Between the capital city of Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore, Maryland is jam-packed with kid-friendly venues ideal for a 5-year-old's birthday party. Skip the usual play gym or bounce house routine and celebrate this milestone birthday at one of Maryland's premier, kid-friendly destinations.
1. Children's Museums
With their hands-on, interactive exhibits, children's museums are tailor-made for kid parties. Port Discovery (portdiscovery.org), in downtown Baltimore, is ranked as one of the best children's museums in the country. Exhibits include a three-story urban jungle gym, a sports and game stadium and a child-size convenience store for imaginary play. Port Discovery offers several birthday party theme packages, including Like a Princess and Wild West Roundup. The Chesapeake Children's Museum (theccm.org) in Annapolis offers themed workshops for birthday parties with 10 kids or more. At the National Harbor, the National Children's Museum (ncm.museum), opening in November 2012, will also offer birthday party packages.
2. Baltimore Harbor
Take your pick from a variety of kid-friendly birthday party venues at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. At the Maryland Science Center (mdisci.org), 5-year-olds will likely enjoy the Kids Room the most, an educational play area dedicated to kids ages eight and under. Birthday party packages include admission, birthday cake, pizza, access to the IMAX theater. At the National Aquarium (aqua.org), the kids are sure to recognize Nemo, Dora and other sea creatures in the gigantic fish tanks. The aquarium, which features an interactive dolphin show, offers birthday party packages with an Under the Sea theme. Other birthday activities at the Inner Harbor include the Baltimore Museum of Industry (thebmi.org) and Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Odditorium (ripley's.com/baltimore).
3. On The Water
Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake (chesapeakepirates.com), situated on the Annapolis Harbor, turns your birthday boy or girl into a pirate for a day. Your child and his friends can choose from various pirate costumes before boarding the ship to search for treasure and fight stinky pirates. The Chesapeake Beach Water Park (chesapeakebeachwaterpark.com) is an ideal venue for summer birthday parties. The child-friendly water park includes a lazy river, numerous water slides and a kids activity pool. The park also offers a party package that includes pizza, snow cones and a birthday announcement over the loudspeakers.
4. Sport and Adventure
If your 5-year-old is already a huge baseball fan, a day at Camden Yards to see the Baltimore Orioles play is one he won't soon forget. The iconic baseball stadium offers a birthday party package that includes hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream and a drink for each guest, a birthday message on the scoreboard and a special visit from the Oriole Bird mascot. If you are looking for an unusual, but thrilling birthday adventure for your little one, Maryland Dog Sled Adventures (marylanddogsledding.com) fits the bill. Ideal for a winter birthday party, kids 5 and older will get to meet, play with and learn about sled dogs, followed by a short dog sled ride with trained instructors.