Attractions for Kids in Columbia, MD

by Brianna Byrne

A sprawling city with more than 100,000 residents and nine villages, Columbia, Maryland, has many attractions to engage visitors and residents of any age. For kids, opportunities range from the educational and artistic to the recreational and entertaining. Museums, a dinner theater, parks and laser tag are just some of the attractions geared toward kids in Columbia.

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Learning

Certain attractions in Columbia all but guarantee an educationally valuable experience for young visitors. Among these, the African Art Museum of Maryland (africanartmuseum.org) offers a multitude of exhibits celebrating African styles and artists. Though the museum is open to all community members, it also hosts events specifically for kids and families that include hands-on art activities and craft-making. Historic Oakland (historic-oakland.com) also offers an opportunity for kids to learn. This house dates back to 1811, presenting kids with a glimpse at the past. What's more, the house hosts play groups for children twice a week, where young children up to 4 years of age and parents can get together and play for a few hours in this historic setting.

The Arts

Families with an appreciation for the arts also have a few options in Columbia. Toby's Dinner Theatre (tobysdinnertheatre.com) offers guests a buffet meal while they watch a popular musical or play. Past performances have included "Chicago" and seasonal family fare such as "White Christmas." Toby's also has musicals for younger kids on select days, including favorites such as "Charlotte's Web" and "Peter Rabbit." The Columbia Association Art Center (columbiaartcenter.org) also provides artistic opportunities for kids. With galleries for art appreciation and daylong sessions where children can create something artistic, this attraction could help get young visitors and residents involved in the visual arts.

Recreation

Columbia also has opportunities for outdoor recreation. The city is home to a number of parks with walking paths, pavilions and picnic areas. For kids who like sports, Columbia Sportspark (columbiasportspark.org) is an especially good choice. This outdoor complex and park features mini-golf, batting cages, and a skate park with periodic competitions. The park also welcomes groups and children celebrating birthdays.

Amusement

Other Columbia attractions simply offer up amusement and entertainment to kids, including ShadowLand Adventures Laser Tag (shadowlandadventures.com). This dark, indoor course offers opportunities for the entire family to work together to beat the opposing team, and challenging puzzles to solve. For families who visit Columbia in wintertime, admiring the city's Symphony of Lights might be an enjoyable way to get into the holiday spirit. Each year, the city features approximately 70 light creations in Columbia's Symphony Woods. Guests can either drive past or walk through this colorful display.

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