They'll always be there, check 'em out at any time!
Maryland Science Center
Baltimore Zoo (Maryland Zoo) – Family membership is ~$100/year and pays for itself pretty quickly. Animals are put away at 4pm, closes 430pm.
Baltimore Aquarium – One of the best aquariums in the nation… Best to go on a Sunday morning, 9am. Membership allows entry when you arrive; non-members must get a timed ticket.
B&O Railroad Museum – Great museum with train roundhouse, train ride, etc. Steam Days in Spring/Fall with a kiddie miniature train ride, outdoor activities, etc. From Feb to Nov, they have a 40 minute train ride that goes out and back on the hour. Thomas the Tank Engine comes to visit a couple of times per year, and each holiday season they have a model train exhibit that rotates each week (Legos, HO, etc.)!
Walters Art Museum – Great collection, Saturday art projects for kids in the basement as well as a dress-up area and puppet theater. Kids can also check out art kits at the art cart when they walk in, and do designated art projects throughout the museum, like recreating various paintings. Free admission.
Baltimore Museum of Art – Free admission. Gertrude’s has a nice brunch on weekends).
American Visionary Arts Museum – Great collection of art by ‘non-artists’ for older kids.
BWI Airport Observation Deck – Fantastic place to take the kids for hours of plane watching (they take off and land every few minutes), a cross section, tail, and engine of a 737, and tons of playground like equipment to roam on. It will cost you a parking fee, but nothing else.
Leakin Park Ride On Train – Run by the Chesapeake and Allegheny Steam Preservation Society - this is a great train exhibit with a train kids (and adults) can ride on! 2nd Sunday of the month from 11a-3p.
Parks and Outdoor Playgrounds
Rodgers Forge Tot Lot – (Located near York Rd. and Bellona Ave.) Amazing tot lot with lots of regular playground equipment in addition to donated tricycles, kiddie trikes, playhouses, huge sandbox, and more. Usually packed with kids!
Linkwood Park Playground/Tot Lot – (Coldspring near Charles St. across from Loyola dorms and Bolton Street Synagogue). Located in the Linkwood neighborhood down the street from Miss Shirley’s and other restaurants on Coldspring Ave. Nice swings, large playset.
Meadowood Park – Great park with 1 mile walking path and lots of playground equipment for kids of all ages.
Annie’s Playground – (Located in Harford County, Belair, MD). Beautiful, extensive playground
Patapsco State Park Tire Playground (Catonsville, MD) – Great playground with buried tires all over!
Leakin Park – Great playground in Baltimore, with ride on train the 2nd Sunday of each month!
Great Indoor Playgrounds
Towson Town Center Play area – Nice rainy day play area. Low key meals in the food court!
IKEA – Yes, it’s a store, but the kid play area (with ball pit for kids over 36” tall) is amazing, as is the toy section up on the second floor. Kids can play in either for hours, and you can finish it off with a meal at the IKEA cafeteria!
Kiddie Crusoe (Timonium) - a combination bounce zone and indoor playground. $12 drop in.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park (Timonium) - Indoor trampoline parks featuring freestyle bouncing, dodgeball, fitness programs & more!
Nature Centers & Botanic Gardens
Irvine Nature Center – Great place with extensive nature exhibit, trails, etc. and a nice Pumpkinfest in fall around Halloween.
Oregon Ridge Nature Center – Great nature center in Hunt Valley MD with an extensive park, walking grounds, music stage, music events, and other activities.
Ladew Topiary Gardens – Very cool 20+ acres of gardens!
Sherwood Gardens – Beautiful tulips each spring in the Guilford neighborhood.
Cylburn Arboretum – Located right near Sinai Hospital off Northern Parkway.
Mt. Washington Arboretum –1 min. from Mt. Washington Village, Whole Foods.
Fort McHenry – Great National site right on the Baltimore Harbor.
Federal Hill Park – Located at the entry to Federal Hill near the Inner Harbor.
Centennial Park – Located in Columbia, has a beautiful lake, trail, paddle boats for rent, and a children’s playground.