot Camp, July 22 and Aug. 19, U.S. Naval Academy, 52 King George St., Annapolis, (410) 263-6933, website, $28. Let the Navy whip the little brats into shape. Kids aged 6-12 learn Navy lingo, tell military time, tie knots, and march and chant in formation.
Open Minds, June 27-Aug. 8, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Canton Branch, Highlandtown Branch, and Patterson Park Branch, Baltimore, (410) 396-5430, ages 8-12. With help from the Creative Alliance, kids create artworks in response to a story. Patterson Park also offers the program for teens. Registration is required.
Silver Penny Summer Theatre, Towson and Forest Hill locations, (410) 704-3503, website. Each session is themed: the first, “Out of This World,” includes physical theater, miming, and musical theater; the second, “A Midsummer Night’s Theme,” teaches comedy, Shakespeare, and song and dance; and the third, “All the World’s a Stage,” involves stagecraft, Shakespearean song and dance, and musical performance. For ages 8 through 16.
Summer Nature Adventure Camps, Discovery Creek, Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, (202) 337-5111, website, ages 4-11. The good folks at Discovery Creek want to make sure kids always have some grass stains on their jeans and a little dirt on their faces, with outdoorsy programs where children can learn about animals, nature, and how to avoid being a couch potato.
Downtown Sailing Center, Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1425 Key Highway, (410) 727-2884, website, ages 8-16. At either day camp or overnight camp, children learn about sailing, safety, navigation, reading charts, and more. Smother them in sunblock.
Frontier Town, Route 611, Ocean City, (410) 641-0880, website. Forgo the Holiday Inn and camp out five minutes from the beach. The water park is free to campers, who also get 20 percent off admission to the Frontier Town Theme Park, the Wild West of the Atlantic shoreline.
Funland Family Fun Center, 24450 Garrett Highway, McHenry, (301) 387-6168, free. The young’uns can tire themselves out riding the carousel, bumper cars, and go-karts, and trying to scramble up the climbing wall.
Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson, (410) 484-2413, website. Introduce kids to creepy-crawlies and cute species, too, in a beautiful valley in the county. They have lots of programs and summer camps for adventurous kiddies.
Paramount’s Kings Dominion, 1600 Theme Park Way, Doswell, Va., (804) 876-5000, website. When the family gets sick of watching TV on summer vacation, you can take them to a movie/TV theme park. The Italian Job roller coaster is new this year, with mini Mini Coopers to ride in, and Nickelodeon Central is a classic. Wonder if they still have the slime fountains?
Little Picasso School of Visual Arts,1331 Rockville Pike, Rockville, (301) 294-3600, website. This year’s camp, “Passport to the World,” goes continent-hopping to learn about international cultures and art. In their Portfolio Prep class, students assemble a collection of works to submit to colleges.
Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake, 311 Third St., Annapolis, (410) 263-0002, website. As a rule, we’re wary of pirates teaching our children anything. But the prospect of cruising around on the Chesapeake on a ship called the Sea Gypsy with a band of noisy buccaneers sounds too sweet to pass up. And also, we love pirate fashion.
Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, website. A massive, elaborate playhouse for every childhood fantasy: a 50s diner where kids can cook up and serve food, a tiny Royal Farms gas station where filling up the car doesn’t cost a dime, Egyptian pyramids, a mystery house, and a castle with a tailor, gardener, and a dragon. Best of all, you can finally visit Mr. Rogers’ house. With Trolley, you understand.
Six Flags America, 13710 Central Ave., Mitchelsville, (301) 249-1500, website. More than a hundred rides, including the Batwing, water rides, and plenty of stuff for the little guys who aren’t ready for the coasters. Go to the web site for a discounted ticket.
Velocity Sports Performance, 1427 Clarkview Road, Suite 300, Baltimore, (410) 583-9235, website. Give the little QB or center half an advantage in fall tryouts. They test kids’ speed, agility and strength at the beginning, then help with a program to improve their stats. Tailgating they’ll have to learn on their own.
Garden Maze at Luray Caverns, 970 U.S. Highway 211 West, Luray, Va., (540) 743-6551, website. A 1-acre maze with 8-foot hedges and a misting machine for freaky effects. Encourage the children to get lost above ground, not in the caves.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201