NatGeo Traveler researchers are always looking for weekend fun that's authentic and free (see our Free Cities! library), so when senior researcher Meg Weaver spotted this notice about the University of Maryland's annual Maryland Day (Saturday, April 26, from 10 to 4), she emailed it instantly to the rest of us. Kristen Gunderson, a loyal U. Maryland grad, responded with enthusiasm and regret: she's heading off to New York on the Chinatown bus, but she left us some tips for enjoying this festival:
MARYLAND DAY IS SO MUCH FUN! I am so sad I will be missing it this year...if I had remembered, I would have stuck around here this weekend.
Ice cream from the UMD dairy - UMD is famous for this stuff. It's delicious. There are also rumors that the ice cream is so fatty that it doesn't meet USDA standards and that's why it's only produced on campus and not sold anywhere else. And why it's so gosh darn tasty.
Also, the Maryland cows have windows in them. Yes, that's right. The Ag students cut holes in the sides of some of the cows and installed little portals so that you can actually watch the process of digestion in action in their stomachs. And, on Maryland Day, they open the portals and you can actually stick your hand inside (with a glove, of course). I have never done it. But it's one of our famous attractions.
And there's all sorts of free buttons, stickers, maps, etc. and tons of fun games, music and events. Plus, the campus is gorgeous, especially at this time of year. Get some lunch and eat it on the mall or by the chapel.
From the College Park Metro station there is a free UMD shuttle that will take you right to the heart of campus (the Stamp Student Union). At the Union, don't miss the memorial statue of Jim Henson talking to Kermit the Frog - UMD was his alma mater, where he created his own major: Puppetry. Also downstairs in the Union is the Co-op, which sells delicious free-trade, organic/vegan, sustainably-produced foods. Anyone can volunteer here for food credit. I practically lived here my last year on campus.
So yes, definitely go if you can. :) Eat some ice cream for me.