After school’s out, summer seems to fly by, with vacations, summer camp, sports clinics, team games and everything else. But every year, when fall starts, many wish they had done just a few more family outings or taken advantage of the many activities in and around Potomac.
Here are some fun family leisure opportunities that shouldn’t be missed this summer. Start planning now for a memorable summer.
WOLF TRAP CHILDREN’S THEATRE-IN-THE-WOODS
Every summer, the Wolf Trap Foundation and National Park Service present Wolf Trap’s beloved outdoor theatre for children, which has been a tradition for generations. At Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, summer is all about music, dance, puppetry, and storytelling. Performances run from late June through mid-August and begin at 10:30 a.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Shows are approximately 45 – 60 minutes in length and are recommended for children ages 4 and up. To learn more, go to www.wolftrap.org/woods.
LOCUST GROVE NATURE PROGRAMS
From story time under the giant Sycamore to adult Friday Forays around the county, Locust Grove programs delight and inform visitors of all ages. Wander the trails, enjoy the observation deck, explore the exhibits indoors and out, or discover the wonder of the center's natural playground. Some of its summer programs include a campfire and nature walk on June 13 at 6:30 p.m., a Father’s Day program from 1 – 2:30 p.m. on June 15 called “Wild Dads,” and an Evening Stream Splash and Campfire on June 21 at 5:30 p.m. Check out its website and sign up for family adventures. Go to http://www.montgomeryparks.org/nature_centers/locust/#. Locust Grove is located next to the Cabin John Indoor Tennis Courts at 7777 Democracy Blvd. Bethesda. Call 301-299-1990.
GUIDED TRAIL RIDES AND RIDING LESSONS
One doesn’t have to live in the mountains to experience horseback riding on scenic trails. Enjoy the beauty of the Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park with a guide from the Potomac Horse Center. The center also features riding lessons, dressage, clinics, summer camps, therapeutic riding, birthday parties and more. Check them out at www.potomachorse.com. They are located at 14211 Quince Orchard Rd, North Potomac and their phone number is 301- 208-0200.
HIKE BILLY GOAT TRAIL
There is nothing more fun than hitting the Billy Goat Trail, just off the C&O Canal near Old Angler’s Inn. Scramble over the boulders and hike through the forest, ending up on a high peak overlooking the rapids of the Potomac River.
Take a picnic lunch and marvel at the views while basking in the sunshine. The trail is in three sections that total 4.7 miles altogether — about 4 hours from start to finish if hiking all three sections. To learn more about the trail and hiking opportunities, visit www.nps.gov/.../greatfallstraildescriptions.
PLAN A FAMILY CAMP NIGHT
Campers can spend a night roughing it in Potomac. The Robert C. McDonell Campground, located in Cabin John Park offers seven walk-in primitive sites. Campsites feature grills, tables, a campfire circle and pit toilets. There are two tent pads on each site. Depending on the site, up to 10 campers can be accommodated. To reserve a campsite, go to http://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks_facilities_directory/cabinjohnrpcampground.shtm
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE
Kick off the weekend by dancing under the stars, dining while listening to live music, or bringing the children and friends to enjoy the music and frolic in the fountains in Rockville Town Square every Friday evening from 6:30 – 9 p.m. A variety of genres keep the crowds on their feet, swinging and swaying to pop/rock hits, Irish rock, Americana Country, Blues and Soul and more. Check out the full schedule of entertainment at www.rockvilletownsquare.com.
BOHRER PARK WATER PARK, SKATEBOARD PARK OR MINIATURE GOLF
Located in Gaithersburg, the pool is like a dream vacation on an island resort with palm trees, multiple slides, floatable animals, and a “tumble bucket” water feature for children to enjoy. The pool also has a zero-depth entry, making it accessible to all. A major attraction at the water park (for those 48 inches and taller) is the double water slide that is 250 feet long and twists and turns into the main pool. For the adventuresome, the blue slide offers a breathtakingly fast ride, while the white slide offers a tamer, slower water journey. Bohrer Park also has a 12,300-square-foot skate park, designed for skateboards, inline skates and BMX bikes as well as a miniature golf course. To find out more, go to www.gaithersburgmd.gov.