The Maryland Mountain Game, a 20-page book of puzzles, word hunts and other games, will be given out on request at three rest stops in Western Maryland. State Department of Transportation officials who devised the game said it will occupy children on long road trips across Interstate 68 and U.S. 219.
Adults should find it educational, too, they said.
"What I find surprising is how much many Marylanders don't know about the state," said Nancy Wilson, who oversees the state's welcome centers. "When you promote the game, don't just promote it to travelers. Promote it to residents."
The state gave out 275,000 copies of a similar Chesapeake Bay game last summer.
Thirty thousand copies of the Maryland Mountain Game will be given out at three rest stops, including the Sideling Hill Exhibit Center near the Allegany County border.
The game focuses on the landmarks along the road, including rivers, streams and mountains.
Carolyn Watson, regional director for the Department of Natural Resources' Chesapeake Bay Program, recalled her boredom as a child riding from her Southern Maryland farm to Ocean City, Md., for family vacations.
Watson said she would have loved to have a game like the Maryland Mountain Game for those three-hour rides.
"That was the first seed," she said.
On Wednesday, a group of third-graders from Cumberland, Md., got to test out the game. Playing on a giant board, the children took turns answering questions from cards made from information in the game book.
When students answered correctly, they got to move a stone across the board.
Some of the spaces included environmental messages. For instance, a player got to move an addition two spaces for landing on a spot that read: "Plant a forest buffer."
Or, they had to retreat two spaces for: "Sprawl Development."
Still stumped about those quiz questions?
For the record, there are no natural lakes in Maryland, the first federal highway was called National Road and it mostly followed Native American paths.
In addition to Sideling Hill, travelers can get the game at the Yough Overlook Welcome Center on I-68 in Friendsville, Md., or the Deep Creek Lake Visitor Center on U.S. 219.
A copy of the game also is available on-line at www.dnr.state.md.us/mountaingame.