The following is a selection of miniature golf courses in the Washington area. (To locate courses in other parts of Maryland and Virginia, check out the online directories listed under Resources.) Arrive at least an hour before the designated closing time. All sites accommodate birthday parties and group outings and are handicapped accessible. Call ahead if weather conditions look iffy and to confirm closing times at courses in parks, which generally stay open until dusk.

Maryland

Anne Arundel County

ARUNDEL GOLF PARK -- 1501 Dorsey Rd., Glen Burnie. 410-761-1295. www.arundelgolf.com. Open all year, daily except Christmas. Open daily 9 to 9 through September; hours vary seasonally. $4.75 adults, $3.75 ages 12 and younger; $4 ages 55 and older. A stream and pond accent the naturally landscaped 18-hole, par-42 course. Other highlights include batting cages, a driving range and golf lessons.

NIGHT HAWK GOLF CENTER -- 814 Route 3 South, Gambrills. 410-721-9349. www.nighthawkgolfcenter.com. Open all year. Hours daily 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., most likely through October; hours vary seasonally. $4 adults; $2.75 children 9 and younger. A replay costs $2; play all day before 5 for $6.50. This 19-hole, par-45 course features natural accents, such as a waterfall and ornamental grasses. The site also offers a driving range, batting cages, a nine-hole, par-3 golf course, a game arcade and Bankshot Basketball, a miniature-golf-type game using basketballs.

PASADENA GOLF CENTER -- 4358 Mountain Rd., Pasadena. 410-439-4653. www.pasadenagolfcenter.com. Open all year. Open Sunday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; hours change seasonally. $5.50 adults; $4.75 children 12 and younger; ages 3 and younger free. Baltimore magazine this month named this 18-hole, par-41 course the best in the Baltimore area. The heavily landscaped, two-year-old course features several fountains, waterfalls and bridges, and an island green surrounded by water. The most difficult hole, No. 15, requires putting to a higher tier. The golf center also includes a driving range, batting cages, arcade, pro shop and snacks.

SEVERNA PARK GOLF CENTER -- 1257 Gov. Ritchie Hwy., Arnold. 410-647-8618. www.spgc.net. Open all year. Open daily 8 to 10:30; hours change seasonally. $4.25 ages 10 and older, $3 ages 9 and younger. This beginner-oriented, 18-hole, par-45 course features traditional obstacles such as a windmill, church and barn. Other site highlights include a nine-hole golf course, batting cages, a driving range and vending machines.

Howard County

COLUMBIA SPORTSPARK MINI GOLF COURSE -- Harper's Choice Village Center, 5453 Harper's Farm Rd., Columbia. 410-715-3054. www.columbiaassociation.com/text-sports.shtml#sportspark. Through Aug. 30, open daily noon to 10. September through Oct. 31, open Monday through Thursday 3 to 8, Fridays 3 to 10, Saturdays noon to 10 and Sundays noon to 8. Closed November through February. Columbia Association members with package plan cards play for free; $6 per game for nonmembers. Natural settings and waterfalls accent this six-year-old, 18-hole, par-44 course. The most difficult hole, par-4 No. 7, features a hill and water hazard. The SportsPark also offers a skate park, batting cages, video games, a snack bar and a playground.

ROUNDING THIRD FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTER -- 6600 Amberton Dr., Elkridge. 410-796-0800. www.rounding3rd.net. Open all year. Hours Monday through Thursday 11 to 10, Fridays 11 to midnight, Saturdays 10 to midnight and Sundays 10 to 9; hours change seasonally. Ages 4 and older $6.25, younger than 4 free. Putters at this 19-hole course hit the ball under logs and around rocks, among other natural obstacles. Other highlights include go-karts, laser tag, batting cages and a game arcade.

Montgomery County

CITY OF GAITHERSBURG MINIATURE GOLF AT BOHRER PARK -- Bohrer Park, Summit Hall Farm, 510 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg. 301-258-6420 or 301-258-6350. www.gaithersburgmd.gov; click on "Parks, Recreation and Culture," then "Miniature Golf Course." Open May through October. Hours Friday and Saturday are 11 to 11, Sunday 11 to 10. Monday through Oct. 31, open Fridays 4 to 10, Saturdays 11 to 10 and Sundays 11 to 8. Open Sept. 6 (Labor Day) 11 to 8. $4 ($3 for seniors) per game or $5 for unlimited play for Gaithersburg residents, free for children 4 and younger; nonresidents pay an additional $1. An unlimited swimming and golf pass, available at the entrance to the adjacent water park and valid for one day, costs $7 for residents, $8.50 for nonresidents. A waterfall and terraced garden pond with goldfish and aquatic plants accent the 10-year-old, 18-hole, par-36 course, which has recently undergone recarpeting on several greens. Hole No. 5, with a rock obstacle, proves most challenging. Other park attractions include the water park, a skate park and indoor activity center.

