While your child’s school is not likely to host many field trips this school year, that doesn’t mean you can’t go on a field trip of your own. There are plenty of Baltimore area destinations where families can learn about a ton of interesting things—from history to art, and even baseball.
With that in mind, here are six family-friendly field trips in Baltimore that hit the fun-yet-educational mark. And, after many months of being closed, are back open (with mask requirements and other social distancing procedures in place, of course).
Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
216 Emory Street
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Adults $12; Kids (5–16) $6
Though he died over 70 years ago, kids of all ages have most likely heard of George Herman “Babe” Ruth thanks to their parents or, maybe even his presence in the movie “The Sandlot,” an all-time great movie that references many of his all-time great nicknames including ‘The Great Bambino,’ ‘The Sultan of Swat,’ and ‘The Titan of Terror.’
However, kids might not know that he was born here in Baltimore, in 1895, in a house just two blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. You can also school the kids by taking them to the house, which is now an awesome museum featuring objects from both his playing career and personal life, as well as exhibits related to baseball and sport in general.
Kid- and adult-friendly exhibits include those focusing on the city and house where Babe Ruth grew up and began playing ball. The museum also focuses on Babe’s role as a father, national celebrity, and philanthropist (including his Presidential Medal of Freedom); his career as a record-setting home run hitter and pitcher; and membership in the elite 500 Home Run Club.
However, according to Executive Director Shawn Herne, the can’t miss exhibit is “Oh Say Can You See: The Star Spangled Banner in Sports,” the museum’s award-winning film that tells the story of how the Baltimore-bred song came to be played at sporting events across the country.
“We strive to be a family-friendly destination at all times, but we’re especially happy to be able to give guests of all ages a taste of baseball in an unprecedented year when they can’t go see a game,” says Herne.
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Ave.
Wednesday—Saturday 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
$9 Adults; kids (3–18) $6
Reserved tickets required.
Going by the numbers, you could visit the Maryland Center for History and Culture (formerly known as the Maryland Historical Society Museum) every day for a month and still not have enough time for an in-depth look at each of its objects and artifacts.
Some of its collection includes:
- 2,200 paintings and miniatures, including portraits by Joshua Johnson, America’s first professional African-American portrait painter.
- 900 pieces of furniture, including much from the “Golden Age” of Baltimore furniture production.
- 10,000 household objects, and 2,500 toys, dolls, and games.
- 10,750 textiles, including the world’s largest collection of Baltimore Album quilts, one of only three surviving Revolutionary War officer’s uniforms in America, and one of the only surviving examples of a Civil War flag carried by an African-American regiment.
- 1,900 pieces of Maryland-made porcelain, pottery, and glass, plus 866 pieces of jewelry.
- 2,200 Native American prehistoric archaeological objects, 1,000 maritime objects, and 231 weapons spanning the Revolutionary War to World War II.
David Armenti, director of education, says his top three things to see are the interactive map of Baltimore in 1815, Charles Wilson Peale’s Mastodon, and Paul Henderson’s Civil Rights Era Photographs exhibition. But he promises there’s something for everyone.
“The museum has such a wonderful variety of exhibitions that both parents and kids will be able to find something that sparks their interests,” says Armenti. “Plus we provide diverse public programming, from candle-dipping and quill and ink letter-writing workshops, and free parking!”
Poe House & Museum
203 N. Amity St.
Thursday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Private tours only; reservations required.
$25 per tour (6 people max)
Located in the small rowhouse where Edgar Allan Poe lived with his aunt, grandmother, and two cousins from 1833–1835, The Poe House features exhibits that tell the story of the world-famous author’s life and mysterious death in Baltimore. It also houses eye-catching artifacts that put visitors in his mindset—including his writing desk, chair, and telescope.
“Being in the same space where Poe lived (and is estimated to have written nine stories and eight poems) is an informative experience,” says Enrica Jang, director of Poe Baltimore. “Despite how famous Poe is now, the small, humble home shows you that great things can happen anywhere. Given that Edgar was an orphan who found refuge with his blood relations in Baltimore, it can also spark great conversations about what family is and how people connect to one another.”
The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles St.
Wednesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Thurs. 10 a.m.–9 p.m.)
The Walters is basically the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Baltimore. Though unlike the Met, it’s free! The museum’s collection spans more than seven millennia, dating from 5,000 BCE to the 21st century. Collections encompass some 36,000 objects that represent the height of human creativity and artistry, from Ethiopian icons and ancient Roman sarcophagi to richly illuminated Quran and Gospel books, serene images of the Buddha, and 19th-century images of French gardens.
Communications Manager Gabrielle Souza says that the museum’s luminous stained glass windows and curio cabinet of treasures, known as the Chamber of Wonders, are visitor favorites as well.
American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Hwy.
Wednesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Advanced, online purchase of a timed ticket is required to visit the museum.
Adults: $15.95; Children: $9.95 (6 and under, free)
You’ve likely heard of or seen AVAM’s Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, in which 100% human-powered machines/floats/vehicles made of almost anything travel through Baltimore. And you may have even seen some of the great things outside of it—the Cosmic Galaxy Egg sculpture; Baltimore’s Most Beloved Public Sculpture, a three-ton spinning whirligig; and mirrored exterior mosaic walls made by members of an apprenticeship program for incarcerated and at-risk youth outside. Or you may have seen the eclectic art inside of it, from the life-sized statue of Icarus that flies up and down the main central staircase, to the First Ever Robot Family and the supremely popular farting machine sculpture in the basement.
But according to Helen Yuen, Director of Marketing and Communications, there’s never been a better time to plan a field trip to see a few of AVAM’s newest offerings. “Don’t let the little ones miss the our current mega-exhibition, ‘The Secret Life of Earth,’ says Yuen. “There’s no end to what they can learn from it. The exhibit’s Giant Green Monkeys will teach them that our human eyeballs are hardwired to perceive more variations of the color green than any other color; their journey through a Baltimore garden will help them discover all of the natural wonders that are right in their own backyard; and the collection of shoes painted with nature scenes will kindle their imaginations. Then they can go home and list all of the different greens they see in your house and backyard, take pictures of their own natural wonders, and paint a pair of old shoes you were tempted to discard.”
AVAM is also continuing to offer its live, virtual group tours, workshops, and events, along with ready-to-go virtual tours and at-home art workshops you can do with everyday objects around the house.
Baltimore Museum of Industry
**Still Closed due to Covid**
Located in what was once a thriving oyster cannery on a thriving port, the BMI celebrates the types of work, and the types of workers, that made Baltimore’s and Maryland’s proud industrial legacy possible—a legacy that includes helping create the first railroad and the linotype, publishing the first African-American newspaper, and becoming the oyster-canning and umbrella capital of the world.
The museum is still closed due to COVID, though Mullins reports that many elements of these exhibits, along with their accompanying hands-on engineering activities for kids, have been converted to online versions amid COVID.
However, the BMI will open its newest exhibition, Women of Steel, on October 12 on the museum’s fence along Key Highway in South Baltimore, marking the first BMI exhibit to be installed outside. The BMI designed this exhibit to be accessible and allow for social distancing and open air-exploration. The exhibition is free of charge to view.