Frontier Town Campground, 11224 Dale Road (Route 610), Whaleyville, (410) 641-9785, www.frontiertown.com Family friendly frontier waterfront camping with mini-golf, Wild West adventures, and authentic frontier camping experience. Yee-haw! Five minutes from Assateague's wild ponies and Ocean City when you need either more nature or less history.
Kings Dominion, 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, Va., www.kingsdominion.com, $40-$45. Find out if 'you must be this tall to ride' means 'this tall, this ready.' If not, there's Kidz Construction Company, KidZville, a circus, Dora the Explorer, Rugrats, kiddie rides, a kiddie coaster, and Nickelodeon types in costume trolling the grounds. We mean, hanging out.
Knoebels Amusement Park and Resort, Elysburg, Pa., www.knoebels.com, free. Admission to this family-friendly, commercial free park costs nothing. Instead the rides, giant slides, kiddie rides, scrambler, and old school merry-go-round (lean forward and pull the ring!) rely on tickets from a booth. There's a haunted house (we're still traumatized from our youth), a wooden coaster, and some adrenaline-based rides for anyone in double digits plus camping and swimming facilities.
Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, $10-$14.50. IMAX, Body Worlds 2, hands-on science, science camps, and an observatory.
Port Discovery, 34 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, www.portdiscovery.org Most major urban areas feature a children's museum providing the perfect destination for visiting grandparents and birthday parties. Our version is smartly located near the Inner Harbor; you can't miss the huge neon sign. Take advantage of discounted admission day Aug. 10 ($10!).
Rose Hill Manor Park/The Children's and Farm Museum, 1611 N. Market St., Frederick, (301) 600-1650, www.rosehillmuseum.com Early American life and tours as living history with everything hands-on. Your kids will re-think the ease and convenience of electricity and television when you leave.
Six Flags America, 13710 Central Avenue, Bowie, (301) 249-1500, www.sixflagsamerica.com, $40. Some of Wild World's water park attractions still remain, now joined by splash parks from Six Flags, which range from the intense adventure rides to wading pools. Check out the First ever Tony Hawk water slide and 'skate the wake.'
Family Fishing Fun, Thursdays through Aug. 28, Patterson Park, 27 S. Patterson Park Ave., (410) 396-9392, www.pattersonpark.com, $1. Catch and release fishing without the pain of the Jennifer Garner movie of the same name. (Because Patterson Park would never do that to you.)
Seeds, Seeds Everywhere, 1:30-2:30 p.m., May 28, Tawes Garden, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, (410) 260-8189, www.dnr.maryland.gov/publiclan.., $1. Children ages 3-5 learn about seeds and flowers, are guided through the grounds by a naturalist, and plant their own seeds.
Story Time, May 28-July 23 Ladew Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, (410) 557-9466, www.ladewgardens.org, $5-10, reservations required. The little ones brush up on zoology, geology, and meteorology through, well, story, and when all's said and done, you get to examine the foliage-formed version of whacha just talked about.
Scales and Tall Tales, 7-8 p.m. June 7, Pocomoke River State Park, 3461 Worcester Highway, Snow Hill, www.dnr.state.md.us/publicland.. Why is the turkey vulture bald? How did the owl get its name? We don't know, but they do.
Assateague/AMSA Youth Fishing Derby, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 14, Assateague State Park, 7303 Stephen Decatur Highway, Berlin, (410) 641-2120, www.dnr.state.md.us/publicland.. Assateague Mobile Sport Fisherman's Association teach your kid to fish so you guys can land the big one.
Colonial Camp, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. June 16-Aug. 18, Colonial Kids Summer Program at Historic London Town and Gardens, Edgewater, (866) 354.6856, www.colonialcamp.com, $279. Kids get hands-on colonial style, make their food from scratch, shoot muskets, bind books, make soap, and do all that old timey stuff you only see but don't get to do in Williamsburg. It's like that reality television show but supervised and more fun.
After School Nature Explorers, June 19, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, (410) 887-1815, www.oregonridge.org, $2. Summer installment of ongoing series that turns 1st-4th graders into pint-sized Indiana Jones and Mick Dundees.
Wilderness Survival Camp, July-August, 1901 Ridgetop Road, (410) 396-0808, $175 per week. Six-week traditional summer camp: swimming in the lake, mud between the toes, campfires, and insects. Otherwise they'll never get 'Hello Muddha, Hello Fadda.'
Hooked on Fishing, 8-11 a.m. and noon-3 p.m., July 7-Aug. 8, Greenbrier State Park, 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, (301) 791-4767, www.dnr.state.md.us/publicland.., $15. Kids ages 8-15 learn to fish in morning or afternoon sessions using the parks 42-acre freshwater lake filled with trout, bass, and bluegill. For an application, visit www.dnr.state.md.us/education/..
Mini Nature Camp, 1-3 p.m., July 7-11, Ladew Garden, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, (410) 557-9466, www.ladewgardens.org, $100-$125. Ah, childhood: mudpies, puddle jumping, and playing with bugs before snack time. Maybe that's not such a good idea for your four-year-old in the city? In Ladew Garden it's totally safe, and educational to boot.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201