Each spring, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning plants a garden right outside the doors of their headquarters at the Royce Hanson Urban Park. It isn’t large, but it is a good way for city dwellers to show kids where their food comes from. All of the seeds and plants are labeled for learning. Come summer harvest, the community is invited to partake of the garden bounty.
On almost every block, Silver Spring has a paved courtyard or square that the community is free to enjoy. But literally across the street from the district boundary, Silver Spring has three parks to play in. Fairview Road, Woodside Park, and Ellsworth Park all have kid friendly playground equipment. Woodside Park even features a skate park.
Fill up your water bottles in the courtyard outside of The Fenwick apartment building and take a bike ride on the nearby Capital Crescent Trail. The Fenwick’s visitor friendly outdoor space is a public amenity which features moveable bird housed by artist Margaret Boozer and a neat water filling station for bikers.
From late June – early August, Silver Spring hosts free kids games and a family raffle at the Thursday night Summer Concerts on Veterans Plaza. Parents can relax to some great tunes while the kids work off their energy.
Silver Spring often has buskers performing on street corners throughout the Arts and Entertainment District. Family friendly children’s entertainment can often be found at the Saturday morning farmers market on Ellsworth Drive.
Easily the coolest summer spot for tikes in Silver Spring, this water fountain is made to be played in. Designed by artist Deirdre Saunders, Downtown Silver Spring keeps the fountain water as chlorinated and clean as a swimming pool. Parents can lounge around with a frothy coffee drink while the children run in and out of the spray.
The running man, the moonwalk or the robot…Friday night concerts at Silver Plaza are a great way for parents to show their kids their smooth dance moves.
Discovery Communications offers plenty of entertainment and things to see even for people who don’t work for Discovery. There is a Tyrannosaurus Rex right in the lobby. The skeleton is one of the most famous dinosaurs that roamed America about 65 to 67 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period. He is named after Stan Sacrison, the man who discovered the T. Rex. Stan can be seen through the windows of the lobby. Stan was about 40 feet long, the length of a school bus. He stood about 20 feet high (12 feet from the hips) and weighed a massive 5 to 7 tons. Visitors must sign in at the front desk for admittance.
The Discovery Communications lobby also boasts an audio kinetic ball machine by George Rhoades. This Rube Goldberg-like contraption has bouncing balls, ringing bells, moving gorillas, video screens, and whirl-i-gigs galore. Kids will love the weirdness and parents can’t help but track the progress of the machine. It is a sensory overload that is worth the trip. Visitors must sign in at the front desk for admittance.
Picnic at the NOAA courtyard and watch the tide come in at Coastline. Known to locals as “the wave pool,” Coastline is actually an educational tool that exemplifies the mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Using the power of the seas as an inspiration, Jim Sanborn developed a water environment/ornamental foundation which replicates a 65 foot section of coastline with its wave action. In front of Coastline is a wide pool of water running parallel to the coast.