Best Place to Take Children
Chesapeake Beach Water Park
Kids of all ages routinely fill Chesapeake Beach Water Park to luxuriate in a day in the sun, whipping down water slides, floating in a lazy river or frolicking under waterfalls. Daredevil older kids can conquer the enclosed quick tunnel slide, while younger siblings splash in shallow waters after slipping down the tongue of a frog. An occasional geyser snorts out from the center of the cool waters of a three-and-a-half-foot-deep pool brimming with an alligator, crab and snake float.
Dont bother bringing a cooler, rules prohibit it. But you wont go hungry. Theres a snack bar where you can get the typical hamburger/fries/soda fare along with Good Humor ice cream delights.
Plan to spend the day. No matter what your age, you wont get bored.
Best Toy Store
|Be Beep owner Jeff Franklin
Bay Countrys favorite toy store for the second year, Be-Beeps charm lies as much in whats missing as in whats there. Owners Jeff and Lee Franklin, both former teachers, have taken much care in choosing merchandise that stimulates rather than dictates the imagination. In doing so, they have created a browsers paradise. Theres no blaring music, no over-bright lights and few if any electronic noises croaking from hyper educational toys.
Much like an old general store, just a small stock of todays most wildly popular toys shares an intimate space with scores of dolls, animal statues and kid-sized tools and kitchen implements, to name a few of our favorites. What better tribute to Be Beeps Annapolis and Severna Park stores than this: No, honey, I dont want to leave either; but well come back later with your father.
Best Fish to Catch
Everybody Loves Rockfish
|Rich Barney and his kids caught this 34" Rock one Saturday night off Chesapeake Beach. They also caught several 16-20" rock and a trout for their Sunday dinner.
If your Mom or Dad is crazy about fishing, its probably rockfish which everybody outside Chesapeake Country calls striped bass theyre craziest about. There are three good reasons why.
First, rockfish come in three sizes: big, bigger and biggest. Rockfish live to grow. By its first birthday, a rockfish will be about 10 inches long. By its fourth, it will be 18 to 21 inches long and weigh from two to three pounds.
Bigger rockfish commonly weight 40 and more pounds. Thats as big as a four-year-old kid. The biggest rockfish ever seen weighed 125 pounds.
Second, the Bay is full of rockfish. There might not be a rockfish in every square foot of water, but hundreds of thousands are out there. Last year, fishermen like your Mom and Dad caught 381,095 rockfish in Maryland waters.
Third, rockfish are a prize. Youve got to put some thought, some know-how and some work into catching them. So when you succeed, you can pat yourself on the back. Whats more, your fish is likely to be so big that you give real thought to having it stuffed to hang on the wall as a trophy. On the other hand, you could just eat it and eat it and eat it. Yumm. Thats good fish.
Which is why, again this year, Bay Weekly readers call rockfish the Bays Best Fish to Catch.
Whether you call them mosquito hawks or dragonflies, they are definitely amazing insects! Kids 69, discover and learn about the fascinating lives of these aerial acrobats. 2pm @ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Grays Rd. off Sixes Rd., Prince Frederick. $3; rsvp: 410/535-5327.
Arundel Habitat for Humanity challenges kids and young adults to help needy families build simple, decent, affordable houses. 11am3pm @ Harbour Center Gazebo, Solomons Island Rd., Annapolis: 410/384-9212.
Discover the nighttime world of the refuge as you look and listen for nocturnal animals on this guided walk. 8-9:30pm @ Patuxent Research Refuge, on Rt. 198 between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and
Rt. 32. Rsvp: 301/497-5887.
More Than Mud
Families, join a naturalist to learn about the habitat formed by a swamp and what animals might live there. Be ready to get muddy. 1pm @ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Grays Rd. off Sixes Rd., Prince Frederick. $3; rsvp: 410/535-5327.
Bone Up On Dinosaurs
Ever wonder whether dinosaurs still walk the earth? Hear Dads Dinosaur Day and find out, then make a craft to take home. 10am @ Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center: 410/573-1115.