Parents' night out: Awesome alternatives to a babysitter

Nothing beats a place where you can leave the kids for an awesome fun time while you and your spouse get a night out alone.

When my family first moved to the Annapolis area, we were at a loss for babysitters, but then we discovered a cool little secret: the gymnastics center where our daughters took classes had a Parent's Night Out program every week.

For a reasonable fee, our girls could play with friends and have a ton of fun while my husband and I went out for a nice dinner and a movie or a walk around downtown Annapolis.

Parents Night Out MyGymWParents' Night Out at My Gym in AnnapolisIf you are itching for a little adult time but don't know what to do with the kids, you are in luck. There are a number of places in the Baltimore/Annapolis area that offer engaging programs for kids, and most cost even less than hiring a babysitter. Here are a few to try.

Fun places with Parents' Night Out

Westfield Annapolis
Grab some dinner, catch a movie or just stroll through the mall window shopping together while your little one spends time at KidCare, located near Pottery Barn in the mall. From iPads and a Wii to crafts and games, your kids won't get bored.
KidCare is a state-licensed childcare facility, so all staff hold current First Aid/CPR certification. Only 15 kids can attend at one time, and it's first come first serve. If it is full, you can add your name to a waiting list and get called when a spot opens up. Keep in mind, weekends are especially popular.
Hours: Seven days a week during mall hours, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Rate: $7 per child for up to two hours and $7 for the third hour. Three hour maximum. $50 monthly membership with unlimited use for up to four children (two hours per visit).
Ages: 3-9, must be potty-trained.
2002 Annapolis Mall Rd., Annapolis


My Gym, Various locations
Take advantage of the opportunity to leave the kids for a night of games, crafts, hands-on activities and more at Parent's Night Out at a My Gym. Kids get to spend time in the gym, which includes climbing equipment, slides, swings, floor mats and blocks. Each session has a theme with special activities. Reservations are highly encouraged as there is a limit for the evening, and some locations may offer a discount for early registration.
Hours: Monthly, contact the specific location
Rate: Varies, with discounts for siblings
Ages: 2½-8, must be potty-trained
Annapolis, 410-573-9899; Crofton, 410-774-5424; Columbia, 410-290-7008; Waldorf, 301-932-8000

1st Class Gymnastics, Annapolis
With rope swings, foam block pits, trampolines and plenty of space to run, climb and bounce, your kids might not even realize you're gone when they attend 1st Class Gymnastics Date Night for Parents. There are plenty of staff members to make sure kids are safe and having fun. Snacks are available to purchase or kids can bring their own. Reservations are not required because of the volume of kids that can be accommodated. Registration drop-off begins 15 minutes prior to the event.
Hours: Every Friday and Saturday, 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Rate: $20, 1st Class members; $24, non-members. Fees are prorated at pickup if you use less than 4 hours.
Ages: 4 and up.
451 Defense Hwy.

Silver Stars Gymnastics, Bowie
Kids can climb on monkey bars and ropes, play organized games, jump on trampolines and run around in Silver Stars' 18,000-square-foot facility during Kids' Night Out. A moon bounce adds to the fun, and pizza can be added for an additional fee. Reservations are available by phone or on the website.
Hours: First and third Saturdays, 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Rate: $20 with advanced registration; $25 at the door.
Ages: 3 1/2-12; children must be potty-trained.
14201 Woodcliff Court

The Clay Bakers, Annapolis and EastonThe Clay Bakers, Annapolis and Easton
Kids can hang out with friends, paint to their hearts' content and eat plenty of pizza at Clay Bakers' Kid's Night Out. Projects vary from painting pottery or canvas to working with glass. For older kids, Clay Bakers offers a Tween Night with unlimited pizza and soda while painting. Reservations are suggested because space is limited.
Kid's Night Out Hours: Annapolis, third Friday of the month; Easton, first Friday of the month; 6-8 p.m.
Tween Night Hours: Annapolis, second Friday of the month; Easton, second Saturday of the month; 6-9 p.m.
Rate: $20 for the project and pizza; Tween Night has no cover charge.
Ages: Kid's Night Out, 6 and older; Tween Night, 10-14.
1 S. Washington St., Easton; 410-770-9091
151 Main St., Annapolis; 410-990-0244

Rolly Pollies, Crofton and Severna Park
With a moon bounce, rock wall, zip line and swing to play on, your kids will be worn out after Parent's Night Out and supervised free play in the gym. An age-appropriate movie is an option, and snacks are provided. Call ahead for reservation and check the website for specific dates and times at each location.
Hours: Fridays, 7-9:30 p.m.
Rate: $25/one child, $15/each additional child
Ages: 3-8, must be potty-trained
476 D Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-544-9002
1612 Professional Blvd., Unit C, Crofton; 410-721-3780

