- Port Discovery is totally worth the trip, for those of you who live in the DC-Metro area or who plan to come out here in the future. It’s right near the ESPN Zone and Restaurant Row in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It’s a sensory-overload hands-on children’s museum with events and exhibits that vary throughout the year. In Maddy’s words, it was “crazy fun”.
Before we began our day, I checked the website and found that they have fantastic resources for parents and educators. (Most museums have these at this point, and they’re totally worth checking out before a trip!) Under ‘Educators’ on the sidebar, you can click on ‘Teachers Resources’, and from there, you can go to the 16-page ‘Educators Guide’ or 12-page ‘Lesson Planning Guide’. Both documents are packed with pre- and post- visit ideas; there are even several science experiments and projects easy enough for pre-schoolers. They are very well done and are worth checking out in order to really get the most from your visit! You can even do some of the activities or worksheets without ever visiting the museum.
We got there close to opening time, but I was impressed with its cleanliness, the variety of activities, and the age range it suited. They have a huge climbing apparatus situated in the middle of the building, and it stretches about two stories. Brent had to follow Owen and Maddy as they climbed through it (otherwise I would have been a nervous wreck!), but they all–Brent included–had a blast and went through it several times.
Cora loved the pretend shopping area, complete with checkouts and a climb-on car nearby, and she also spent a ton of time with me in the water room. Here, they have raincoats and Crocs for the kiddos to wear so they don’t leave totally soaked. How great is that? Must have been a mom on the planning committee. . .
Like any public play area or touch-me museum, it wasn’t perfect, but surprisingly, our experience came pretty darn close.
It was hard to top Port Discovery, but after we left, Maddy, Owen, and Cora were in awe of the ships in the harbor, the people, and the shops and restaurants. They really loved walking around in the fresh air after a solid two and a half hours of playing at the children’s museum, but what we really needed was to re-fuel. Even the snacks I packed were devoured on our way out, and we could hear tummies grumbling.
We detoured to the closest burger joint, and everyone learned how to crack open peanuts (definitely an important life-skill for an almost 2 year old, right?) at Five Guys while we waited for some awesome burgers. Every last french fry was gone after our early dinner, and every eye in the house was shut tight by 7:30pm. Even Brent’s and mine. More excitement and learning happened today than we’re used to; we all needed some rest.