Economoms' recommendations for the best budget-conscious family activities in the Maryland region for the weekend of April 8-10:
FREE Advance Screening of RIO: Head over to White Marsh AMC Theatres for a special preview of the new movie that chronicles the adventures of a Macaw who never learned how to fly at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Click on the link to get FREE tickets, but remember, screening tickets do not guarantee admittance. Seating is first come, first served so plan to arrive early to ensure that you get a seat.
Tot Swap Consignment Sale: Tot Swap's final sale of the spring season lasts all weekend long at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, with up to 50% off many items on Sunday and a "Dollar Dash" on Monday. Get amazing bargains on gently used maternity and kids' clothes, shoes, books, toys, videos/DVDs, baby equipment & accessories, cribs, strollers, swings, high chairs, outdoor play equipment, sporting equipment and more. The event also features the UniqueBoutique, where you can shop for brand new items from local family-friendly businesses. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; 9-10 a.m. Monday.
The Great Scale Model Train Show: Also at the Fairgrounds this weekend is the Mid-Atlantic's largest model train show with tons of choo-choos on display for your little conductors. Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is FREE for those under 9!
Help! Help! I know this title is long, but somebody’s trying to kill me!: Here's a unique one for the older kids that's completely family friendly despite the strange title :-) The Baltimore Theatre Project is putting on this show described like this: "All the performers in this vaudeville variety show have been murdered–except for Drew the Dramatic Fool. Unfortunately for him, the show must go on, or he’s next. Drew attempts every act in the show, from juggling 36 balls to sawing a woman in half, in this comical examination of fears–fear of performing, fear of failure, and fear of death. When courage fails, the only answer is dramatic foolishness." Just $10 for student admission. Showings are Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
Spring Fling at the Stoneleigh Shops: Some of my favorite local shops are welcoming the season with a Spring Fling this weekend! Join The Lily Pad of Towson (adorable kids' clothing!), Uncle Wiggly's (delish ice cream!), and With Gratitude (unique gifts!) for a Moon Bounce by Kidflatables, face painting, story times, plant sale, ice cream, food, Trunk Shows by Rickshaw design, Twist Style, and Lapis Beach, live music and more! 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Rain dates April 16 and 17). RSVP here.
Cherry Blossom Festival at The National Harbor: Sick of the Baltimore scene? Take a quick road trip to the National Harbor to celebrate the final weekend of the nation's Cherry Blossom Festival. Events are planned for both Saturday and Sunday, including a fireworks display on Sunday evening.
Baltimore Urban Book Festival Kids' Zone: The innaugural Baltimore Urban Book Festival kicks off this weekend in celebration of African American literature. Located at the Fredrick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park on Thames St., the festival will feature a Kids' Zone with four children's authors performing live story telling, entertainment by "Sparkles" the clown, a free book giveaway and free treats for all. The festival runs from 3-7 p.m. on Sunday. Story telling time will be every top of the hour starting at 4 p.m.