SOUTH GERMANTOWN RECREATIONAL PARK MINIATURE GOLF AND SPLASH PLAYGROUND -- 18056 Central Park Cir., Boyds. 301-601-3580 (recording), 301-601-3581. www.mc-mncppc.org/parks/activities/splash_announce.shtm. Open April through October. Miniature golf hours through Sept. 6 are Sunday through Thursday 10 to 9, and Fridays and Saturdays 10 to 10. Hours Sept. 11 through Oct. 31 are Fridays 4 to 10, Saturdays 10 to 10 and Sundays 10 to 8. $5 adults, $4 ages 10 and younger, free for ages younger than 2. A discount book offers 10 tickets for $45; a combination discount book has five tickets for golf, five for the neighboring Splash Playground, $38. Two hilly, landscaped championship-style miniature golf courses feature natural hazards such as ponds, along with simulated sand traps, roughs and typical full-size golf course features such as sloping greens and undulations. The par-42 Blue Course, with holes marked by blue flags, is a little more challenging than the par-40 Red Course. The adjacent Splash Playground, open different hours, features a variety of walk-through water activities. The park also offers vending machines, picnic areas and, just down the road, a huge adventure playground.

WHITE FLINT GOLF PARK -- 5451 Marinelli Rd., Rockville. 301-230-7117. www.whiteflintgolfpark.com. Open all year. Summer hours, through mid- to late September, are Sundays and Tuesday through Thursday 8 to 11, Fridays and Saturdays 8 to midnight and Mondays 11 to 11. Hours change seasonally. $5 for ages 8 and older, $3 for ages 4 to 7, free for ages 3 and younger with paying adult. A two-course ticket is $7 for ages 8 and older, $4 for ages 4 to 7. Multi-game tickets also are available, starting at $20 for five games. A weekday all-you-can-play special costs $6 for play from opening to 5. Arrive before 1 on Saturdays or Sundays and play unlimited games for $10. The North Course and South Course, each par 44, feature challenging water hazards, roughs and stone obstacles. Waterfalls and creeks accent the nine-year-old course's natural landscaping. The most difficult South Course hole, par-4 No. 17, boasts a slope and huge drop. On the North Course, the par-3 No. 8 hole has a large water hazard and a "dogleg," or angled fairway. Other features at the park include a driving range, demo center, golf pro instruction and snacks.

Prince George's County

GOLFZILLA DRIVING RANGE -- 3601 Brinkley Rd., Temple Hills. 301-630-4653. www.golfzilla.com. Open all year. Open Monday through Saturday 10 to 9:30, Sundays 10 to 8. $4 adults, $3 ages 10 and younger, $2 for replay, free for additional replays. The lowest scorer in each group of four or more players receives a free round. Built in 1961 by Italian stonemasons, this 18-hole, par-42, old-style course features traditional, recently rebuilt obstacles such as a church, schoolhouse, gristmill, windmill, lighthouse, pinball machine and clown. Tough holes include one where players putt through a cannon, which frequently traps balls. The facility also offers a 54-stall driving range, golf store and club repair, as well as snacks.

LAUREL GOLF AND RECREATION -- 9801 Fort Meade Rd. (Route 198), Laurel. 301-725-4646. www.laurelgolfcenter.com. Open all year. Open weekdays 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; hours change seasonally. $6 per game for adults, $4 for children 12 and younger, $5 for seniors ages 60 and older; replays are $4 for adults and seniors, $3 for children. This 12-year-old, par-45 course, designed for challenging play in a setting resembling an actual golf course, includes lots of undulations. A par-4 hole adjacent to a waterfall features two levels and a "dogleg," or angled fairway. Tall ornamental grasses and rocks accent the natural landscaping. The facility also offers a driving range and batting cages.

WATKINS MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- Watkins Regional Park, 301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro. 301-218-6757. www.pgparks.com/places/parks/watkins.html, click on "Watkins Miniature Golf Course." Open Memorial Day through September. Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 6:30 through Sept. 5, then Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 6:30. $3 per game for residents of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, $3.50 for non-county residents. The 18-hole, par-45 course features such entertaining obstacles as a water-spitting turtle, wishing well, house and loop. Other attractions at the 500-acre Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission area include a miniature train, antique carousel, the Old Maryland Farm, nature center and a playground.

