Baltimore Blessings: Port Discovery Museum + The Walters

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At the tail end of this year, the kids have had two great trips to Baltimore: one at the Port Discovery Museum near the Inner Harbor, and one at a kids’ activity day at the Walters Art Museum.

Ever since leaving Philly, we’ve been having ghost pains for the Please Touch Museum. After having such a positive experience at a Discovery museum in Las Vegas, we decided to check out the Port Discovery in Baltimore.

Totally worth a long, long pit stop and even worth a day trip.

Port Discovery

The focus is on experimentation and interactive play, not passive perusal, so running around and touching stuff is encouraged.

There’s a hodgepodge of different stations, some which encourage STEM discovery and application, some which focus on role playing and pretend, and some which present a challenge of deductive and inductive thinking.

At Port Discovery

There are areas for younger children, areas for artwork, a cafeteria, a water play section, exhibitions and demonstrations, and even a book nook.

Port Discovery's 5th Annual MayFair

It’s $15 for kids two and up, but there are discounts provided for military, AARP members, AAA members, Brick Bodies members, and Merritt Athletic Club members. Heck, show your IKEA family card, and you get half off one ticket. They also have occasional dates where admission is free or a dollar — but I’ve been warned that those occasions are often very, very popular, if you take my meaning.

You can also purchase a membership. The baseline Family membership pays for itself in three visits within a year, and there’s currently a promotional offer due to expire on January 3rd.

Several weeks later, we ended up taking advantage of an Art Education workshop (open to homeschoolers) at the Walters Art Museum.

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I went to undergrad in Baltimore, and I have fond memories of both the Walters and Baltimore Museum of Art, both of which are very open to their surrounding communities, and both of which have very special selective collections.

The Walters focuses on classical art, especially of Rome and Medieval and Renaissance Europe, but they frequently also have special exhibitions that provide a broader context to their core collection. Biggie’s workshop, for example, focused on Islamic art.

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This time at the Walters, I couldn’t help but noticing how inviting it is to families. There’s a kids’ exploration area at the lower level…

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regular activities, including free Drop-In Art from 11 to 4 on Saturdays and Sundays…

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and kids’ guides to regular exhibits…

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And admission is free. It’s clearly a gem in Baltimore, and one that’s under-appreciated at-large.

Parking is a pain in Baltimore city, but there’s discounted parking at the Harbor Garage next to Port Discovery on Saturdays and Sundays. Next time, I might experiment with parking in a less congested area and taking the Charm City Circulator.

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