The Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD is widely considered to be one of the best renaissance festivals in the country. It is routinely listed in the top 3 by most renaissance festival followers. Clearly there are tons of fun to be had for adults. However, what about for kids?
If you are looking to expand your fall family fun beyond pumpkin picking and corn mazes, check out this Kid Friendly Guide to the Maryland Renaissance Festival for all our best tips and what to expect. This is a unique and totally family friendly Maryland day trip idea!
Best Tips/Know Before You Go
The Maryland Renaissance Festival is fantastic but can be overwhelming if you don’t plan ahead of time, especially if you have kids with you.
Here are some great quick tips to keep in mind before your visit!
- Look at the map if you haven’t visited before. The layout of the festival isn’t overly complicated, but it helps to have a general idea of where the big things are like the kids area, jousting area, restrooms, etc…
- The week before your visit, take a few minutes to look over the entertainment schedule. There are 12 performance venues with well over 100 performances each day of the Renaissance Festival. Some of the acts perform multiple times per day. Some do not.
- If you have picky eaters, familiarize yourself with the food offerings ahead of your visit too. That way, if your kids will only eat chicken strips on a stick, you know where to find them.
- Strategic Planning: The festival will get super crowded the end of September through October. So, if you want less people, visit the first 3 weeks of the fest. Beware though, the first 3 weeks tend to still be very very hot in Maryland. You will have to pick your pain.
- Try to arrive at festival opening to enjoy an hour or two of a less crowded experience. Also, you will easily spend most of the day at the festival. So arriving early will help you maximize your time!
- Bring rain gear or an umbrella, sunscreen, bug spray, and baby wipes.
- The drink vendors and games only accept cash. Many of the food and artisan vendors accept credit cards. But either way, don’t forget to bring cash!
Special Themed Weekends
The Maryland Renaissance Festival hold special event weekends each year. It seems like many of the special event weekends are at the first half of the season to encourage September visits.
The Special Event weekends tend to follow this pattern:
- Last weekend in August: Children’s Weekend
- Labor Day weekend: Romance Weekend with a special renewal of vows day and Seniors Day on Labor Day Monday
- Celtic Celebration
- Pirate Adventure Weekend
- Myth and Magic Weekend
- Shakespeare Weekend
Best Entertainment Bets for Kids!
One of the most fun aspects of the Renaissance Festival is the entertainment. And with over 100 performances on any given day, there is a lot to choose from!
Some of the top rated shows for kids include:
- Fools Named ‘O’ & La! La!
- Captain NoBeard Pirate Escape Show
- The Gwendolyn Show
- The Queen of Hoops
- Topsy Turvy
- Paolo Garbanzo (juggler)
Typically these shows perform multiple times a day.
Of course, the jousting is going to be a show you will not want to miss!
There are typically three jousting shows every festival day- at noon, 3pm, and 6pm. If you want a good seat, it is recommended you show up a little early (20-30 minutes) to grab a seat. Bring some food on a stick and a cool beverage and just chill before the show!
The jousting show itself is quite impressive. It’s similar to the type of show you would see at Medieval Times.
In addition to jousting, the Joust Arena also hosts falconry and birds of prey shows, archery, and an owl show. If you have an animal lover, you could be spending a lot of time just at this one location!
Note: There is shade throughout Revel Grove but there is not much shade at the jousting arena. Bring hats, sunglasses, sun visors, etc.. if you intend to spend a bunch of time here.
Shakespeare and Music Groups
If you have older kids, are visiting with an adults only group, or your younger kids can sit still for music and theatre, there are even more performance venues you will want to check out!
There is an actual replica of the Globe Theatre that basically performs Shakespeare (or spoofs of Shakespeare) all day. The quality is fantastic and much of it is hilarious.
There are also so many bands and performing artists that grace the stages throughout the festival. We were partial to Celtic Music and enjoyed a 30 minute concert from Sean Heely– one of the best Irish fiddlers in the world, along with Irish dancers, bagpipes, and more!
And whether you choose to sit down for a performance or just wander the lanes of Revel Grove, there will be so many street performers to entertain you! Villagers and courtiers roam the village, interacting with visitors and posing for photos.
