The American Visionary Art Museum devotes its space to original work by self-taught artists who honed their craft—often unintentionally—while operating on the outskirts of the formal art world. As temporary exhibitions explore a particular artist or theme in depth, the permanent collection displays thousands of powerful and often whimsical items, such as Andrew Logan's mirror-winged Black Icarus, or the haunting Applewood Figure, an emaciated sculpture said to wince whenever someone eats a piece of fruit. The museum spreads its arresting pieces throughout three historical buildings, including the expansive main building, which boasts a reflective mirrored-mosaic exterior and neighbors the Tall Sculpture Barn, an ex-whiskey warehouse fully equipped with 45-foot ceilings for large-scale projects. A wildflower garden—complete with meditation chapel—and a sculpture plaza featuring a 55-foot whirligig beckon visitors to the museum's outdoor space, where envious clouds shape themselves into crude versions of Pietà. Completing any trip, the museum's Sideshow gift shop stuffs shopping bags with an ever-rotating collection of eclectic artwork, jewelry, toys, and more.
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House was built in 1793, originally owned by the Young-Pickersgill family. Mary Pickersgill, maker of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag, is among the historical figures portrayed. Mary and her family?including her mother, Rebecca Young, and her apprentice, Grace Wisher?describe life in the 19th century and how Mary stitched the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem and the national anthem.
After exploring the house on 30- to 40-minute self-guided or docent-led tours, guests can learn about America's defense of the Chesapeake Bay against the British navy, which culminated in the battle that inspired Key's verse. The first floor's permanent exhibition gallery focuses on that defense with artifacts such as a drum used by an American soldier during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry. Kid attendees, meanwhile, can head over to the Discovery Gallery to whip up a pretend meal at a replica of the Flag House kitchen or design their own flag to string up on the gallery's flagpole.
1840 became a landmark year for teeth and their owners when the world's very first college of dentistry opened in Baltimore. In 1904, the school moved to a new building on campus at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and in 1996, that historic structure became the country's official monument to the dental profession, the National Museum of Dentistry.
“Pimlico is more than a dirt track bound by four streets,” explained then-Maryland Club president Alfred G. Vanderbilt 50 years ago. Vanderbilt was referring to Pimlico’s status as an “American institution,” a title it has earned as the country’s second oldest racetrack. Founded in 1870, Pimlico has weathered everything from World War II to the day steeds skipped work en masse to see Seabiscuit, and remains a popular destination to this day as host to the US Triple Crown’s second leg, the Preakness Stakes. In its four-star Terrace dining room, patrons dine on buffet breakfasts and lunches as they view thoroughbreds galloping to the finish line. Meanwhile, the screens in the venue’s Sports Palace project simulcasts of offsite races, and the patrons seated in the Jockey Club enjoy especially clear views of the competing horses without having to glue equine portraits to the insides of their sunglasses.
Ultrazone Laser Tag might be familiar to fans of The Real World, whose cast members?fed up with drama?blew off steam by ducking colorful laser beams in the sprawling multilevel arena's fog-filled maze. There's enough space for 45 vest-clad players to face off at one time, and plasma monitors let the next wave watch the game as they eagerly await their turn. The expansive recreation center also hosts sleepover parties that grant exclusive overnight use of the laser-tag facilities, the plasma-screen theater, and the room that's inexplicably full of doorknobs. Outside the arena, an arcade keeps synapses ablaze with video games, air hockey, and golf simulators, supplemented with slices of Papa John's pizza from the cafe.
Twin brothers and Parkville Lanes co-owners Edward and Brian Foreman have given sphere slingers a home for classic duckpin-style bowling since 1986 with 26 gleaming lanes. While the rules of duckpin bowling are similar to those of the traditional 10-pin game, bowlers play duckpin with softball-size bowling balls that lack treacherous finger traps, which they hurl at shorter, squatter pins with three throws per turn. Between turns, patrons can refresh at the snack bar, where steaming slices of pizza are chased with sips of brews and wine. Perfect for family-fun nights and dates with retired wrecking balls, Parkville Lanes can also accommodate larger parties for birthdays, wedding receptions, bowling leagues, and weekly and weekend lane rentals.