Virginia

Alexandria

CAMERON RUN REGIONAL PARK MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 4001 Eisenhower Ave. 703-960-0767. www.nvrpa.org/cameron.html. Open April through October. Through Sept. 6, open Monday through Thursday 10 to 9; Friday through Sunday and Labor Day 10 to 10. Sept. 10 through Oct. 31, open Fridays 4 to 8, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays noon to 8. $5.50 ages 13 to 59, $4.50 ages 12 and younger and 60 and older; $2 per replay game; $38.50 for 10-game discount book. One of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority's two deluxe courses -- the other is Upton Hill, listed below -- the 18-hole layout features sloping hillsides and a water garden. Other park attractions include a large water park, batting cages, fishing pond and picnic shelters, including a new corporate shelter.

Arlington County

UPTON HILL REGIONAL PARK MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 6060 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-534-3437. www.nvrpa.org/minigolfupton.html. Open April through October. Through Sept. 6, open Monday through Thursday 10 to 9; Friday through Sunday and Labor Day 10 to 10.From Sept. 7 through Oct. 31, open Wednesdays 2 to 8, Thursdays and Fridays 4 to 9, and Saturdays and Sundays noon to 9. $5.50 ages 13 to 59, $4.50 ages 12 and younger and 60 and older; $2 per replay game; $38.50 for a 10-game discount book. Streams cascading from a central pond and waterfall run throughout much of the terraced garden-style, 18-hole, par-36 course. Another pond features waterlilies, cattails and koi. At 140 feet in length, hole No. 10 is one of the area's longest. Other park attractions include a batting cage and outdoor swimming pool. Register online for the Upton Hill Fall Classic Miniature Golf Tournament, open to all ages and skill levels, on Sept. 18, 9 to 1 for four-person teams, noon to 2:30 for individuals. The $15 per person registration fee includes a round of miniature golf, lunch, a pass to play on another day and a chance to win prizes. All proceeds benefit the Arlington Chapter of the American Red Cross. Prizes include gift certificates to local businesses and an individual grand prize of a trip to Orlando to play in the televised Harris Cup National Mini-Golf Tournament.

Fairfax County

BULL RUN REGIONAL PARK MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville. 703-631-0550. www.nvrpa.org/bullrunpark.html. Open March through October, daily 10 to 6 through Labor Day, and Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 6 after that; call ahead to confirm hours. Park entrance fee is $7 per car, free for residents of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. $3 per game. This basic, 18-hole course features a loop hole and bridge hole. The hilly layout includes a fountain. Other attractions at the 1,500-acre park include a new slide pool, Frisbee golf, shooting center, playground, camping facilities, picnic shelters, and hiking and horseback-riding trails.

BURKE LAKE MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- Burke Lake Park, 7315 Ox Rd., Fairfax Station. 703-323-6600. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/minigolf/index.htm. Open April through October. Open daily 11 to 7 (last tickets sold) through Sept. 6; Saturdays and Sundays 11 to dusk Sept. 11 through Oct. 31. $6 per adult, $5 for ages 3 to 12 or ages 60 or older, free for ages younger than 2. The year-old 18-hole course features such natural accents as a waterfall, footbridges and three fountains. Other park highlights include an 18-hole, par-3 golf course, a lake for boating and fishing, a carousel, a miniature train ride, an ice-cream parlor, Frisbee golf and camping.

CENTREVILLE MINI GOLF & GAMES -- 6206 Multiplex Dr., Centreville. 703-502-7888. Open year-round. Open Sunday through Thursday 10:30 to 10:30, Fridays and Saturdays 10 to 11. $5.50 for ages 13 and older, $4 for ages 3 to 12 and free for ages younger than 3 with a paying adult. The 18-hole, par-42 resort-style course includes a downhill slope with water hazard on the eighth hole. Palm trees, fountains and waterfalls accent the two-acre course's tropical landscaping. The site also includes arcade games, an indoor playground and snacks.

FOUNTAINHEAD REGIONAL PARK MINIATURE GOLF -- 10875 Hampton Rd., Fairfax Station. 703-250-9124. www.nvrpa.org/fountainhead.html. The park closes for the winter Nov. 14 and reopens in mid-March. Miniature golf is open park hours, dawn to dark, daily through Labor Day, Saturdays and Sundays after that. $3 for all-day play. This no-frills, 18-hole, par-36 course is set in a 2,150-acre park along Occoquan Reservoir. Other activities include fishing, boating and hiking.

