I am planning a 4 day trip for my family to Maryland for Halloween. We are trying to take advantage of the season passes that we bought for Six Flags when we went to Georgia. Does anyone have any opinions on the Six Flags America in Maryland? Know of any good hotels in that area? I know it's around the Bowie/Mitchellville area. We didn't want to stay in the "thick" of DC but wanted to stay near Six Flags since that is going to be the main attraction that we were going for. Also, does anyone have any ideas for a "day trip" in the area that we might be able to fill time with? We are an outdoors kind of family with an adventurous 5 year old girl. I heard that the Baltimore Aquarium is nice but after going to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, I'm not sure if it compares. Also trying to keep in mind what will be available to do in late October when it gets chilly.
I haven't been to any other Six Flags but the one in MD, and I was not impressed. Living in the Baltimore suburbs, I would choose Hershey Park over Six Flags. But given that you have season passes, I know that's not your choice. My impression when I was there was alot of kids running around in unsupervised groups. I'm not too familiar with the immediate area so I can't recommend hotels, but I would stick with the big name ones.
The Baltimore Aquarium is nice, but if you've done Atlanta's recently I wouldn't bother (I've done both and I like Atlanta's a little better). Day trip ideas - in Baltimore you could do Fort McHenry and the Science Center (it is great and has lots of things for your daughter). Annapolis is even closer to Six Flags, though, if you want to look into things to do there. Or if you've never been to DC with your daughter, you 'd be a short drive to a metero station and could visit the Museum of Natural History, walk around the Mall, etc.
I live a few minutes from Six Flags in MD and we rarely go. As was mentioned above, we prefer Hershey and Bush Gardens Williamsburg. The Six Flags here is just not pleasant. It is frequently dirty, the workers there can be quite surly and the patrons are usually wild teens. That being said, if you enjoy thrill rides, this Six Flags does have them in spades (which is why we go for a few hours once a year).
As for hotels, I'm not familiar with any right in the immediate area, but about 20 minutes south there is The Gaylord (in the National Harbor). It is absolutely stunning! In fact, that's a destination in and of itself. The hotel is beautiful with a great spa. It has a huge indoor shopping/eating arcade that mimics the outdoors (its hard to describe - you just have to see it). Plus, the National Harbor itself has a lot to see and do. From there, you can catch a ferry to Alexandria and walk around the old town area. And, as mentioned above, you can go to downtown DC and visit the museums and/or Annapolis.
As for 5 yo friendly museums in DC, try the Natural History, the Air and Space, the Newseum and the Native American museums. She'll enjoy them.
As for other activites, there are a number of farms that offer corn mazes (this one right up the street from Six Flags on Route 301), hay rides, apple picking, etc. We haunted those when my DD was 5.
I live very close to the Six Flags in Largo, MD, and the absolute only reason we go is because my kids get free passes for participating in a read-a-thon. The Largo Six Flags, to me, is unkept, dirty, and the food is OUTRAGEOUSLY priced (and this is from someone who has learned to accept the overpriced food in amusement parks). I would never travel to go to this Six Flags. Having said that, I am not a thrill-seeker, so maybe the thrill rides at this location are enough to override everything else. For the sake of honesty, I can say having gone over the last 3-4 years because of the free passes, the experience seems to be improving. I noticed a significant change in the dispositions of the park employees from even last year - not perfect, but improving. The Six Flags in NJ is a much better experience, though I know that may not be an option for you. Speaking of thrill rides, Hershey park has lots of rollercoaster (maybe about 10-12), is about 2 hours from Six Flags Largo and is a much better experience, overall. In Baltimore, with a five year old, I would definitely check out Port Discovery (hands-on children's museum). My kids stayed there all day. The Maryland Science Center is nice, though not as captivating for my kids as Port Discovery. The Inner Harbor area is nice to walk around and has lots of historical things - ships to board. Parking near Port Discovery and the Aquarium seems to be about $20 per day.