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Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

Thursday, April 21, 2005; Page SM51

Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

Route 235, Lexington Park 20653


Bikers race at Budds Creek, off Route 234 in Mechanicsville. Budds Creek also has motocross and stock-car tracks. (Reginald A. Pearman For The Washington Post)


The museum is dedicated to sharing the story of Navy aviation. Exhibits illustrate the research, development, testing and evaluation steps in producing aircraft. There are demonstrations, hands-on activities, models and full-size aircraft. Displayed on the grounds are 17 naval aircraft, including an F/A-18 Hornet, an F-14 Tomcat, an AV-8B Harrier, a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter and an S-2 Tracker. Indoor exhibits include a Goodyear rubber "inflatoplane," drone aircraft, jet engines, a pilot ejection seat and flight helmets used over the years. Visitors also can watch flights take off from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.

Historic St. Mary's City

Route 5, St. Mary's City 20686



Site of the fourth permanent settlement in British North America, St. Mary's City is a mix of living history and archaeology. It served as Maryland's first capital (1634-1695) and is considered the birthplace of religious tolerance in the colonies. Working alongside professional archaeologists and costumed interpreters, visitors can learn to churn butter and shoot a bow and arrow or simply sit on the sidelines and watch a militia drill.

Visitors can see the reconstructed State House of 1676, a tobacco plantation and a working colonial farm. The Maryland Dove, a replica of one of the two square-rigged 17th-century vessels that brought colonists to Maryland, has sailors onboard telling tales of tobacco trade and immigration. The Woodland Indian Hamlet displays how the original inhabitants interacted with the colonists.

There are numerous hiking trails along the St. Mary's River.

Because hours of operation vary throughout the year, it's best to check the Web site for details.

Admission: $7.50; seniors and students, $6; ages 6-12, $3.50.

Budds Creek

27963 Budds Creek Rd., Mechanicsville 20659

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