ISLANDS IN THE PARK -- Braddock Park, 13241 Braddock Rd., Clifton. 703-818-8929. Open Sunday to Thursday 10 to 10, Fridays and Saturdays 10 to 11 through November; call for the not-yet-determined closing date. $6 adults, $5 ages 12 and younger and 60 and older; Monday through Friday before 5, $4.50 for all ages. The 18-hole, par-47 course features natural-style obstacles such as simulated sand traps and roughs. Streams and waterfalls accent the landscaping. The park also offers a batting cage, vending machines and picnic tables.

JEFFERSON FALLS MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 7900 Lee Hwy., Falls Church. 703-573-0444. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/minigolf/index.htm. Open April through October. Open daily 10 to 10 through Sept. 6. Sept. 7 through 30, Monday through Thursday 4 to 9, Fridays 4 to 10, Saturdays 10 to 10 and Sundays 10 to 9. In October, open Monday through Thursday 4 to 7, Fridays 4 to 10, Saturdays 10 to 10 and Sundays 10 to 7. $6 adult, $5 for ages 3 to 12 or 60 and older; 2 and younger free. The lushly landscaped, 18-hole, par-36 course, accented by a bright blue waterfall, features tricky water hazards and contoured greens. A steep stream speeds balls to their destination on the signature hole, No. 14. The course is adjacent to Jefferson District Golf Course, a nine-hole, par-35 course, along with a snack bar, vending machines, picnic tables, and tennis and basketball courts.

LUCKY DUCK MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- Lake Accotink Park, entrances at 5660 Heming Ave. or 7500 Accotink Park Rd., Springfield. 703-569-0285. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/minigolf/index.htm. Open daily 10 to dusk, through Sept. 6; after Labor Day through Columbus Day, Saturdays and Sundays 11 to dark. A nine-hole game costs $3.50 per adult, $2.50 for ages 3 to 12 and 60 and older; play a second nine-hole round, using different holes on the same greens, for an additional $1.50. The four-year-old, par-38 Fairfax County Park Authority course includes molded terrain obstacles like hills and slants. The most challenging hole, No. 7, features a central hill with paths on either side. The county's oldest working antique carousel, an Allan Herschell design with hand-carved horses from the 1920s, sits in the middle of the course. The park also boasts a variety of boat rides, a snack bar, picnic areas and pavilions. The course hosts a Labor Day Mini-Golf Tournament Sept. 6 from noon to 6, open to all ages. Teams of two to six players will compete for prizes. Registration is $13 per team.

OAK MARR MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 3200 Jermantown Rd., Oakton. 703-281-6501. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/minigolf/index.htm. Open April through October. Daily 10 to dusk through Labor Day. Sept. 11 through Oct. 31, Saturdays and Sundays 10 to dusk. $5 adults, $4 for ages 3 to 12 and 60 and older; 2 and younger free. Natural landscaping, including water, highlights this 18-hole, par-38 course, built four years ago by the Fairfax County Park Authority. Adjacent features include a driving range, nine-hole golf course and Oak Marr RECenter, which has a large indoor pool.

POHICK BAY REGIONAL PARK MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 6501 Pohick Bay Dr., Lorton. 703-339-6104. www.nvrpa.org/pohickbay.html. Open last weekend of March through October. Through Sept. 6, open daily, dawn to dusk. On weekdays, pick up clubs and balls at the camp store. Sept. 11 through October, open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, dawn to dusk. Park entrance fee is $7 per car, free for residents of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. $3 for all-day play. This basic 18-hole, par-36 course features colorful plants like azaleas. Bluebirds nest in nearby boxes. Other attractions at the 1,000-acre park include an 18-hole, par-72 regulation golf course; an outdoor pool; boat rentals; hiking and horseback-riding trails; canoe and kayak tours; group and family camping; and disc golf.

Loudoun County

ALGONKIAN REGIONAL PARK MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 47001 Fairway Dr., Sterling. 703-430-7683. www.nvrpa.org/algonkian.html. Open April through October. Open daily 11 to 7 through Labor Day, and Saturdays and Sundays generally 10 to 6 Sept. 11 through Oct. 31; call ahead to confirm hours. $3 for all-day play. The 18-hole, par-36 course, situated in the woods next to a water park, features traditional obstacles such as a loop. Other attractions at the 800-acre park include an 18-hole, par-72 golf course, a nature trail, boat ramp, group picnic and meeting facilities, and riverfront vacation cottages.

