Even with all the wonderful, free museums and other offerings for kids right in our backyards here in DC, it’s nice to have a change of scenery — and activity — now and then. We usually find it just 45 minutes away in Baltimore, where there are several places to experience play, learning, culture, and more, much of it in environments created especially for children.
One of those places is the Maryland Science Center, located right on the Inner Harbor. And while I’ve previously covered it on the blog, I’ve never given it a proper general overview. There’s really nothing like it here in DC — on such a large scale, anyway. MSC presents various topics of science through an array of exhibits, just about all of them hands-on and appealing to young visitors. It’s not a museum with collections of artifacts and tangible history; rather, there are models, demos, and interactive displays that encourage learning through engagement. (For the record, I believe both have great value, they just offer different experiences.)
Dinosaurs, the earth, physics, the body, energy, and space are some of the main areas on exhibit. There is also a Kids Room full of all kinds of hands-on fun for children in a safe enclosed space, including a special area for the under-2 set.
IMAX movies, planetarium shows, and activities offered by museum staff round out the offerings. You can easily spend an entire day exploring and playing and not even see/do everything. But that just gives you good reason to go back!
The Maryland Science Center is open Tuesday through Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 6pm, and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Hours change in the spring, so be sure to check the schedule. Admission is $16.95/adult, $13.95/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under. If you think you’d go often, membership is worth checking out.
A few things to note:
- Beakers Cafe offers lunch and snacks — hotdogs, sandwiches, salads. Prices aren’t terrible, but after paying relatively steep admission (we’re so used to everything being free), you might want to save a few bucks and BYO.
- The Science Center validates parking at nearby garages. Street parking is also available, but it’s a two-hour limit in most areas and, chances are, you’ll be there longer than that.
- The MSC can get very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays off from school, so be prepared.
- IMAX movies and a few activities, like the hurricane simulator, cost extra. Credit cards accepted.