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5 Stops: Howard County, Maryland


An inviting combination of education, entertainment and recreation awaits student groups in Howard County. With its location between the nation’s capital and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Howard County offers varied activities to meet any curriculum.

“With a wealth of outdoor adventure, engaging history and culture, and fun experiences, Howard County is the ideal destination for student and other groups,” said Sally Slater, director of sales for Howard County Tourism. “Add in our proximity and incredible value, especially with hotel rates that are as much as one-third less than those in Washington, D.C., and Howard County becomes a perfect base for groups visiting our nation’s capital and the Baltimore area.”

In Howard County, fun is found around every corner. And every corner offers something just a little different. Students might find themselves on a hayride at a local farm, among the crowd at a Merriweather Post Pavilion concert, shopping for souvenirs at Columbia’s world-class shopping mall, immersing in history along Ellicott City’s Main Street or exploring the outdoors in over 30,000 acres of parkland. The possibilities are endless in Howard County.

Robinson Nature Center, Columbia, Md.

Photo: Howard County Tourism Robinson Nature Center, Columbia, Md.

1.Robinson Nature Center

Situated on 18 acres of forested land, the James & Anne Robinson Nature Center is a green-designed nature education center. All field trips include admission to the nature center, a naturalist-led program and time for students to explore. Add a planetarium experience in the Robinson NatureSphere to any field trip program and choose from one of several age-appropriate, full-dome presentations that explore concepts from planets and the birth of stars to constellations and molecular science.

Terrapin Adventures, Savage, Maryland Howard County

Photo: Clara Mankowski Terrapin Adventures, Savage, Md.

2.Terrapin Adventures

At Terrapin Adventures, students can soar through the air and defy gravity, while also building teamwork skills and confidence. While enjoying the great outdoors, students are entertained and educated by aerial adventure guides about the Chesapeake Bay watershed, local history and how to protect the environment. Course features include High Ropes Challenge Course, Zip Line, Terrapin Tower, Giant Swing and Low Ropes Challenge Course. Curriculum-based programs also are available.

3.Chesapeake Shakespeare Company-in-the-Ruins

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company-in-the-Ruins, Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, Ellicott City, Md. Howard County

Photo: Group Tour Media/Courtney Birchmeier Chesapeake Shakespeare Company-in-the-Ruins, Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, Ellicott City, Md.

Ruins located at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City are the setting for Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s outdoor summer performances.

The ruins are the stabilized historic remains of a Civil War-era finishing school for young women. The Baltimore-based theater company is known for producing entertaining and high-energy performances, in hopes to change how people think about Shakespeare. In summer 2018, they will perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

ManneqART Museum, Laurel, Md. Howard County

Photo: Karmen Osei ManneqART Museum, Laurel, Md.

4.ManneqART Museum

Plastic bags, duct tape, playing cards and coffee filters are just a few of the materials artists have used to create wearable ManneqART artworks. At the ManneqART Museum, more than 50 different life-size artworks are on display. MannneqART is an international arts and education nonprofit that inspires creativity, teaches problem-solving skills and rewards excellence in “Sculpture on the Human Form.” Students can browse the museum, meet founder and designer Lee Anderson, and participate in workshops.

Bob’s Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum, Jessup, Md. Howard County

Photo: Group Tour Media/Courtney Birchmeier Bob Henig, Bob’s Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum, Jessup, Md.

5.Bob’s Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum

Students can explore 3,500 square feet of BMW history at Bob’s Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum. Bob Henig himself, owner and “Chief Fingerprint Remover” leads groups though the showroom, which displays more than 80 vintage and classic BMW motorcycles, side cars, memorabilia and art. Henig’s collection includes factory-original BMWs from as far back as 1925, a 30- year-old “Slash 5” and motorcycles ridden by legends. Student group appointments must be made in advance. 

Howard County Tourism


About Author

Courtney Birchmeier, Editor in Chief

Courtney Birchmeier oversees the editorial department at Group Tour Media. With half a decade under her belt in the group travel industry, she's eager to connect tour operators and group leaders with new destinations. It's a great day at the office if her dog, a chow/lab mix named "Kiwi," is in tow. In her free time, she enjoys reading (for fun, with no red pen in hand), sampling craft beer (New Holland Brewing's "Dragon's Milk," anyone?) and adding new destinations to her travel bucket list (like Salzburg, Austria).   

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