First off, apologies on not advising how to keep 'em busy last weekend. I presume you all found ways on your own.
On Saturday, Port Discovery is having another "Littles Day," geared to kids 5 and under. It's a great spot for toddlers. Besides the awesome exhibits (including the ever-popular Wonders of Water and the new Tot Trails), on Littles Day, there's a moon bounce, Pets on Wheels, the Kindersinger, and balloon animals from Bubbles the Clown. (The website also says Bubbles will do magic, but I pressed Bubbles on this last time—Jack loves magic—and he said he wasn't there to do magic. So don't go holdin' your breath waiting for Bubbles the Clown to do magic is alls I'm sayin'.) The thing is sponsored by The Goddard School who, in the past, have also brought with them an awesome bubble-machine that occupied my little dudes as much as anything else. So maybe that makes up for the whole Bubbles situation. Maybe.
Also on Saturday, the Hopkins Synphony Orchestra is giving a FREE concert for children and families at 1 p.m. at Shriver Hall. The orchestra will play Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Opus 35. It's recommended for kids 4 and up and, after the concert, kids can come up onstage to meet the musicians and see their instruments up close. (The pic above is from last year's children's concert and, frankly, it looks to me like this musician might beat this child senseless with his clarinet if shoves the thing into his teeth one more time.)
The Jewish holiday of Purim, coming on March 19th, is one of my favorites. It's like a second Halloween in March, but noisier (how many other religions have a religious service where it is REQUIRED to bring and use a noisemaker?) This Sunday, the Jewish Family Initiative is getting the party started early with a Pre-Purim Carnival, complete with Hamentashen (a traditional pastry), music, mask-making, face-painting, bouncy-housing—the works.
Also, it's not this weekend, but a little advance planning never hurt anyone (or so I'm told): Check out our food critic Suzanne Loudermilk's post about a family-friendly grilled cheese cook-off happening April 10th at the Mt. Washington Tavern (which we've always found to be surprisingly family-friendly for a fairly upscale place). It sounds a-freakin-mazing, especially if you love grilled cheese as much as I do.
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 (still open—check out the pic of zebras in the snow (!) on their website), 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.
UPDATE: While writing this post, I contacted Port Discovery and let them know about the error on their website, regarding Bubbles doing magic. They have since changed "magic and balloon sculpting with Bubbles the Clown" to just "balloon sculpting with Bubbles the Clown." Also, Bubbles himself has been in touch and wants to make clear that he has always been contracted by Port Discovery for balloon sculpting, not magic, and the error was entirely theirs.
[photo courtesy of the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra]