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.
Picked as the #2 attraction in Wilmington by the editors of 10Best, the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library houses a massive collection of more than 85,000 pieces of American decorative art and furniture from 1640 to 1860, displayed on the magnificent country estate of collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont. Sitting on a 1,000-acre preserve of meadows and woodlands, the mansion contains 175 antique-furnished rooms in which du Pont grandly entertained family, friends, and various aristocratic superheroes. As you take a spin around the first floor, don't miss the Touch-It Room, where visitors toy around with hands-on displays of a parlor, kitchen, and general store.
• "Victorian Lawn Party" on Sunday, July 17, at noon. • "Old Time Autos" on Sunday, August 14, at noon. • "Trains, Trains, Trains!" on Saturday, September 3 or Sunday, September 4, both days at noon. • "Goblins, Ghosts & Ghouls" on Saturday, October 22 or Sunday, October 23, both days at noon.
At the Fire Museum of Maryland, visitors learn the importance of fire safety through a trip through the history of firefighting. With vintage equipment and trucks, and even the fa?ade of a 1871 fire station, the museum is rife with relics that highlight how firefighting has changed through the years.
Size: The museum displays 40 antique fire engines, as well as gear that dates back to the early 1800s.
Eye Catcher: Museum staff carefully restored the cast-iron fa?ade of Baltimore Engine Co. #8; behind it lies an exhibit called Life of a Fireman, with the trappings of a typical firehouse.
Tribute: The Charles T. Holloway exhibit celebrates Baltimore's most famous firefighter, displaying his retirement watch as well as other artifacts from his life.
Hands-On Activities: In one corner of the museum, kids can try on firefighter gear and marvel at how much lighter it is than their bookbags.
Special Programs: Museum staff have carefully curated seven different tours, geared toward different age groups. In one, kids learn fire safety by working to rescue someone from a burning building; in another, adults see firsthand how the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 was overcome.
Praise: CBS Baltimore named it one of the five best children's museums in Maryland.
Baltimore County's history stretches back nearly four centuries, and tracing and chronicling some 350 years of records, artifacts, and photographs is no small task. Just ask the Historical Society of Baltimore County, which houses thousands of historical pieces, including maps, photos, and books in an 1870s almshouse turned research center. The library houses hundreds of maps and primary sources from centuries past.
Howard Pyle's unexpected death in 1912 brought a group of artists, entrepreneurs, and businessmen together to grieve their friend. They couldn't let the artist's passion for teaching and illustration disappear as quickly as he had; so, they decided to form the Wilmington Society of Fine Arts with the sole purpose of preserving his legacy. They gathered funds from locals who felt just as strongly as they did?family members, friends, students, fans?and purchased approximately 100 pieces of his artwork.
Little did they know that, with these 100 pieces, they were starting something greater than a memorial for a good friend. The Wilmington Society of Fine Arts would, over time, add more and more artwork to its collection, growing into an 80,000-square-foot space and out of its original name. The Delaware Art Museum, as its called today, now counts more than 12,000 works of art as part of its collection. Permanent features showcase British pre-Raphaelites, the urban landscapes of John Sloan, modern American art, and, of course, Howard Pyle. The masterpieces don't stop when visitors venture outside?the Copeland Sculpture Garden adorns its lush natural scenery with nine works from the museum's permanent collection, along with a massive outdoor labyrinth.