Family-Friendly Places to Visit When the Kids Head Back to School August 31, 2020 by MATPRA Admin (Mid-Atlantic Region, August 31, 2020) — As many children will head back to school virtually this year, now is the perfect time to extend their educational experiences and take learning beyond the online classroom. From sites where America’s history unfolded, to outdoor opportunities where people can connect to the environment, the Mid-Atlantic is filled with ways to bring those textbook lessons to life. For more information on any of the following, contact the destination marketing organization listed below. For general information on the Mid-Atlantic, visit MATPRA.org DELAWARE Delaware’s Quaint Villages Step back into the 18th Century with a visit to Delaware’s Quaint Villages’ First State Heritage Park. Here, students can learn about Dover’s vibrant history and how Delaware became the First State. Or learn about aviation history at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover. Delaware’s Quaint Villages (Kent County, DE), Danielle Jonigan, VisitDelawareVillages.com, [email protected] MARYLAND State of Maryland Maryland is the perfect destination for family-friendly activities this fall, from exploring Maryland’s Civil War Trails to traveling along one of Maryland’s 18-themed scenic byways. Explore Network to Freedom sites as September is International Underground Railroad Month was Maryland is the most powerful Underground Railroad storytelling destination in the world. Maryland Office of Tourism, Matthew Scales, VisitMaryland.org, [email protected] Calvert County Explore Southern Maryland’s unique history and ecology at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. Always free and safely located on 560 acres, join the Scavenger Hunt along our new Layers of Time Trail through a Woodland Indian Village, riverfront boardwalk, and colonial farm at the King’s Reach archaeological site. Calvert County Department of Economic Development, Hilary Dailey, ChooseCalvert.com, [email protected] Cecil County Time travel at Mt. Harmon Plantation and Nature Preserve! Experience the Education & Discovery Center, beautiful historic plantation, and living history campus with nature trails; Located at World’s End, this historic gem combines outdoor recreation, waterfront, wildlife, family friendly events, and heritage. Cecil County Tourism, Sandy Turner, SeeCecil.org, [email protected] Montgomery County (MD) Learning opportunities are abundant at Glen Echo Park. This former historic amusement park with original Art Deco architecture is now home to 13 resident artists and arts organizations, a restored 1921 Dentzel Carousel, two award-winning children’s theaters, a weekend drop-in art program for children, a nature program and more. Visit Montgomery, MD, Cory Van Horn, VisitMontgomery.com/ag-reserve/, [email protected] Wicomico County See animals native to North America, South America and Australia at the Salisbury Zoo, which has free admission. Right nearby is the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, which houses the world’s largest public decoy collection. Learn about the early 19th century with a visit to Poplar Hill Mansion. Wicomico County, Vanessa Junkin, WicomicoTourism.org, [email protected] PENNSYLVANIA Allegheny National Forest The Kinzua Sky Walk is “One of the Top 10 most Scenic Skywalks in the World,” according to Culture Trip, U.K. Explore northwestern Pennsylvania to discover the skywalk and the majestic beauty of the Allegheny National Forest, known as Trail Central™ because of the over 600+ miles of multi-purpose trails. Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, Linda Devlin, VisitANF.com, [email protected] Bradford County Discover a museum in the former county jail! After 118 years of service, the massive stone structure was transferred to the Bradford County Historical Society in 1998. The museum features two floors of exhibits arranged in what the former cellblocks. The third floor features a historical research library and archives. Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency, Morgan Christopher, VisitBradfordCounty.com, [email protected] Butler County Jennings Environmental Education Center provides a unique combination of prairie and forest. The prairie is the only PA protected one. By exploring Jennings trail network you’ll enjoy the outdoors while learning the skills needed to be good stewards of our natural resources. Recently Jennings installed an award-winning interactive indoor exhibit. Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, Jack Cohen, VisitButlerCounty.com, [email protected] Columbia-Montour Counties Visit Columbia & Montour Counties with the whole family! Kids can explore, learn, and play at the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum. Enjoy family fun with a trip into the Pioneer Tunnel, the Rolling Hills Red Deer Farm, or with a visit to the nationally renowned Knoebels Amusement Resort. Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau, Linda Sones, ITourColumbiaMontour.com, [email protected] Endless Mountains Old Mill Village Museum was founded to preserve the region’s rich heritage. A center of education and history, the site showcases crafts and artifacts of the late 18th through the early 20th centuries. The Village presents themed events throughout the year that bring different aspects of history and heritage alive. Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau, Morgan Christopher, EndlessMountains.org, [email protected] Montgomery County (PA) From Elmwood Park Zoo, to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia, indoor skydiving, almost 100 miles of trails, and dozens of parks and historic sites, including, of course, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA offer so many kid-friendly adventures for anyone traveling with little ones in tow of all ages, and interests. Visit Valley Forge, Rachel Riley, http://www.valleyforge.org/things-to-do/kid-friendly, [email protected] Pocono Mountains Find fresh air activities for the entire family in the Pocono Mountains that get kids offline and outdoors. Experience nature at Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC), a stone’s throw from the Delaware River. Lacawac Sanctuary near Lake Wallenpaupack serves as an outdoor classroom with a field station and nature trails. Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, James Hamill, PoconoMountains.com, [email protected] Potter County – Tioga County The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum offers fun and education for the entire family. The museum invites visitors to discover the courageous spirit of Pennsylvania’s lumbering past while learning to care for the forests of the future. Onsite lumber camp, sawmill and log cabin are some of the educational exhibits to experience. Visit Potter-Tioga, Morgan Christopher, VisitPotterTioga.com, [email protected] VIRGINIA Giles County It’s time to play! In Virginia’s Mountain Playground, family friendly experiences include staying at Walker Creek Retreat and fishing in our youth friendly fishing ponds, or at Kairos in luxury yurt accommodations with off-road trails the whole family can enjoy. Mountain Lake Lodge offers Treetop Adventures and geology lessons too! Giles County, VA Tourism, Cora Gnegy, VirginiasMtnPlayground.com, [email protected] Hampton Take your learning from the Sea to the Stars by visiting Hampton attractions. Experience history, adventure, and a water expedition by visiting three locations for one low price. Explore the Virginia Air & Space Center, Hampton History Museum, and the Chesapeake Bay aboard Miss Hampton Harbor Cruise. Hampton Convention and Visitor Bureau, VisitHampton.com/sea-to-stars-tickets, [email protected] Harrisonburg Explore more at home with Explore More Discovery Museum! The staff is busy creating innovative ways that be explored together, while apart. With over 30 different themes, you’ll unlock hours of fun-filled activities. From building a fort to learning about rainbows, there’s always more time to explore! Harrisonburg Tourism & Visitor Services, Jessica Williams, VisitHarrisonburgVA.com, [email protected] Lexington & Rockbridge Natural Bridge State Park, VA is the perfect place for kids to experience plants and critters within the 1,530-acre park. The 215 ft. tall Natural Bridge soars over the universally accessible Cedar Creek Trail. Seven miles of trails, and an official Kids in Park TRACK Trail, provide endless outdoor exploration. Lexington & Rockbridge Area Tourism, Patty Williams, LexingtonVirginia.com/outdoors, [email protected] Norfolk Norfolk’s family-friendly attractions allow children to take learning beyond the classroom. Learn to sail on the river at Nauticus, burn energy and explore ecosystems on the 10.5-mile Elizabeth River Trail, meet and greet animals at the Virginia Zoo and discover wildlife at the 175-acre Norfolk Botanical Garden. Visit Norfolk, Nicole Nussbaum, VisitNorfolk.com, [email protected] Prince William County American History runs deep in Prince William, Virginia where families can spend a weekend learning in the great outdoors; hiking through Manassas National Battlefield Park, where the Civil War began and biking through Prince William Forest Park learning about the spy training camp that was there during WWI & II. Prince William County Office of Tourism, Nicole Warner, VisitPWC.org, [email protected] Shenandoah County The North Fork of the Shenandoah River winds lazily back and forth over 100 miles within Shenandoah County. There are plenty of opportunities for ecological and environmental learning through the Friends of Seven Bends State Park, a volunteer organization for education about everything from conservation to wildlife, soil and water. Shenandoah County Tourism, Jenna French, VisitShenandoahCounty.com, [email protected] Virginia’s Blue Ridge History and outdoor adventures abound in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Find both at Booker T. Washington National Monument, where one of America’s most iconic Black leaders was born into slavery. Experience interactive learning through the NPS Junior Ranger program, walking historic trails, and an 1850s plantation complete with farm animals. Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Taylor Spellman, VisitVBR.com, [email protected] WEST VIRGINIA Hampshire County With 4,700 acres of wild, wonderful scenery, Capon Springs & Farms offers plenty of space to spread out, play and relax. Come discover ancient sea fossils and Native American petroglyphs. Feed the pigs and catch a fish. WV residents receive WV Strong special of 30% off this all-inclusive resort experience. Hampshire County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jonathan Bellingham, ComeToHampshire.com, [email protected] About the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance The Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance (MATPRA) is a cohesive unit of regional tourism partners encompassing Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The group serves travel journalists by creating a regional resource that ignores geographical boundaries to better promote common threads, offering story ideas about the Mid-Atlantic region as a whole. For more information, visit MATPRA.org.