Every year we search for an experience-type gift to give our son for Christmas.
This year, while searching for these awesome building tiles on Groupon I found a sweet deal on a 4-person yearly membership to the Maryland Science Center.
Since Baltimore is just under two hours from our home base in Gettysburg this was a great choice. Plus, Wyatt loves science-related topics like space, the human body, and dinosaurs.
We finally made it (one day before the Groupon voucher expired) for our first experience at the Maryland Science Center.
Parking: One nice thing about admission is that they offer you a flat-fee parking voucher for a few of the parking garages nearby. We (I) mistakenly parked in the wrong “Arrow Parking Garage” which was not part of the voucher system but the sweet parking attendant took it anyway. If you go, park at the garage on 11 E Lee Street. It is the closest one to the Center. Otherwise, you’ll walk 11 minutes in 29-degrees with cold wind blowing off the Harbor. 🙂
Admission: The gal who helped us was friendly and explained all the benefits of membership and answered a few questions we had. We did not have a long wait, maybe 3 minutes until we were admitted. If there is a line, they have a few demonstration stations so you can watch a demo or two while you’re waiting.
Crowds: We arrived around 10:30 am, the same time as several school field trip groups. The size of the Center meant it was not over crowded but the lack of supervision from the trip “chaperons” was off-putting. I don’t fault the Center for that but you should be aware. Sadly, courteous, kind, and respectful were not words I’d use to describe many of the kiddos.
Things To Do: There are 14 exhibits located through the three levels of the Center. You can read more about the exhibits here. SpaceLink, and Inside Your Body were our favorites. We got to enjoy one of the planetarium shows. It was more of a preschool/kindergarten aged program but it was the only one we could fit it. Next time we’ll stay for one of the live shows.
The Kids Room was also a favorite. Their highly interactive water play area was a hit. They even give aprons to wear so kids don’t get too wet!
Overall Review of Maryland Science Center
I think we’ll make great use of our yearly membership. As a homeschooling family this is a great place to go for hands-on exposure to topics we’ve already covered and those we’ll cover in the future with our favorite curriculum.
- Friendly staff
- Very few “extra” charges (IMax and Tornado simulator)
- Parking voucher for garages
- Reasonable cafe prices
- Almost all displays are hands-on and interactive
- Beautiful view of Inner Harbor
- You can brown-bag lunch
- Not evolution-heavy
- Within walking distance of Camden Yards, Port Discovery, and The National Aquarium
- 4-6 broken/ non-working displays
- Not enough seating in the Cafe (during lunchtime)
- Unsupervised school kids
- Reciprocating Center “benefit” isn’t all its cracked up to be