By Amy Suski
If you haven't yet been to the Maryland Science Center, now is a great time to check it out. As one of the country's top-rated science centers for families, the Science Center has so much for kids to see and even more for them to DO. Located at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, the Science Center features 14 full-sized dinosaur models, tons of cool science exhibits, the world-famous Davis Planetarium, a five story IMAX Theater, and plenty of chances for kids to keep their hands busy with interactive science activities.
Immediately upon entering the Science Center one of the first areas you'll be drawn to is Newton's Alley -- a playful collection of contraptions demonstrating the principles of mass, force, and motion. And the activities aren't just for kids -- moms and dads can challenge their kids to a tug of war, use ropes and pulleys to lift their children off the ground, levitate balls, and race bubbles. Everyone gets excited about this area, but remember to pace yourself -- there's much much more in store!
In the Dinosaur Mysteries exhibit, kids will be thrilled when they are offered goggles and digging to tools to help excavate fossils from "real" dig pits. While playing paleontologist, kids will hear the sounds of dinosaurs rumbling across the landscape and can walk in the real footsteps of the giants.
After oohing and aaaahing at the dinosaurs, for little ones (0-8 years old), the clear favorite is the The Kids Room. Our kids loved this room so much it was hard to tear them away. Whatever your child's interest, there is bound to be an activity that will fascinate them: a street scene with doorbells to ring, a submarine with a periscope, a fishing dock, train table, building toys, and more. Crawlers even have their own area with soft blocks and toys. For our kids, the favorite was the elaborate water play area where you can direct the flow of water by building dams, guide a boat through the system, and use the spray nozzles and fountains to endlessly fill and empty cups. Although smocks are provided, expect your kids to get at least a little wet -- and probably A LOT wet. A change of clothes is probably not a bad idea!
Big kids will enjoy the SciLab where they can don lab coats and conduct real science experiments using test tubes, microscopes, and more. In the exhibit Cells: The Universe Inside Us, you can travel through a virtual cell of the body and walk through a maze to see how proteins are made.
If your kids are interested in space, SpaceLink features computers, satellite tv and big screens that offer a window into the high tech world of space exploration. Kids can even try on a flight suit and build spacecraft. The Davis Planetarium will also wow kids with an immersive introduction to stars, planets, and black holes. And little ones will enjoy a special planetarium show just for them: One World One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure, which takes kids on an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon.
Finally, a trip to the Maryland Science Center wouldn't be complete without visiting the giant animatronic Blue Crab -- complete with pinching claws that will make your kids squeal. Near the crab you can also meet live crabs and fish and walk on a huge satellite floor-map of the Chesapeake Bay.
For science fun throughout the year, check the Science Center's calendar for events such as Friday Night Stargazing (free), Sungazing Saturdays (free), and First Fridays (discounted admission).
Tip: although parking at the Inner Harbor can be tricky, the Science Center has partnered with an online parking reservations site to make it a little easier. The Science Center also validates parking tickets at two nearby garages which will get you either a flat rate of $9.00 or 25% off your ticket. For details please visit the Science Center website.
The opinions expressed are entirely my own and do not reflect those of the Science Center. We did not receive any special discounts or benefits on this visit. All rights are reserved by KidTrips © 2014.
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