There are a few annual events that I really look forward to in the DC Metro Area and Maryland Day is one of them!
Last year was our first time attending the University of Maryland, College Park’s Maryland Day and it probably set the stage for my interest in giving families the inside scoop on activities before they head out the door. Why? Because while I saw a lot of websites featuring the event, it wasn’t until I arrived that I understood the SCOPE of the event (read: crazy parking, acres and acres of activities, huge crowd, etc.). As a result, we had a good time but spent a lot of it backtracking to find activities in the pages-long program booklet. And, what’s worse for me (the one who wants to maximize every moment) once we returned home, I realized how many wonderful exhibits I’d MISSED. UGH!
So, in an effort to help you (and me) as we head out to this year’s Maryland Day this weekend, here are a few “Know Before You Go” suggestions.
- Go to this website and Plan Your Day. It will make everything go a lot smoother. Just click the activities you want to check out and the site will put it all together for ya in a nice little package (bow not included! LOL) BTW, you can click each link and you WON’T loose your check marks (whew, that was a close one!)
- Use this document to place your activities on the map on the final page and park accordingly. Last year I parked (what seemed like) miles from most of the activities I attended. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you just want MORE exercise than you will already get by criss-crossing the campus!
- I’m not sure about your kiddies but a great activity can turn horribly wrong if I haven’t planned for lunch and snacks! You can pack your own or enjoy the food available for purchase at stands throughout the event. BRING CASH! But don’t expect much beyond that which can be cooked on a grill (and Maryland Crab cakes of course!) Ice cream, cotton candy and coffee will abound as well. Vegetarians and vegans should head to the Diner at Ellicott in the Sports and Rec row for their best options!
- Weather considerations: As of Thursday evening, they are calling for afternoon showers on Saturday. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing because these weather people just can’t be relied upon! But, to play it safe(r), check the weather Saturday before your departure and plan to arrive in the morning (although this will also mean it will probably be more crowded.)
- Pack your stroller (if applicable). #enoughsaid
Enjoying the Event
First priority: Bathrooms! One reason I LOVE Maryland Day is because you can use the restrooms in ANY building on campus. No, not those portable potties that most events of this size generally force upon us. Special kudos to the University of Maryland for not forcing us to change diapers or hold up toddlers in stinky stalls!
Here are a few of activities that we are planning to seek out for our 1.5 and 4.5 year old but many are appropriate for all ages!
Ag Day Avenue
- * Livestock Show
- * Science of Gummy Worms (loved this last year!)
- * Horse Show
- * Be A News Anchor with WUSA Channel 9
- * African American Art Exhibit
- * Caricature Artist
- * Instrument Petting Zoo
Biz and Society Hill
- * Sand Art
- * Face Painting
Science and Tech Way
- * Fossil Dig: for my 1.5 year old who loves dirt
- * Fire Shows
- * Chemistry Fun: gotta make some silly putty
- * Wind Tunnel: Missed this last year!
- * Insect Petting Zoo
- * Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream: 31 Flavors!
- * Physics Demos: make slime
Sports and Rec Row
- * Cole Fun House: Football, Soccer and Wii
- * Public Health Garden: Seed planting and sustainable agriculture
Terp Town Center
- * Around the world in 40 Languages: photo in front of country of your choice
- * KidPrint: fingerprinting your child
- * Kids Carnival
- * Multi-Ethnic Activity Zone
- * Safe Kids: dress up as a firefighter, a scientist, or a hazardous waste technician
There are activities planned for ages 0 -99 and these are just a few options that are age-appropriate for my crew. Come back Sunday (you’ll be exhausted Saturday) and tell us about your child’s favs!