It’s not quite a family vacation, but spending a day at Rio in Gaithersburg can almost feel like a holiday (minus the hassle of travel). The shopping and entertainment center, which is undergoing a $30 million redevelopment, is packed with kid-friendly attractions. A classic carousel ($6 for a day pass, March to December) sits atop a hill overlooking the central lake, which is home to ducks, geese and fish. Feeding stations (25 cents for a handful of food) are located along the wooden boardwalk that’s part of the nearly mile-long path that circles the lake. Colorful paddle boats ($20-$25 for a half hour) are available from April through October. There’s also a playground. The water, the boardwalk and the many alfresco dining options make for a beachy vibe, especially in spring and summer, when free concerts are presented every Friday and Saturday night from June through September. An AMC movie theater and Dave & Buster’s arcade offer indoor diversions. And when it’s time for a break, there are plenty of kid-friendly restaurants, including Uncle Julio’s, Silver Diner and California Pizza Kitchen. Consider it a daycation.
9841 Washingtonian Blvd., Gaithersburg, 301-203-4184, riolakefront.com