Thursday 12

COOKSVILLE CHESS CLUB, for ages 9-17, players of all levels welcome, some basic knowledge is a prerequisite, sponsored by the Howard County Chess Club, 5 p.m. Thursdays, Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. 410-313-5577.

Friday 13

BRIDGE AND PINOCHLE GAMES, a drop-in program, play bridge and pinochle or bring a favorite table game; bring a bag lunch, coffee and tea available, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays and 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-7279.

Saturday 14

CATOCTIN MOUNTAIN PARK HIKE, a nine-mile hike in the Wolf and Chimney Rocks sections of the park in Thurmont, bring lunch and water, sponsored by the Sierra Club Howard County Group, 8 a.m., meet at the park or carpool departure from Route 32 and Broken Land Parkway, west side Park and Ride lot, Columbia. Free. 410-964-1902.

BALTIMORE AQUARIUM TOUR, for adults and children ages 12 and older, a behind-the-scenes tour of exhibits and the back-up areas of the main building, walk around pipes, hoses, tanks and filters, learn how the water is carried in and out of the aquarium and more, wear comfortable clothing and non-slip shoes, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., National Aquarium in Baltimore, Pier 3, 501 E. Pratt St. $28; aquarium members, $12; preregistration required. 410-727-3474 or

Sunday 15

LAUREL WILDFLOWERS PROGRAM, for ages 16 and older, learn about the role of wildflowers in the ecosystem and identify several species on a guided walk; field guide, water and a magnifying glass are recommended, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Patuxent Research Refuge, North Tract, Route 198, between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32, Laurel. Free; preregistration required. 301-497-5887.

ELLICOTT CITY NATURE WALK, a search for dragonflies on paved paths around Centennial Lake, easy walking, binoculars are recommended, sponsored by the Howard Bird Club, 9 a.m., meet at west end parking lot, Centennial Park, off Centennial Lane, Ellicott City. Free. 410-461-3361.

STEVENSON STREAM SEARCH AND PICNIC, for adults and children ages 6 and older, a hike to the Ox Bow Pond and the Jones Falls River with buckets and dip nets to search for aquatic life; wear clothes and shoes that can get wet, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. $12; members, $10; preregistration required. 410-484-2413.

Monday 16

CHILDREN'S OLYMPIC ACTIVITIES, for ages 5-8, Olympic-style games and related activities, including a workshop to decorate a "gold medal" to take home, 10 and 11:30 a.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7730.

ELLICOTT CITY KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS, for ages 4-5, stories and activities about the first day of kindergarten, 10 and 11 a.m. Monday, 2 and 6:45 p.m. Aug. 19, and 10:30 a.m. Aug. 20, Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-1955.

Tuesday 17

WOODSTOCK CHILDREN'S NATURE PROGRAM, for ages 3-5 accompanied by an adult, "Marvelous Mammals," stories, activities and a nature walk, if weather permits, sponsored by the Howard County Conservancy, 10-11:30 a.m., Mount Pleasant Farm, 10520 Old Frederick Rd., Woodstock. $5 per child; preregistration required. 410-465-8877.

COOKSVILLE BOOK DISCUSSION, for ages 13-19, "Fever 1793," a novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, based on a Philadelphia yellow fever that killed 5,000 people; discussion sponsored by the Glenwood Branch Library's Teen Book Club, 3-4:30 p.m., the library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-5577.

COLUMBIA GARDENING DISCUSSION, "Landscaping Without Grass," a master gardener teaches how to design using techniques that avoid grasses, 7 p.m., Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7880.

COLUMBIA BOOK DISCUSSION, for children ages 9-12 accompanied by an adult, "Someone Was Watching," a novel by David Patenaude, sponsored by the East Columbia Branch Library's Parent-Child Book Club, 7-8 p.m., the library, 6600 Cradlerock Way. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7730.

Wednesday 18

LIBRARY KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM, for ages 4-5, stories and activities about the first day of kindergarten, 10 and 11 a.m. Wednesday; 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 24, Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville, 410-313-5579; 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and 7 p.m. Aug. 19, Savage Branch Library, Gorman and Knights Bridge roads, Laurel, 410-880-5978. Free; preregistration required.

COLUMBIA PARENT-CHILD TEA, a kid-friendly menu of scones, sandwiches and desserts served with teas; plus a fancy hat contest, sponsored by the Town Center Community Association, 4:30-6 p.m., Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia. $18.90 per person; preregistration required. 410-730-4801 or

STEVENSON GARDEN POTLUCK, for adults and children, bring a dish made with ingredients from your garden and a recipe to share, watch the sunset (weather permitting) and discuss your gardening success stories; cups and drinks provided, bring your own plate, bowl and utensils, 5:30 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. $8; members, $5; preregistration required. 410-484-2413.

LIONS CLUB MEETING, for those interested in joining the organization, discussion of group activities and fundraising events; sponsored by the Columbia Lions Club, 6:30 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of each month, Tiber River Tavern, 3733 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City. Free; annual membership dues, $80. 410-964-8685.

LAUREL REFUGE TRAM TOUR, for all ages, view wildlife and their habitats from an electric, open-air tram on a guided tour, learn about management of the refuge, 6:45-7:45 p.m., Patuxent Research Refuge, National Wildlife Visitor Center, off Powder Mill Road, between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 197, Laurel. $3; ages 55 and older, $2; ages 12 and younger, $1; preregistration required. 301-497-5887.

ELKRIDGE CHESS CLUB, for players ages 9-17 of all abilities with a knowledge of basic chess, 7-8:30 p.m., Elkridge Branch Library, 6540 Washington Blvd. Free. 410-313-5077.

Thursday 19

COLUMBIA CHESS PROGRAM, for players of all ages and skill levels, drop-in, 6-8 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way. Free. 410-313-7700.

-- Compiled by LINDA JAMES

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