Maryland Day in Annapolis is a day of symbols

See the state cat, insect, reptile, fossil, fish, dinosaur

Family: events, activities

March 18, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

Maryland, our Maryland is celebrating its 370th birthday on March 25. And in its honor, an array of Maryland Day events are taking place Sunday in Annapolis.

Maryland Day commemorates the first landing of colonists on St. Clement's Island in 1634. The colonists had traveled from Cowes on the English Isle of Wight and disembarked from two small ships - the Ark and the Dove.

Maryland Day has been observed since 1903, when the Maryland Board of Education decided to devote one school day to Maryland history. Maryland Day became a legal holiday in 1916.

This year, Historic Annapolis Foundation sponsors Maryland Day celebrations in the state capital, opening six historic sites to the public and presenting free activities, games, history lessons and more.

Visitors to the William Paca House and Garden, home of three-time Maryland governor and Declaration of Independence-signer William Paca, will get numerous lessons on our state's symbols.

At the Paca House, 186 Prince George St., folks can make cat masks in honor of the state feline, the calico, or create cards with oak-leaf pictures, as the state tree is the white oak. Visitors can also try their hands at jousting, the state sport, and they can receive packets of black-eyed Susan seeds, to grow the state flower. Visitors can even see how tall they are in comparison to the plant-eating state dinosaur, the Astrodon johnstoni.

Also at the Paca House, by the pond, kids can play a fishing game and learn about the Chesapeake Bay and the state fish, the rockfish. Visitors can also meet and hold the state reptile, the diamondback terrapin, at Paca's summer house and make terrapin tambourines. At the spring house, folks can learn how the colonists kept our state drink, milk, from spoiling, with no refrigeration.

More events take place at the Waterfront Warehouse, 4 Pinkney St. There visitors can see a three-dimensional diorama of the City Dock, circa the mid-1700s.

Visitors can then make their way to the Barracks, 43 Pinkney St., to make their own Maryland state flag buttons.

Nearby is the Old Treasury Building, State Circle, where visitors of all ages can do some square-dancing, the state dance. Visitors can also create a Baltimore checkerspot butterfly (the state insect) out of clothespins.

Then, at the future home of the Annapolis History Center, 99 Main St., budding archaeologists can work with Play-Dough fossils and learn about the state fossil shell, and visitors can see a model of a skipjack, the state boat.

Also, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be steering the skipjack Stanley Norman to the Annapolis Harbor that day. "So in addition to seeing a model of a skipjack at 99 Main St., Maryland Day participants will get to see the real thing at City Dock," says Susan Steckman of Historic Annapolis Foundation.

Just down the street is the Historic Annapolis Foundation Museum Store, 77 Main St., where all are invited to take part in a crab-toss outside, and to browse the Maryland-themed gifts inside the store, including items relating to the blue crab, our state crustacean.

The Maryland Day celebration in Annapolis runs noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free. Call 410-267-8146.

For more family events, see Page 41.

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