Just incase you haven’t been to Port Discovery since before the pandemic, I will share a little about some of the change made in the past three years. Port Discovery did a remarkable job transforming the museum while still holding true to its original charm. We love the changes that were made. The Port Discovery Museum is pioneering the way to play by offering families a fun way to learn and grow in an environment that encourages curiosity and promoting learning through fun. I’m thrilled to share with you all about what makes this museum one that will make you want to come back time and time again.
I had to start off the article by sharing about the much anticipated and totally amazing SkyClimber! I couldn’t pull my boys off this new playground that is perfect for children ages 5 and up to explore. Young ones and the young at heart can reach for the sky on this four-story, netted climbing structure. When you reach the top of the atrium, you are greeted by white fluffy clouds where you stand in the middle and clap your hands loudly… your applause will sound off thunder.
The best part of climbing to the top is enjoying your way down. If you have adventurous and active littles like mine, they are sure to love the four-story, twisty-metal slide that shoots you down a super-fast, swirling spiral of fun. One thing, as a parent, that I like about the new play structure, is that there are no exits from the play structure to different floors of the museum. The only way down is the super-slide that takes you back to where you started.
The SkyClimber promotes courage, builds confidence and provides opportunity to strengthen gross motor skills. It is designed for children ages five and older; however, you are the expert on your child’s interest and ability. There is a smaller play area for toddlers under the SkyClimber. Take note that there are no shoes allowed on the play structures; however, socks are required. The day we went they had socks to borrow, however, bring a pair just to play it safe.
I had the chance to test it out myself, and trust me you will get a workout climbing to the top and the slide really is fast! It will definitely help get the kids’ wiggles and giggles out. My boys were definitely tired out by the end of the day.
CHESSIE’S GROTTO- TODDLER PLAY AREA
This under water Chesapeake Bay themed toddler area is fabulous. You will find soft climbers and slide for little ones to play around on. This section is full of sensory integration with textures and tactile experiences along Chessie’s tail. The bubbly tubes and kelp forest are calming and relaxing. There are soft sea creatures to cuddle up to and read a story with.
This section is perfect little ones ages four and under. It is designed to help little ones develop fine motor skills, enhance sensory development and encourage early literacy skills.
Aboard the S.S. Friendship your little sailor can take an adventure on a life-sized cargo ship. Visitors are encouraged to work together to operate the boat. From captain to crew member, all jobs are important. On the deck you move, stack and explore what’s inside of shipping containers and even operate a gantry crane! Aboard the ship explore the engine room or try your hand at navigating. The Port is the perfect exhibit to have in the heart of Baltimore. It’s a great hands-on learning opportunity to get a feel for how one of the world’s most active ports operates!
The Port encourages collaboration, strengthens gross motor skills, enhances problem solving and social skills, as well as offers a chance to work on core S.T.E.A.M. concepts.
FRESH NEW LOOK
Most of the main exhibit rooms are the same; however, each room has gotten a fresh coat of paint and deep cleaning so they look brand new. One thing I did notice is that in Tot Trails the infants-and-toddlers room there is now a new private nursing room.
Don’t pass over the hallways. There are now interesting things to explore between the rooms. The weaving wall, the overlook, sensory wall or STEM mini-exhibits are lots of fun.
ROTATING EXHIBIT: HERE WE GROW
We could have easily spent an entire day in this section. Here We Grow introduces young ones to Maryland agriculture. Learn about the science, history and process of farming in an interactive way. Explore the greenhouse which feature four components, each representing one season of the year. Climb on a tractor, build your own farming tools, sort produces, test your cow milking skills and more!
INFORMATION AND TIPS
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Pl. Baltimore, MD
- Exploring it all- The museum itself is huge. It almost seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to see and do all that’s offered. I highly recommend considering a membership pass so that you come back and enjoy the museum on at your leisure. Being a member also gives you the chance to attend special events. A membership pass pays for itself in just three visits and makes a great present, giving the gift of memories last longer think toys!!! Membership Link
- To stroll or not to stroll that is the question- Port Discovery is handicap and stroller accessible. The hallways are spacious and there is an elevator to transport you to each floor. There are plenty of spots to park your wheels.
- Clothing- Dress comfortable and ready for fun. Keep in mind that socks are needed in order to play on the SkyClimber. Also, there is a water play room. Provided in the room are shoes and waterproof jackets for kids of all sizes. However, if the splashing gets a little crazy clothing can get wet. I keep a change of clothing in the car just in case.
- One silly tip– Be sure to secure all loss items before you play in the giant play area. We (cough cough my husband) almost lost the car keys once. I’m sure the kids wouldn’t have been upset about getting stuck at the museum. There are also lockers by the entrance if you need a place secure items or store your jackets or other personal items. Lockers are now FREE!
- Quiet Time- If you are looking for a place to nurse or nap your infant. There is a nursing room on the second floor in the infant-and-toddler room.
- Safety First– I love that the museum has a strict security procedure. Before leaving the security officer will check each child’s bracelet to ensure it matches the code on the adult they are exiting the museum with.
- Parking preference– Park in the lot next to the museum and ask for parking validation before you leave the museum to save $5 ($15 to park all day). Parking discount available to patrons, be sure to only park with-in one hour of opening and leave within one hour after closing.
- Dining options– Bringing a lunch is a great way to save time and money. There is seating area with tables near the front of the museum where you can eat lunch. Just remember food and drinks are prohibited from the exhibit areas. There are also quite a lot of food options if you wish to dine out. It seemed that a lot of the restaurants to the right were bars with food choices. However, if you walk back to the left towards the harbor there are a lot more family friendly options. I recommend Blaze Pizza where you design your own pie and have it baked fresh in brick fired oven. Keep in mind, many of the restaurants offer a discount if you show your museum bracelet! Also, the harbor is only a short three block walk from the museum if you wanted to check out the sites and restaurants in that area.
***I want to thank Port Discovery Children’s Museum for providing tickets for the guide and giveaway. The Playful Parent is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit that promotes learning through play and advocates family bonding and does NOT receive any incentive or payment. All information is based on my own non-bias opinion. Photography and content are intellectual property of The Playful Parent and permission must be granted for use.***