Maryland is one of the few places where you can drive from the ocean to the mountains in one day... On a Sunday afternoon in May, three-month-old Nate Lowe had a first. His mom, Kenna, and dad, Yancy, carried him into a new world—Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Decked out in his Orioles onesie, bib and orange hat, he examined his surroundings. He listened as fans shouted the signature “Oh” during the National Anthem. His eyes widened as the Orioles mascot passed by. He even received a “Most Valuable Fan” certificate for attending his first game. The team lost, but the outcome wasn’t important.
“We had a good time and enjoyed the fact that we were letting him experience this so early in his life,” Kenna Lowe of Pasadena recalls.
So as a parent, how do you raise a Marylander? We scoured the area to find out.
This Land is Our Land
Maryland is full of beautiful scenery, so discover the land during all four seasons.
“If you want winter activities, you want to go skiing, you can head on up [to Western Maryland]. In the summertime, you plan your summer vacation around heading down to the beach,” says Camila Clark, Public Relations & Promotions Manager for the Maryland Office of Tourism.
In the winter, kids can learn to ski at Wisp Resort in McHenry. Then, in the summer, families often hit the beach. Many beaches line the Chesapeake Bay. But most Marylanders venture to the sandy shore of Ocean City.
“It’s really such a great family-friendly resort,” says Kathy Guerra, mother of three young children in Stevensville.
And don’t forget the space in between. Trek through one of the many State Parks to see leaves changing in the fall or birds welcoming the spring. If your little explorers crave an expedition, join the Maryland Park Service’s Park Quest outdoor adventure competition. Last summer’s contest focused on 24 State Parks across Maryland.
Treasure the Chesapeake
The Chesapeake Bay splits Maryland in two, and showing your children its splendor is essential. Swimming, sailing, boating, fishing and crabbing are opportunities to share with your waterbabies. “My kids really enjoy going out on the bay whenever we are able to,” Guerra says. “And just being on the water and seeing the boats and seeing the Bay Bridge from down below is really fun.”
Kids can also participate in hands-on educational activities focused on the bay at sites like the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville. Other museums, such as the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons and the Annapolis Maritime Museum, spotlight the heritage and history of their areas and the bay.
Enjoy the Fruits of the Sea
Eating seafood is almost a right of passage for Marylanders. We have relied on the Chesapeake Bay as a major source of food for centuries. Show your kids all the bounty the bay produces. Try cooking up the state fish, rockfish or shuck an oyster for your young connoisseurs. And what would summer be without blue crabs? Learning to eat this local delicacy is as Maryland as it gets. Round up the family, grab a mallet and prepare to get dirty for this delight.
“It’s not something that you get everywhere,” Clark says. “You don’t go to [Los Angeles] and sit and have crabs.”
Learning the history
The first settlers stepped foot in Maryland in the 1600s, laying the foundation for the state’s immense historical impact on the U.S. “We have so much rich history that is exclusive to us, and you can’t get it anywhere else,” Clark says.
From the birth of the National Anthem at Fort McHenry to Civil War battles, Maryland is packed with famous events from the past. Teaching children to appreciate the history helps them learn about themselves. “It’s where we live. It’s who we are. It defines where we’ve come from,” Guerra says.
Pack up the family and journey to historic Annapolis. Tour the State Capitol, the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use. And take pride in our military with a visit to the Naval Academy, founded in the 1800s, which serves as the training ground for officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
You can also travel to prehistoric times hunting for fossils at Calvert Cliffs State Park or Flag Ponds Nature Park in Lusby.
Show Your Team Colors
Whether its baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse or another sport, Maryland has it all, ranging from youth to professional leagues. And with each new season, Marylanders show their spirit for their beloved teams.
Take your child out to a ballgame. Cheer on the Baltimore Ravens or the University of Maryland football teams battling it out on the gridiron. Watch the Bowie Baysox hit homeruns. Or applaud Navy Lacrosse players as they shoot and score goals.
Teams like the Baltimore Orioles even offer programs for children like an official kids’ club. “Many parents, especially when it comes to the Junior Orioles Dugout Club, they’ll come up to us and say they remember being a member of that club when they were kids. So it’s neat to carry on that tradition through the generations,” says Monica Barlow, Director of Public Relations for the Baltimore Orioles.
At seven months old, Nate Lowe had already been to seven Orioles games. But his first will always be memorable. His mom, Kenna, plans to put his “Most Valuable Fan” certificate in a scrapbook to cherish the moment forever.
It’s just one of the many milestones he’ll reach as a resident of the great state of Maryland.
by Kim Polyniak