There are mimes, living statues, random jugglers, wandering minstrels, and more!
Renaissance Festival Food
Ok, let’s just say it up front– if food can be on a stick, it will be at the Maryland Renaissance Festival!
There are over 50 places to grab a snack or meal with something to suit everyone’s taste. Pretty much everything is hand held so you can easily eat and walk. But there are also plenty of picnic tables and places to sit and eat.
There is ice cream, cheesecake on a stick, all kinds of apple desserts or desserts dipped in chocolate. Nosh on a giant soft pretzel, fries, crepes, and fried cheese.
Some of the more iconic festival food include the famous turkey legs, sausages, funnel cakes, and more!
Of course there are plenty of things to drink too– if you are over 21 the festival is very popular for adult beverages. Kids are not left out though! There are soft drinks and water at many of the booths, as well as milkshakes and slushies.
Don’t forget to bring cash for food and drinks! Some food vendors will take credit cards, but all drinks are cash only at the festival. There are ATMs inside Revel Grove but the lines can get very long. Save yourself a headache and bring enough cash for the day with you.
For many people, the atmosphere at the Maryland Renaissance Festival is what makes it one of the best Renaissance Festivals in the United States. There are loads of street performers and actors who are paid to roam the lanes dressed as either villagers or royalty.
But so many people dress up for the festival too.. and it makes the atmosphere just, well.. festive!
But the fantastic atmosphere doesn’t stop with the people watching. Revel Grove is mostly nestled into a 25-acre forested area. It’s set up with some main thoroughfares, as well as nooks and crannies you will love to explore.
Many of the buildings are super fun and interesting to look at too!
And there are just some really fun touches throughout Revel Grove that will crack you up and put a smile on your face.
Artisans (and shopping)
As if you needed any more reasons to love the Maryland Renaissance Festival, wait until you start shopping!
Actually, before you crack open your wallet, you will totally love learning from the artisan demonstrations. There are over 140 artisans who are not only selling their handcrafted items, but in many cases they offer demonstrations throughout the day too!
You see a glass blower make a vase out of molten glass in 10 minutes, as he walks you through the process.
Or watch an iron worker fashion a sword or other metal utensil on the anvil.
The artisans who do demonstrations sell their handcrafted items throughout the festival.
But there are so many shopping options. You can buy a wand (like Harry Potter), period clothing, games, wooden cups and mugs, pottery, and so much more! Because the Maryland Renaissance Festival is one of the largest and most renowned in the country, some of the finest artisans in the United States set up shop.
Also, unlike food and drink, the artisans are able to take credit card payments.
Specific Kid Friendly Fun!
This wouldn’t be a kid friendly guide if we didn’t talk about the specific things kids will love!
In addition to the kid friendly performers, fun food on a stick, and more, here are some specific activities that are made for kids!
There is a super fun pirate-themed play area for kids. Note: it can get crowded, but probably less crowded earlier in the day.
For $1 your kid (and you if you are brave) can careen down the ginormous wooden slide. This is much like the fun slides you see at county fairs and local carnivals.
There are quite a few games of chance kids can play. These have an extra cost but it isn’t exorbitant.
In year’s past there were elephant and camel rides. Now, for a variety of reasons (not the least of which the fact that these rides are frowned upon now for animal safety), they are no longer offered. However, if your kid loves animals, you can still pay for a pony ride. Also, don’t forget the jousting and other animal-centric shows in the Jousting Arena.
Many kids love to get their faces painted at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. And I have to tell you, the face paint artists are really fantastic at their craft!
I can almost guarantee you your child will not want to wash their face off!
Address: 1821 Crownsville Rd, Annapolis, MD 21401
Google Map Directions here
The dates of the 2023 Maryland Renaissance Festival are weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 10am-7pm August 26-October 22, plus Labor Day Monday.
Children ages 6 and under are FREE. Kids age 7-15 cost $15 for admission. Over 15 the admission cost is $30 and the price for ages 62+ is $26.
All tickets must be purchased online. There are no ticket sales at the gates.
There are 6 port-a-potty stations set up around Revel Grove.
The walking paths are natural terrain but are generally wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly. There are hills and one particular hill that is not wheelchair accessible. However, there are alternate routes available.