Surrounded by more than 1,200 acres of protected land, Irvine Nature Center grants kids and parents access to 116 acres of open wetlands, forest, and meadows, affording families the opportunity to explore multiple ecosystems all in one afternoon. Dedicated to protecting nature and fostering respect of the outdoors, the center educates families with everything from field trips into the woods to hands-on lessons on specialized topics, from "Good Bugs for the Garden" to "Nature's Sweets: Maple Syrup & Honey." An indoor gallery sweeps adventurers through a collection of exhibits highlighting Maryland's local biomes, guiding visitors through an interactive box-turtle habitat and a darkened room echoing with the sounds of nocturnal animals such as owls and infomercial hosts.
Short of creating physical clouds to hold people aloft, Mattress Warehouse stocks almost every imaginable furnishing to help customers catch a few Z’s. Rows of name-brand mattresses from Sealy, Simmons Beautyrest, Serta, and Tempur-Pedic entice customers to replace their worn pad for new bedding, such as a standard mattress, a fluffy pillowtop unit, or a memory foam piece that conforms to bodies. Beyond mattresses, the warehouse also carries an ample collection of box springs, full bed sets with rails and headboards, and even premium futon mattresses that revitalize foldable couches.
Using healthy, natural ingredients, chef Lisa Honick crafts a diverse menu of fully prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, as well as sundry entrees, sides, and desserts that long for the finishing flames of customers' home ovens. Early morning biters can grab a seat in the bright café dining room and hang a fang on the thick-sliced challah French toast, topped with rum-glazed bananas and candied pecans ($7.95). Classic lunchtime deli fare includes the moonlight in Vermont, a roasted turkey breast sandwich that lures lazy vampires away from daytime television and swaddles tongue buds with Vermont cheddar, apples, cranberries, Euro greens, and boursin spread ($7.95). Dinner entrees to go, such as the chicken marsala or glazed corn beef with pineapple sauce, arrive at hungry tables accompanied with salad, two side dishes, rolls, and dessert ($17.95/person, all dinners).
Few people spend their days attending bar mitzvahs and corporate picnics, but The Entertainment Playground?s staff works both circuits. The event-planning company can create parties from the ground up or augment them with equipment and staff, freeing up hosts to spend more time shaking their presents. The company?s inflatables run the gamut from bounce houses to outdoor movie screens, and fog machines and strobe lights add energy to dance parties or at least make the boring people harder to see. Revelers can pile into photo booths to create instant keepsakes, or climb aboard mechanical bulls for a very in-the-moment experience. A team of entertainers complements the attractions by delighting onlookers with intricate balloon art or classic magic tricks.