***Get an Adventurer Annual Family Membership for only $75 via Groupon here for a limited time***
The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore is one of our absolute favorite places in the DC area! Located in the heart of Baltimore right across the harbor from the aquarium, it is only a 40-minute drive from Montgomery County. I am a HUGE proponent of learning through play, and The Maryland Science Center truly embraces this philosophy. I LOVE how excited my kids are when I tell them we are headed for the MSC because I know that while they think they are merely “playing”, they are actually working on their engineering and math skills while becoming fully immersed in the world of science and technology. The MSC offers so many amazing, hands-on experiences for children to enjoy!! There are countless STEAM activities to experience (you could definitely spend an entire day here), and I will share a few of my favorites exhibits below.
Dinosaur Mysteries (ground level):
When I was little I wanted to be a paleontologist (don’t worry, being an Adventure Mom was a close second), so naturally, this is my favorite area. Upon entrance, the dinosaur hall (featuring over a dozen life-size dinos!) can be found directly to the right. This is such an awesome, hands-on exhibit. There are multiple dinosaur skeletons and replicas true to size which are absolutely incredible to see up close. Kids (and adults!) can get the feel of the life as a paleontologist out in the field by discovering bones in the dig pit and using brushes and other tools to exhume them. There are casts of dinosaur eggs, T-Rex and Triceratops skulls, and an actual fossil lab. Did you know Maryland has a state dinosaur, and it was the first to be discovered in North America? As is the case with most experiences and exhibits at the MSC, the sensation of staring up at full sized dinosaurs is too enormous for my camera to fully capture…you really have to experience it for yourself!
TerraLink (ground level):
A room connected to Dinosaur Mysteries, TerraLink is a “high tech environment accompanied by high touch experiences. Part media center, part discovery room, and part newsroom, TerraLink brings you the “latest and greatest” in Earth system science”. Our favorite part of this exhibit is the tornado you can watch take form right in front of you.
Newton’s Alley (first floor):
On the next floor is the Newton’s Alley, one of the most popular spaces. “Touch a cloud. See sound. Everything in Newton’s Alley is driven by people power…. Highly interactive discovery areas reveal the marvelous phenomena of matter, energy, force and motion.” While these scientific terms may go over the heads of young children, I assure you that kids of all ages will enjoy exploring and experimenting in this area!
Science & Main (second floor):
“Take a walk down Main Street and discover how science interacts with your everyday life. Wander past iconic Baltimore landmarks while solving puzzles, exploring physics, and completing engineering challenges at various shops, a construction zone, and even the airport.” My kids LOVE the “airport”, where they make paper airplanes and send them through a mechanical launcher. My daughter could spend the whole day here tweaking her airplanes to make them soar higher and higher. They also love to experiment with angles and surface material to test the bounce in the Drop Tower.
SpaceLink (second floor):
“Construct a planetary rover. Watch NASA’s latest launch countdowns and press conferences. Try on a flight suit. Track the orbits of satellites. SpaceLink is high tech and hands on!
SpaceLink staff is ready to share their knowledge with you. Through different interactive experiences, you may make a model of a crater, discover the ingredients of a comet, understand the vacuum of space, and simulate experiments done by NASA probes and rovers.” My kids loved building their own planetary rovers and seeing an actual space suit! Don’t miss the Life Beyond Earth exhibit right next door- I always learn something new here!
Planetarium (second floor):
All of the tours we’ve seen have been extraordinary, so don’t forget to check the schedule here before you go so you don’t miss out. ‘One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure‘ kept my two year old tornado’s attention for almost the entire duration, so I would definitely recommend this for those with little ones.
Kid’s Room (third floor):
The entire Science Center is geared towards children, but the Kid’s Room is a special place for children 0-8. Children can “fish” off of a boat, explore a submarine, experiment with magnets, and send letters via a pneumatic tube on the ceiling (I didn’t know what this meant either…it’s like sending checks to the teller using the drive-thru at the bank), among many other activities. My son loved pretending to be a veterinarian while looking over X-rays of animals and visiting the turtles, bugs, and spiders- including a tarantula! in The Learning Lab. This area is great because children can roam a bit more free as there is an employee at the door making sure no children leave without their adult.
**Please note that our favorite part of the Kid’s Room, the water play area, is being renovated and won’t be completed until June/July of 2018.
I would encourage you to check out the Kid’s Room last as I can’t imagine any child willingly leaving this space and you really don’t want to miss all the other incredible areas at the Science Center.
Know before you go:
-Get an Adventurer Annual Family Membership for only $75 OR admission for 2 people for $25 via Groupon here for a limited time- I would HIGHLY recommend getting the membership!!
-Check the Planetarium schedule here before you go!
-Check the schedule for the IMAX theater here
–Bathrooms are available on every floor
-There is a coat room in the lobby so you don’t have to lug coats around
-There is a cafe with everything from salads to hot dogs, but you are also welcome to bring your own lunch
-Don’t forget to check out the Events Calendar!
-Stroller friendly (elevators to each floor)
-I usually wouldn’t comment on the gift shops, but this one is amazing! I do most of my kids birthday shopping at the Maryland Science Center Gift Shop (and with my membership I get 10% off my total purchase)! There are so many fun kits and science/STEAM themed toys to bring home! The prices aren’t astronomical so I would encourage you to check it out (located between Newton’s Alley and the Cafe)!
-Members get 10% off at the cafe and gift shop
Discounts and Promotions:
Every First Friday of the month from October 6 – July 6 , 2018, the Maryland Science Center celebrates with discounted admission from 5:00-8:00pm.
Admission for First Friday includes the permanent exhibit halls, planetarium, and IMAX Theater. All visitors pay just $10 for admission during First Friday. The IMAX presentation is at 7:00pm, the Planetarium presentation is at 6:00pm, and you will encounter live science during your visit.
-Use the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Garage, enter on Lee Street between Light Street and Charles Street. Bring your parking ticket and receive a voucher providing you with a flat rate of $15.00 for the day.
-Use the Gallery Garage, enter from Calvert Street or South Street. Bring your parking ticket and receive a voucher providing you with a flat rate of $9.00 for the day.
-Use Arrow Parking Garage, located at 11 E. Lee Street between Light Street and Charles Street. Bring your parking ticket and receive a voucher providing you with a flat rate of $12.00 for the day.