One of the biggest perks of this whole parenting gig is having a ready excuse to go to the park. Monday night after dinner. Thursdays just because. Heck if we want to we can spend the whole day at a park, maybe even overnight. We’re the bosses now.  No matter how much time you have for the park it all starts with finding your Baltimore park.

This year the U.S National Park Service is marking it’s 100th anniversary this summer by encouraging people to get out and,”Find Your Park.” Visit Baltimore has teamed up to make finding your Baltimore park both easy and fun. Throughout the summer, city residents and visitors are invited to take part in a calendar full of exciting events taking place at more than 200 parks, trails and scenic byways in Baltimore, from Fort McHenry and Patterson Park, to Druid Hill Park and the Gwynns Falls Trail. These outdoor events include food and wine festivals, sports and historic commemorations. Oh, and free movies too.  Because nothing beats a movie in the park… well, except a free movie in the park.  

“Baltimore, designated a National Heritage Area by President Obama, is one of the National Park Service’s most prized urban heritage areas because of the sheer number of parks and trails that have historical significance,” said Jeff Buchheit, Executive Director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area. “Residents and visitors can ‘Find Their Park’ right in the city by celebrating National Trails Day, exploring one of our historical Heritage Area walking tours, or participate in our Kids in Kayaks program.” 

Here are a few ideas for putting some (cool) into finding, exploring and enjoying Baltimore area parks.

find your park in baltimore 

Celebrate Flag Day at Fort McHenry

On June 14, 2016 come see the Star-Spangled Banner waving o’er the historic ramparts of Fort McHenry. “Find your Park” on the 239th anniversary of the American Flag and the 100th birthday of the National Park Service with a visit to Fort McHenry! The highlight will be at Noon with a special musical performance by the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps from Fort Meyer, Virginia.

Retrace the Steps of the War of 1812

The Baltimore heritage area covers roughly 22 square miles and includes the historic neighborhoods around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Visit the National Park Service site and pick a new area to explore each week. By the end of summer the kids will have an epic, What I Did This Summer story to tell. {extra points with the history teacher, boom!}

Have a Picnic

Pick a park -Patterson, Druid Hill, Federal Hill, Canton Waterfront – any park, and get picnic packing! Keep it simple with just a few favorite snacks, or stop by your favorite eatery {Atwater’s makes a mean movable feast} and grab something to go. A blanket, some sips, bubbles and a ball, and you’re all set.

Be Your Own Lorax

Help Parks & People care care for newly planted trees on the Gwynns Falls Trail by keeping invasive vines in check. No experience necessary. Parks & People will provide all of the training and tools. This is hands-on job that is perfect way for the wee ones to feel like they’re doing their part to speak for the trees. For more info on the program stop by the Gwynns Falls website.

Find Fido a Park

The family pooch digs a park too, but let’s face it the leash life can be a bit restraining. A dog park is the perfect way for your fury family member to enjoy an outing as much as you do. The Canton Dog Park is fenced area where dogs can run off leash and socialize in a safe and secure area. It’s a place for people and dogs to relax, exercise and socialize. {just leave the sniffing to the canines, m’kay?}

Make it a (cool) adventure

Rock it at an outdoor concert. Become a Jr. Park Ranger. Paddle the harbor. We’ve got tons of ideas for finding your Baltimore park and your adventurous side in our Summer Adventure Guide. Check out our 77 Things to Do with Kids this Summer. It is positively packed with fun in the parks and beyond.

Enjoy the perks of parenthood and head out to the park!