“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.
Hot Skates Roller Skating Center tempts skilled skaters and fledgling gliders alike with a spacious facility, themed events, and refreshing snacks. As hit songs drift overhead, patrons strap on a pair of four-wheeled loafers to flit about the facility’s spacious wooden floor in daily public-skate sessions, 2.5–4 hours depending on the day. Wednesday freestyle nights let skaters 18 and older show off their best tricks—including the figure eight and the itemized tax deduction—from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and gospel nights keep families rolling with spiritual tunes on Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Novices receive assistance from one of Hot Skate’s helpful skate mates, a triangular contraption designed to prop up rollers-in-training. Between songs, skaters nosh on pizza and sip soft drinks to fuel up, preventing hunger-induced distraction and dangerous mid-rink chili cook-offs.
Recently featured in the Washington Times, Gertrude's is a salt-stained bastion of coastal cuisine, with a menu chock-full of Chesapeake classics. Chef and owner John Shields, a nationally acclaimed coastal-fare innovator, author, and crab whisperer, named the restaurant for his grandmother, Gertrude Cleary. Grandma Gertrude's traditional Baltimore crab cake recipe lives on at her namesake restaurant with a dinner order of Gertie's crab cakes ($20), which arrives dressed with a choice of eight sauces, including the Creole or three-mustard. It's served with a choice of sides such as apple and fennel coleslaw, hush puppies, or grilled rosemary potatoes. Other maritime entrees, such as the citrus barbecue shrimp ($24) and the Chesapeake rockfish imperial ($30), recognize each other from the Shark Week extras' green room and happily provide diners fishing for Bay fare authenticity with transcendent catches for immediate consumption. Also available are Gertie's seafood Creole ($24) and locally raised beef burgers ($10).
This sort of deft dodging is required at the 5,000-square-foot arena in Owings Mills. Teams compete in one of ten missions during each game of Frontal Assault tactical laser tag, which are inspired by popular video games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.
The snack bar at XP Laser Sport reenergizes players with Polar Shock slushies and personal pizzas. Meanwhile, windmills, loops, and carousels obstruct the path of LED mini-golf balls tumbling down the nine-hole indoor course. The facility's projection screens broadcast the latest angry faces of professional sports coaches, and two 25-foot screens let up to eight guests compete in Xbox 360 games such as Mortal Kombat.
Founded in 1844, the Maryland Historical Society honors local history with its comprehensive library and museum collections. A year's membership gains history hounds unlimited free admission to the cavernous library and scintillating exhibits, such as Maryland's National Treasures, a showcase of swords, vital documents, and keepsakes from Revolutionary War heroes including George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and a young John F. Kennedy. Among the museum's permanent exhibits are the original "Star-Spangled Banner" document written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, as well as painted and inlaid furniture, silver, quilts, and toys.
The Walters Art Museum’s collection of priceless paintings, pre-dynastic Egyptian pieces, and Greek sculptures bestow attendants with an expansive overview of artistic expression through time. In 1229 AD, a number of Archimedes’s works were erased and overwritten by Johannes Myrones when he was hurriedly scribbling down a grocery list. Through meticulous preservation techniques, a team of scientists from The Walters Art Museum have recovered the lost formulas over the span of an 11-year adventure that patrons can experience by visiting six interactive learning stations and two galleries of gathered materials. The exhibit culminates in a presentation to discuss the future of art conservation, including topics such as how nanotechnology could revolutionize silver preservation or restore finger paintings that were trapped behind a refrigerator.
Presidential dentures, a kid-sized dental chair, and interactive brushing instruction are some of the permanent exhibits spanning the space's two floors. The museum also boasts a life-size narwhal model, an exposé on saliva, and a celebration of our country's best dental schools. This upcoming season, stop in to pay homage to the tooth fairy for Tooth Fairy Day, or get a mouthful of mammals on Jaws and Paws Day. View a listing of upcoming events here. Take the whole family (admission for children ages 3–18 is $3, and those less than 2 are free), bring a bad-breathed date for a tutorial on mouth management, or instill yourself with a new sense of appreciation for the dentist.