The weather outside has been frightful. And the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, so we have weeks more of winter? Who likes groundhogs anyway?! All I know is it’s been freezing out and while we’re dodging the grossness of this year’s flu season, I have a toddler with a serious case of cabin fever developing.
Here are some of my favorite cold weather destinations/activities close to home…
We live a short drive from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, which also happens to be my hometown! The National Aquarium is truly one of the best aquatic centers in the US and attracts many visitors year-round. During our recent visit, my daughter could walk on her own to each exhibit and take in all the beautiful fish at eye level. If you have very young ones, plan to arrive or purchase tickets right when doors open, which is usually around 9:30 a.m. We spent about 2.5 hours there, which was plenty of time without feeling rushed, and wrapped up our visit with the dolphin “show.” I’ll be honest, I was a little bored by the dolphin experience, as it was mostly informational and less entertaining. Our daughter sat through it, but probably only because we kept her quiet with fresh hot pretzels (purchased there) and other snacks.
The ticket price for the National Aquarium had me a little shell shocked considering this was a weekend outing ($39.99 per adult), but in the end, I felt like it was worth the cost. And, I’m glad we decided to go when my daughter still qualifies for free admission (under 3 years old)! If you're trying to save a few bucks, visit on Fridays after 5 p.m. for half-priced admission.
Almost every major city has an aquarium, which can be a great destination for toddlers, and kids of all ages. Buy tickets online in advance, enjoy a few hours of fun, and choose a fun restaurant for lunch after! We decided to dine at a seafood restaurant, because, well, it’s Baltimore! I couldn’t leave without having one of those world famous crabcakes, ‘hon!
A Local Farm
One of the best things about local working farms is that they are (usually) open year-round. One of our favorite farms to visit also has programming periodically throughout the year for extremely reasonable rates. My sweet pea LOVES animals of any kind, so we spend a lot of time at the farm throughout the year taking long walks, enjoying wagon rides, talking to the animals and playing at the playground.
Check your local government’s website to see if there are any public farms in your area. The public working farm in our county has free admission and is open all year.
Indoor Trampoline Park
If I’m being totally real, I’m somewhat of a germaphobe, and the idea of indoor playgrounds makes me shudder…slightly. But going along with my theme of trying new things, I decided to put my comfort level aside and visit a new indoor trampoline park opening in Herndon, Northern Virginia. Launch was the perfect place to go on a cold Saturday morning with our cousins. As I try to do with most activities, we got there right when they opened and it was virtually empty. Shortly after, more families started to come in, as well as birthday party groups. I was very impressed with how clean everything was and by how many members of the staff were there to assist or answer questions. And most importantly, it was FUN jumping on the trampolines and through the obstacle courses with foam. I’m not sure who had more fun, my husband or our two-year-old daughter! It’s amazing how exhausting an hour of jumping around can be. For anyone looking for an easy way to burn off energy pre-nap time, go to Launch!