The Brick House, Annapolis
If your kids love building with Legos, they will have access to thousands at The Brick House — along with costumes, slot cars, a tree house play area, games and movies. And you won't have to worry about stepping on Legos at home. Pizza and cupcakes are included in the Parent's Night Out. Reservations are required since space is limited. Drop-off slots are also available other times.
Hours: Parent's Night Out – Fridays, 6:30-9 p.m.; call for drop-off availability
Rate: Parent's Night Out – $30/one child, $15/additional for siblings only; drop-off is $10/child per hour.
Ages: 4 and up, must be potty trained
129 Lubrano Drive, Suite L103, Annapolis; 410-571-3089,

After School Karate Academy, Bowie
Kids enjoy free time playing in the studio, and they may also go off-site for bowling, go-karting or to a movie. Dinner is included and reservations are encouraged.
Hours: One Friday a month, 7-10 p.m.
Rate: $25/child
Ages: 5 and up
6950 Laurel Bowie Rd., Bowie; 301-805-8721,

Click next below for more places with Parents' Night Out

More places with Parents' Night Out

Benfield Sportscenter, MillersvilleParents Night OutW
All ages will enjoy different sports activities during the monthly Parent's Night Out at Benfield Sportscenter. Call for specific dates.
Hours: Once a month, 6-10:30 p.m.
Rate: $10/child
Ages: 5-13 years
1031 Benfield Blvd., Millersville; 410-987-5100,

SkyZone, ColumbiaSky
Drop your tween or younger teen off for active fun in an indoor trampoline park where kids can bounce, flip and land in a pit of 5,000 foam cubes.
Hours: Fridays, 9-10:30 p.m.
Rates: $19/child
Ages: 10-15
7175 Oakland Mills Rd., Columbia; 443-546-4477,

All Sport Kids Academy, Gambrills
Kids, tweens and young teens can enjoy a night full of sports-related activities while you have a night out.
Hours: 6-10 p.m. quarterly or as needed
Rate: $15-20/child
Ages: 6-14 years
740 Md. Route 3 South, Gambrills; 410-923-2100,

Severna Park Gymnastics, Arnold
Kids can run and play during open gym.
Hours: Firdays, 7-8:30pm, starting Sept. 4
Rate: $15/child
Ages: 5 years and up
1244 Ritchie Hwy., Suite 11, Arnold; 410-709-8130

Bricks Galore and More
Themed nights include dinner (usually pizza and fruit) with a Lego-based cartoon,themed free building and a Lego game. Registration required.
Hours: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Fridays monthly; call or check website for upcoming dates.
Rate: $35 and $25 for siblings
Ages: 5 and older
2142 Priest Bridge Court, Ste. 10, Crofton; 443-292-4894

Ladybug's Kids Glam Spa
Kids can come in their pajamas for a movie night with special glow-in-the-dark chairs and arts and crafts. Dinner of pizza and fruit is included. Add-on activities for an additional cost include make your own lip gloss, sugar scrub, T-shirt, manicure or pedicure and other specials.
Hours: Every Friday, 5-9:30 p.m. Call the Wednesday before to register.
Rate: $20 per child with additional cost for extra activities
Ages: 2-14 years
2137 Defense Hwy., Ste. 6, Crofton; 301-257-4045

Odenton Sports Center
Kids enjoy unlimited sports play, a movie and popcorn during Parent's Night Outs, which are usually the last Friday of the month. Register online in advance or walk in for an additional fee.
Teen Friday Nights for ages 10-15 are also held monthly.
Hours: Monthly on Friday, 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Rate: Parent's Night Out, $12 first child and $10 for sibling. Walk-in fee is $5 more per child. Teen Friday Nights, $15 per teen.
Ages: 3 and older, potty trained for Parent's Night Out; ages 10-15 for Teen Friday Night.
8266 Lokus Rd., Ste. 105, Odenton; 410-874-7260

Big Vanilla Athletic Club
Kids can swim, play games, watch movies and eat pizza. Registration online or at the front desk by 6 p.m. the Wednesday before.
Hours: Fridays, Sept. 11, Oct. 2, Nov. 6, Dec. 4, 2015; 5:30-9:30pm
Rate: $25, member child, $20 additional sibling; $30 nonmember child, $25 additional sibling.
Ages: 4-13
26 Magothy Beach Road, Pasadena; 443-305-9618

South River Martial Arts
Take a martial arts class, have pizza, watch a movie, play video games and much more.
Occasional Friday nights, 6-10 p.m.
Rate: $20, member child; $25 non member child.
Ages; 4 and up.
20 Mayo Road, Edgewater; 410-956-7700

If you are a member of a fitness facility, check with your specific gym to see whether it offers a Parent's Night Out program.

By Regina Verow and staff members