DULLES GOLF CENTER & SPORTS PARK -- Route 28 and Severn Way, one mile south of Route 7, Dulles. 703-404-8800. www.dullesgolf.com. Open all year. Open Sunday through Thursday 9 to 10, Fridays and Saturdays 9 to 11 through Labor Day; hours change seasonally. $6 adults, $5 ages 12 and younger. Players receive discount coupons for their next visits. The naturally landscaped, 18-hole, par-46 course includes numerous boulders and stone formations, a waterfall and fountain. Stone obstacles, stone traps and moguls add challenges to the holes. The seven-year-old course boasts new carpeting and landscaping this season. Specializing in corporate outings, the park also features a driving range and putting green, golf academy with golf pro instruction, golf store, batting cages, beach volleyball and picnic grounds.

Prince William County

LAKE RIDGE GOLF & MARINA MINIATURE GOLF COURSE -- 12350 Cotton Mill Dr., Woodbridge. 703-494-5564. www.pwcparks.org/lrpark/lrminigolf.html. Open all year. Through Sept. 1, open Monday through Friday 8 to dusk, and Saturdays and Sundays 6 to dusk; Sept. 2 through Oct. 31, Mondays noon to dusk, Tuesday through Friday 8 to dusk, weekends and holidays 7 to dusk; other hours vary seasonally. $3 adults, $2.50 ages 3 to 17. The 18-hole, par-40 course includes challenging elevated holes. Set in a wooded area, the course includes a stream and small waterfall. This 73-acre county park also offers boating, a par-3, nine-hole golf course, nature trails and playground.

LOCUST SHADE PARK MINI GOLF -- On U.S. Route 1 next to Quantico Marine Base, Triangle. 703-221-8579. www.pwcparks.org/locust/locust_golf.html. Open spring through fall, daily 10 to dark; call for closing date, most likely in early November. $3 adults, $2.50 ages 3 to 17, free for ages younger than 3 with a paying adult. Tuesdays are two-for-one days. The 427-acre Prince William County park has an 18-hole, par-41 course similar to the one at Lake Ridge. The natural landscaping features a small pond, waterfall and plants such as azaleas. The park also offers a batting cage, driving range, three playgrounds, pedal boats, and volleyball and tennis courts.

MAGIC PUTTING PLACE -- 8902 Mathis Ave., Manassas. 703-369-9299. Open spring through October; daily 10:30 to 10 through Sept. 6; call for hours after that. $3.50 per game until 6 and $4.50 after 6 Monday through Friday; Saturdays and Sundays, $4.25 from 10:30 to 6 and $4.50 after 6. Each additional game is $1.50. Free admission for ages 3 and younger. A Magic Castle Course and Windmill Course, each with 18 holes, feature ponds, waterfalls, fountains and fanciful obstacles such as a castle, windmill, sawmill and stable. The 20-year-old, par-38 courses sit in a parking lot.

Resources

MINIATURE GOLFER.COM -- www.miniaturegolfer.com. Contains information about miniature golf courses, events and organizations all over the world.

THE MINI GOLF HERALD -- www.mgho.com. Visit this site for the latest worldwide miniature golf news and tournament information.

MINI-PUTT -- www.harriscup.com/miniputt/miniputt.swf. Too rainy to hit the mini-links? Swing a virtual club to hit a tiny ball on this par-48 online course, complete with sound effects. The addictive 18-hole round features hills, sand traps, a windmill and a clown.

PROFESSIONAL MINIATURE GOLF ASSOCIATION -- www.thepmga.com. This Wisconsin-based organization offers consulting and promotional services to miniature golf courses around the country. The Web site includes a national directory, with reviews of many courses.

THE PUTTING PENGUIN -- www.theputtingpenguin.homestead.com/minigolf.html. A mini-golf-loving family and friends offer "An Unofficial Guide to Miniature Golf Courses" with detailed reviews of locations throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England.

ROADSIDE ARCHITECTURE -- www.agilitynut.com/minigolf.html. This entertaining site devoted to roadside attractions includes lots of photos and descriptions of miniature golf courses, including several in the Washington area.

U.S. PROMINIGOLF ASSOCIATION -- www.usprominigolfassn.com. Based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the country's unofficial mini-golf capital, this sanctioning organization sponsors the Masters National ProMiniGolf Tournament Oct. 7 through 10 at two Myrtle Beach Hawaiian-themed courses. Affiliated with the World MiniGolfSport Federation, the association also holds tournaments around the country and features a long list of courses on its Web site.

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Nine-year-olds Evan Cernea, left, and Jonny Davis, both of Bethesda, fish a ball out of a water hazard at one of South Germantown Recreational Park's two miniature golf courses in Boyds.