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Port Discovery is worth venturing into the city with kids — Mommy Daze

PortDiscovery03There are so many cool places to visit in Baltimore, but for some reason I rarely get there with the boys. Maybe it’s the thought of finding parking, possibly walking long distances with two toddlers in tow or just my overall frugality. But one place that I really think is worth the trip (and the money) is Port Discovery Children’s Museum near the Inner Harbor.

It’s definitely a great place for kids to learn through play. Their motto is literally “Play with a Purpose.” This place is pretty huge, three floors total. We’ve been a couple times and still have only seen a handful of the exhibits. I highly recommend going with other parents or family members as I personally find the massiveness of this place a little intimidating. There’s various stairwells and rooms so it’s always a little challenging to keep an eye on both my little runners at the same time.

When you first arrive there’s a gift shop and locker area right off the main lobby. If you want to keep a tot contained, I found the entire place to be pretty stroller-friendly. In the very middle is a gigantic three-story “Kid Works” tree house-themed jungle gym of ropes, bridges and slides. It’s recommended for children over the age of 5 and since neither of my little ones have ever had an interest in venturing in, I haven’t personally been inside, but it looks pretty impressive. Be forewarned, however, that they can enter Kid Works on one level and exit on a different floor — so have a set meeting place incase someone gets lost.

The first floor:

  •  “BGE Studio Workshop” is an art studio that changes activities every four months.
  •  “Kick it Up” is an interactive athletic stadium where kids can play soccer, dance, have virtual bike races and just run around like crazy.
  •  “The Farm” is an area where kids can pretend to work the land. James loved pulling the ball up the spiral silo pulley-system and hearing it plunk down the metal chute.
  •  “MPT Studio” has tons of percussion instruments made out of every-day items the kids can clamor away on.
  •  “Royal Farms” is a convenience store replica with an actual small car that kids can “fill up” at the gas pump or climb into.

The second floor:

  •  “Oasis” is a library area with puzzles and quiet activities, as well as the scheduled Circle Times. It’s a great little getaway from the chaos of the rest of the PortDiscovery02museum.
  •  “Adventure Expeditions” is an Egyptian-themed exhibit for older children (over 7) that you apparently need a map to make it through!
  •  “Tot Trails” is an infant and toddler room has lots of hands-on activities at crawling-baby eye level and a large sandbox and “mountain” climbing area for walking and climbing toddlers. This room is also where they host toddler-friendly story times and music play throughout the day.
  •  “Terraces” is a tiered play area that has a train with working sounds and a pretend market place for loading crates of play food onto the train.

The third floor:

  •  “Wonders of Water” is our favorite spot, where kids can maneuver boats down water channels, squeegee the windows, setup their own PVC pipe water fountains and even stand inside a giant bubble, all while staying semi-dry inside rain jackets and water-proof Crocs. And if they do get a little soggy, there are giant-sized body dryers are near the door.
  •  “Tiny’s Diner” is a fun spot to grab a pretend bite to eat, made especially for you by your toddler while you sit back and enjoy the 1950s décor.
  •  “Miss Perception’s Mystery House” is another exhibit for older children (over 6) but was entertaining to walk through with the boys. Some areas did spook them a little with the unusual sounds and odd voices that would make this a fun exhibit for young mystery buffs.
  •  “Meyerhoff Gallery” is the area that hosts whatever visiting exhibit is there. The two that we’ve seen included the Wizard of Oz and Curious George. Currently it’s the Lego Castle Adventure. There is always lots of really creative and fun things to do in this area, and sometimes we’ve spent our whole time just there.

So as you can see, there is a lot to do at Port Discovery, and it is great if you have kids of varying ages because there’s something for everyone. The operating hours vary throughout the year, and there are lots of different story times, family days and other events, so be sure to check their website before you go: www.portdiscovery.org

Click here to read more Mommy Daze.


Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.

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