Legos, video games and tea parties. Even the most hands-on dads tire of these tried-and-true kiddie activities. But a day out doesn’t have to mean a few pushes on a swing at the local playground before a stop at the nearby burger chain. Here’s where pops and kiddos alike can go to get their sillies out—and then refuel.
Flight Trampoline Park
Bouncing off the walls at home? Go where you can actually do that. This 26,000-square-foot facility in Springfield, Va., has more than 50 connected trampolines, dodge ball courts and a foam-block pit. On weekdays when school is in session, kids ages 0 to 6 can jump from 10 am to 2 pm for $10 an hour, and accompanying adults jump free. Open jump ($11 for 30 minutes, $15 for an hour, $25 for two hours) is available to anyone from 2 pm to 9 pm and on weekends. On Friday and Saturday nights, the place goes dark and the lasers start flashing during Club Flight ($11 for half an hour, $15 for an hour or $18 for two hours), for ages 14 and up.
7200 Fullerton Rd. (Springfield, Va)
Best known for its 330-foot Zip Line ($15 per ride) that propels riders as fast as 20 mph at heights of 30 feet through trees, this Savage, Md., park also offers a 40-foot-high High Ropes Challenge Course ($49 for up to two hours) and guided biking, caving, kayaking, river tubing and night hikes. While you’re hurtling yourself through nature, try the Giant Swing ($10 per rider). After climbing a 4-foot scaffolding, riders release the swing and soar with 2 G’s of force. For most activities, kids need to be at least 8.
Historic Savage Mill
8600 Foundry St. (Savage, Md)
Photo: Climb Zone USA
This isn’t your mom’s climbing gym. Here, you can scale Jack’s giant beanstalk, Mount Rushmore, the Empire State Building, the bones of a T-Rex or any of 70 themed walls—all made of colorfully painted plywood, not plastic like the fake-rock walls at most climbing gyms. Also, hydraulic automatic belay systems mean Dad doesn’t have to help the kid(s) down. He can climb along instead. Open since November, the 11,000-square-foot ClimbZone welcomes climbers ages 3 and up. No previous climbing experience—or gracefulness—necessary.
13200 Mid Atlantic Blvd. (Laurel, Md)
Photo: A H. via Yelp
Boating in D.C.
If not defying gravity is more your style, take to the waters with the latest trend in navigating the Potomac River: standup paddleboarding. Stop by the Key Bridge Boathouse and for $20 an hour, a board and paddle are yours to use in a full-body workout that tests balance and strength. Feeling unsure? Take the 75-minute Intro to Stand Up Paddleboarding class ($35). Feeling really sure? Sign up for Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga, a 75-minute class. Paddleboard rentals are available for kids 8 and up. (Opens when water temps reach 60 degrees)
Ben’s Chili Bowl
Take the kids out for a slice of D.C. history at this 57-year-old restaurant. If it’s good enough for President Obama, it’s good enough for you and your tots. Try the famous chili in a bowl or on one of the eatery’s popular half-smokes, a pork hot dog, a two-patty burger sub or a boat of fries. Healthy options, such as veggie chili and turkey burgers, and side dishes like cole slaw and potato salad are also available.
Good Stuff Eatery
For a trendier but still comfort-food-filled meal, head here for burgers made with farm-raised beef and topped with options including applewood bacon, Roquefort cheese and roasted cremini mushrooms. For many—including the 18 and under set—the real attraction is the handspun milkshakes in flavors such as Toasted Markmallow, Milky Way Malt, Salty Caramel Kiss and Vietnamese Coffee. Chef Spike Mendelsohn competed on the TV show “Top Chef” twice. Bonus: Eating here is a good deed. Mendelsohn donates one percent of each bill to plant a tree a day and other environmental efforts.
303 Pennsylvania Ave., SE (Capitol Hill)
Guys, where is your favorite place to take your kids for a day out on the town? Tell us in the Comments section below.