10 Family-Friendly Activities in Silver Spring, MD

A northern suburb of Washington, D.C., Silver Spring, Md., is a vibrant scene where families can find something to do no matter the season. Homes for sale in Silver Spring are among the most desired properties in Greater Washington, D.C.
Outside of the tourist attractions in Washington, D.C., if you do not know Silver Spring real estate well, it can be hard to get a sense of the popular places among locals. That is where the information here can be of assistance.
Here are 10 unique places to visit in and around Silver Spring that will provide hours of entertainment for your family. The recommendations apply whether you are relocating or planning a day trip, weekend getaway, or vacation to the area.

1. Brookside Gardens

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Families have several options to consider when the weather is pleasant, and you want to be out in the fresh air. Brookside Gardens is a popular and well-known park in the area, a short distance north of Silver Spring real estate. Admission is free, and the gardens are open from sunrise to sunset.
There are plants in bloom throughout the year across the 50 acres of property, which features nine areas, four gardens, and two conservatories. Additionally, children and adults can participate in educational offerings, including camps, annual events such as summer concerts, and a winter holiday light display. Another unique option is their yearly plant sales — pay a visit if you want something to add to your home or garden (proceeds benefit the upkeep of the gardens).

2. Wheaton Regional Park

Wheaton Regional Park is a 536-acre space with playgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing lakes, dog parks, and sports fields. Other area attractions include an indoor ice arena, indoor sports, tennis courts, and horse stables. Unique offerings at Wheaton Regional Park include the 1863 C.P. Huntington engine train, Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel, and Brookside Nature Center. Brookside Gardens is also on the grounds of Wheaton Regional Park. Fees are associated with many of these attractions.

3. National Capital Trolley Museum

If you have never had a chance to see a streetcar, tram, or trolley — modes of transport once used for public transportation in many cities, including Washington, D.C. — this is your chance.
Local volunteers in the area have worked hard to preserve the history of streetcars, trams, and trolleys at the National Capital Trolley Museum. Their displays will captivate the attention of visitors of all ages. They even offer rides on the historic cars, which is sure to be a hit with children who love moving machines.
There is an admission fee and limited hours of operation. The National Capital Trolley Museum is located in Colesville, Md., 30 minutes north of Silver Spring. From time to time, they also hold community events with educational and age-appropriate hands-on opportunities for children, even as young as toddlers.

4. The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Adventure parks have grown in popularity in Europe, and as of 2011, they have a home in Sandy Spring, Md. (close to the National Capital Trolley Museum). If you have ever wanted to experience the view atop trees some 12, 20, or 65 feet off the ground, you will want to book time at The Adventure Park Sandy Spring.
They are open in the summer and fall, and children must be over age six. When created, The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring was one of only a few in the United States. Today, however, the venue boasts the title of the world's largest man-made outdoor climbing park. The park has 250 challenging ziplines and climbing obstacles of various difficulty levels.

5. Glen Echo Park Aquarium

The Chesapeake Bay is our country's largest estuary, meaning it is a body of water surrounded by land and connected to freshwater rivers and a saltwater ocean. You can visit this body of water to the east of the Washington, D.C., area.
Are the inner workings of the Chesapeake Bay of interest to you or your family? In that case, a visit to the Glen Echo Park Aquarium, 30 minutes west of Silver Spring on the Potomac River in Maryland, should be on your list. The aquarium is interactive, allowing visitors to get up close with the animals found in the Chesapeake Bay; you can even attend an animal feeding time by the staff of the aquarium. They schedule guided tours, so you must book in advance on their website. The aquarium is open year-round (with weekend hours in the winter). They also offer educational classes and camps.
The area surrounding the Glen Echo Park Aquarium is also worth a stop. A partnership between Montgomery County and the National Park Service, called Glen Echo Park, has worked to preserve the rich history of its arts and cultural origins. Among the offerings are a carousel, two children's theaters, and art studios and galleries.

6. Smithsonian's National Zoo

There are many well-known places to visit in the Washington, D.C., area. One great place to bring the kids is Smithsonian’s National Zoo. It is located near Rock Creek Park on the north side of central Washington, D.C.
There is no cost to enter the zoo, and it is open each day except Dec. 25. You should allow two hours to walk this 163-acre zoo and see the 2,700 animals that reside there. Some 25% of the animals at Smithsonian’s National Zoo currently are on the endangered species list.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country and is best known for its giant pandas, which you will not find in many other zoos around the United States. Giant pandas have been a part of the Smithsonian National Zoo since 1972. They were gifted in honor of President Nixon's trip to China.

7. Butler's Orchard

You do not need to travel far to find a little countryside and spend a relaxing day harvesting foods grown in the area. Butler's Orchard is in Germantown, Md., about 30 minutes northwest of Silver Spring. There are 300 acres where you can pick various fruits and vegetables, including blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, pumpkins, apples, peas, and potatoes. They also have flowers and trees for sale. You must make a reservation to visit the orchard.

8. The Puppet Co.

It is a special treat to find a theater company dedicated to the art of puppeteering. The Puppet Co. is part of the arts and cultural programs at Glen Echo Park. They are a non-profit theater group that has existed since 1983 and brings well-known children's stories to life with hand, rod, body, marionettes, and shadow puppets. You can enjoy a wide variety of stage productions at their 250-seat theater year-round. The Puppet Co. also offers educational workshops for children.

9. Dinosaur Park

Step back in time at Dinosaur Park. Here you will learn about dinosaurs that inhabited areas in and around Laurel, Md. (25 minutes from Silver Spring).
Dinosaur Park is an active site where fossils continue to be discovered. You can work with paleontologists to uncover new artifacts as a visitor on a guided program or at an open house. These offerings require visiting on certain days or with a reservation. You can visit the playground and garden observation area daily from sunrise to sunset.

10. Six Flags

Amusement parks are always an excellent solution for thrill-seeking in the summer and fall. Maryland is home to Six Flags America, an amusement park 30 minutes from Silver Spring. Six Flags Maryland, one of 27 such establishments in North America, is a 524-acre park with 54 attractions, including nine rollercoasters, three water rides, a water park, live shows, and rides geared to younger children.

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