At Chesapeake Beach Water Park, guests swiftly wind down eight curling waterslides, skimming through fast-paced twists and gravity-defying turns before shooting out into the pool's calm, cerulean waters. A league of EMT-trained, certified lifeguards watch over the waters, ensuring visitors stay safe as they romp through the beach-like lagoon and the kids' activity pool. Glistening streams flow over picturesque rock faces, splashing onto guests as they float lazily beneath on complimentary rented tubes or pet sea monsters brought from home.
Those who've tired themselves out with daylong Marco Polo matches can sunbathe on lounge chairs on the expansive decks, or walk to the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa to rejuvenate. Further connecting with the community, the park supports local organizations such as Relay for Life, the Red Cross blood drive, and Great Dane Rescue.
For 350 years, the Middleton family has proudly worked the 280 acres of Cedar Hill Farm. Their fields used to be only sewn with tobacco and corn, but now, the Middletons have carved out space for their annual fall festivities. In their 6-acre corn field, they've devised a maze where guests can test their navigation skills through towering stalks of corn. They've also summoned the Great Pumpkin to endow them with a pumpkin patch filled with jack-o-lantern-ready gourds, accessible via a rumbling 30-minute hayride. Nearby, farm animals await to meet families, so kids can finally learn about country life from someone other than an imaginary scarecrow friend.
Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up pulses with inflatable play sets and actually encourages kids to bounce off the walls. Within the indoor playground, a stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce houses and air-filled playthings, such as a classic bounce castle and slick inflatable slide that cushions children's heartfelt reenactments of Cool Runnings. Throughout the week, families can pop in for open play, or tote along their own mini entourage for birthday-party packages complete with private rooms and complimentary invites. Parties come as straightforward packages or as themed events that place the birthday child in structured story adventures where they take on the role of a mighty and clever superhero or pirate captain that drank too much salt water.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the stories of the Chesapeake Bay and the people who have shaped their lives around it. With 18 waterfront acres in the historic town of St. Michaels, the Museum offers exhibits, boat rides, festivals and more.
Its red roof shining from the banks of the Potomac River, historic Mount Vernon bears the torch of gentleman planter and inaugural commander in chief George Washington via the home where he lived for 40 years. It takes about three hours to explore the estate, a visit which begins with a walk through the grounds and a short film before proceeding to a guided tour of the mansion. There, time-travelers visit 1799—the year Washington died—as recreated by preserved original furnishings and detailed reproductions. The home's windows look out on 50 acres of plantation, with 12 original structures, gardens, and a forest trail hemmed with holly and laurel. The museum and education center weaves a rich audio-visual tapestry of the general's life, filled with 23 theaters and galleries and 700 original artifacts that include his famous dentures.
Since 1984, the professional, certified instructors at Loftmar Stables have passed their equine expertise on to students of all skill levels, helping them learn horsemanship principles or advanced skills. Captained by owner Janet Loftus Martin, the team starts beginner riders out with 30-minute private lessons that encourage speedier progression and build self-confidence, rather than thrusting novices into large group classes. Instructors give special attention to riders who might be scared to get on horses or have had bad experiences riding in the past, such as getting thrown out of saddles or being paired with horses on blind dates. All programs begin with learning to care for horses and equipment before moving on to more advanced riding instruction in hunt-seat equitation, jumping, or dressage. The extensive facilities—including massive lighted indoor and outdoor arenas as well as wooded trails—ensure that lessons take place even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
At Rivertowne 12 Cinemas, children’s films, supernatural thrillers, comedies, and superhero blockbusters all share equal billing. Twelve auditoriums light their silver screens with 3D and digital projections, carrying audience members to other worlds so they don't blow their savings accounts while trying to make a space elevator.