Have you been outside?! It's gorgeous, but you probably know that already. It looks like much of the weekend will be lovely. I don't know about you, but I plan things for outdoors during nice weather, partially because it's actually nice to be out in the fresh air and open spaces, but also—and, as summer wears on, mostly—because I'll feel terribly guilty if I don't. I'll admit that there are days when I secretly hope for cruddy weather so I won't feel guilty for staying inside and playing games, watching movies, etc. OK, so that's out there. But this early in the season, I genuinely want to be outside and you probably do too. Here are some suggestions for how to keep 'em busy.
We have become major, major boosters of The Maryland Zoo over the last year (and I don't mean that in the financial sense, although we are members). It's a great default activity on a day when you having nothing else planned, and there's enough different areas/exhibits/activities that there's always something new to explore. We love petting and brushing the goats, feeding the giraffes, watching the monkeys, riding the rides, and taking the tram and the Zephyr, but our favorite activity is visiting Samson the baby elephant. He's incredibly cute and, somehow, he acts just like a toddler. Last time we watched him try to squeeze his head inside a truck tire (his toy) for a good 30 minutes. It was hysterical. This Saturday at 11 a.m., the Zoo is celebrating Samson's 3rd birthday by singing happy birthday, eating cake (carrot and apple mush for Samson; the real thing, donated by Charm City Cakes, for the rest of us. Sorry Samson...), signing a card for the big little guy, and face-painting.
Oregon Ridge is another great default place to get outside any time, with lots of great activities including the huge playground and the nature center. This Saturday and Sunday, the nature center is hosting "Snakes and Clovers," from 2 to 4 p.m., where the little ones search for St. Patrick's Day symbols in the forrest (hopefully clovers, not snakes) and then come back and make crafts ($3; $2 for members).
On Sunday, celebrate the first day of spring by going to any Rita's in town for a FREE italian ice. Oh so nice.
And for a couple great, but, alas, indoor events:
Even though I'm now an adjunct professor at Towson University, I'll be the first to admit that the school's Saturday Science series is not always the most scintillating activity (a previous one was "Repairing the Hubble Space Telescope."). But this Saturday the topic is "The Science Behind Pyrotechnics and Fireworks." And that sounds kinda awesome.
Sunday, there's a great Purim carnival at Reservoir High School from the Jewish Federation of Howard County.
And of course, there are the perrenially great-for-kids activities, including the Walters, which, besides the great, often kid-friendly exhibits, has a fantastic play area on the lower level with lots of dress up stuff, puppets, puzzles, and an art room where there are facilitators to help you and are kids make great projects and bonus: FREE; The Baltimore Museum of Art frequently has great kids' activities; Also, the Marlyland Science Center ($3 off admission before noon on Saturdays, plus the weekly egg-drop contest), Port Discovery Children's Museum, The Zoo, two Storyville locations (we LOVE Storyville), The American Visionary Art Museum (also with kid-friendly exhibits, and the treehouse/sculpture out back if it's not too cold), the various nature centers and conservancies (Oregon Ridge, Irvine, Howard County), and—of course!— the Aquarium.