Laurel, Maryland, with a population of about 25,000, sits almost halfway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. It is surrounded by several other small towns as well as the major metropolis areas nearby. Finding kid-friendly activities in and around this area isn't a problem.
The Laurel Historical Society (laurelhistoricalsociety.org) offers walking tours of Laurel as well as historical exhibits inside the museum, including information about the town's role in the Civil War. Just nine miles from Laurel, the Bowie Railroad Museum (no website; 8614 Chestnut Ave., Bowie, MD; 301-809-3089) offers a replica of what Bowie was in the 19th century, centered around the railroad station. Also nine miles from Laurel, the College Park Aviation Museum (collegeparkaviationmuseum.com) houses vintage aircraft, artifacts and hands-on exhibits for children.
Nature and Wildlife
The Patuxent Wildlife Refuge Research Center (fws.gov/northeast/patuxent) welcomes visitors to explore the many exhibits aiming to educate in wildlife preservation and environmental issues. Nature trails, lakes, wildlife habitats and endangered species information are featured at the facility. Green Meadows (greenmeadowsevents.com), eight miles from Laurel in Jessup, features a petting zoo, pumpkin patch and pig races. Goats, emus, ducks, geese, sheep, turkeys and chickens also make their home at Green Meadows, and kids are allowed to pet and hold many of the animals.
The city of Laurel (cityoflaurel.org) maintains over 200 acres of park space, providing many amenities for recreation with the kids. Riverfront Park (no website; Avondale St., Laurel, MD; 301-725-7800) offers 30 acres of open space with picnic pavilions, play areas for kids, hiking trails, a scenic wetland and historic dam ruins. The Roland B. Sweitzer Community Park (no website; Sandy Spring Road, Laurel, MD; 301-725-7800) provides a tot-lot, playgrounds, open grass, a small pond and picnic tables. The Greenview Drive Pool Complex (no website; Greenview Drive, Laurel, MD; 301-725-7800) has an outdoor pool with tennis courts and picnic tables.
Entertainment and Game Centers
Medieval Times (medievaltimes.com), in Hanover, is just 11 miles from Laurel. Kids can enjoy witnessing an entertaining show of medieval games while eating a hearty meal without utensils. AMF Laurel Lanes (amf.com/laurellanes) provides 32 lanes of bowling with snacks and video games alongside. Monster Mini Golf (monsterminigolf.com) in Jessup features an 18-hole miniature golf course themed with monsters. Contests with prize giveaways are also a part of the experience.
- Laurel Historical Society: Home
- City of Bowie: Bowie Railroad Museum
- College Park Aviation Museum: About Us
- Department of Fish and Wildlife: Patuxent Wildlife Refuge Research Center
- Green Meadows: Our Animals
- City of Laurel: Facilities and Grounds
- Medieval Times: Baltimore
- AMF Laurel Lanes: Home
- Monster Mini Golf: Home
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