Winter Fun for Kids on the Chesapeake Bay

Until young sailors return to the waterfront, keep them busy and happy with some nature-based fun. Here are just a few of the many options.

Maple sugaring is one of many water to keep kids connected to nature during winter. Photo courtesy of Oregon Ridge Nature Center.“A favorite activity of the of the Oregon Ridge maple sugaring program is ‘Sugar on the Snow,’ also known as Maple Taffy or Jack Wax,” says Kathy Kadow of the Oregon Ridge Nature Center in Cockeysville, MD. “Hot maple syrup is poured onto snow or ice where it turns into a taffy candy.” Maple sugaring season ends with an old-fashioned pancake breakfast March 4 and 5. 

Saturdays in February the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) offers hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) exploration of Chesapeake-related themes for children ages four to nine. A small fee is charged, but discounted four-session passes are available, and scholarships for individual classes are available. Registration required.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, which serves as headquarters for Patuxent River Park, has a wonderful nature play space adjacent to its visitor center, and the park has a new 36-foot observation tower, offering a great spot for viewing wildlife along the river. Both sites have naturalists and educators on staff who offer guided programs.

Gunpowder Falls State Park in Middle River, MD, will offer a drop-in program for nature crafts February 18. Kids and their guardians are invited to explore seasonal topics and make crafts with park staff.

Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Where else but the Smithsonian could you find a live coral reef, tarantula feeding, and the biggest blue diamond, all under one roof?

Skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and ice-skating. Families have plenty of opportunities to ski or skate in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Almost all ski businesses and ice rinks rent equipment. Skis, snowshoes, and sleds may be rented at Maryland’s New Germany and Herrington Manor State Parks.

Virginia’s state parks offer loads of activities for children of all ages and their families. Choose from birding and hiking to crafts by the fire, and more. Check them out at