Being close to the water is good for the soul, and the picturesque setting of Solomons Island, MD is definitely the perfect location for a day trip. Located around 75-90 minutes from the Washington DC metro area (depending on your location,) Solomons, MD feels like worlds away. The number one, don't miss attraction for families is The Calvert Marine Museum.
The Calvert Marine Museum boasts 29,000 feet of indoor exhibit space as well as a marsh walk, Drum Point Lighthouse, outdoor exhibits featuring small crafts, and a river cruise on the William B. Tennison. It is a hands-on place for kids to learn, have fun, and the museum hosts many special events and concerts throughout the year. In fact, the concerts attract huge names like Journey, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, the Gin Blossoms and more!
What you'll see at the museum:
Discovery Room: This is the place for young ones to pretend to sail on a boat, climb in a play lighthouse, dig for fossils on the beach, and observe and interact with small marine creatures such as turtles, horse shoe crabs and sea stars. Knowledgeable staff is often on hand leading demonstrations.
Skates and Rays: Meet some trained docents to learn all about these cousins of the shark, a skate and a sting ray! Learn the differences, touch them, and see their stages of development.
Paleontology Exhibit: Dive into our prehistoric past to see fossils, models, videos, multi-media exhibits and more that show the creatures that lived in the waters long ago.
Maritime History Exhibit: View artifacts, exhibits, and boats from different points in history, starting with the Pawtuxunt Native Americans through the race boats of the 1970s.
Estuarine Biology Exhibit: Encounter aquatic habitants of the region such as gobies, seahorses, the blue crab, invasive Snakehead and more. Go outside and meet Bubbles and Squeak, the resident river otters, and watch them play, dive, and swim around. Please note that the indoor Estuarium Hall is currently under a huge renovation and is closed to the public. It will re-open October 2014. The otter exhibit is outdoors and remains open during the renovation.
Marsh Walk: This short boardwalk area is a great place to stroll and look for turtles, birds, jellyfish, wildflowers, dragonflies, butterflies and more.
Small Craft Collection and Woodcarving Shop: The museum has an impressive collection of small crafts from different eras located in an open building. Then, pop into the woodcarving shop to witness master woodcarvers and shipbuilders at work.
The Drum Point Lighthouse: This screwpile, cottage-type light is only one of three remaining from forty-five that once served the Chesapeake Bay (Calvert Marine Museum website.) Visitors have the opportunity to climb up into the lighthouse and get a peek at what the living quarters would have been like for a lighthouse keeper at the beginning of the 20th Century. There are ladder like stairs to climb up to the first level, but staff is always happy to assist and guide visitors and children.
River Cruise on the Wm. B Tennison: Although it costs extra, we highly recommend taking the narrated, one-hour river cruise on the Tennison. The boat trip is offered May-October, with additional trips on weekends and holidays. The cruise down Solomons' Inner Harbor is beautiful and the breeze and shade is refreshing on a hot summer day. Please note that the boat only seats 40, so buy your tickets right when you enter the museum. Also, strollers are not permitted on board the ship.
The Calvert Marine Museum
14200 Solomons Island Road
Solomons, MD 20688
Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on certain holidays)
(55 and older)................$7.00
Children ages 5 to 12.....$4.00
Children under 5............FREE
William B. Tennison Boat Cruise Rates: $7.00 for Adults, $4.00 for children 5-12 years.Under 5 are free when accompanied by an adult.
Solomons Island has some fantastic restaurants for lunch and dinner spots. We left the museum and ate a delicious, fresh seafood lunch at Solomons Pier Restaurant and
then returned to the museum to see more exhibits and go on our cruise. It is a great way to extend and break up the day. Solomons Island also is home to quaint shops and a walkable waterfront. Visit www.solomonsmaryland.com for more information.
We received complimentary admission to the museum only for this review. All opinions are our own. Pictures are property of Jay Williamson and Kid Trips LLC. They may not be used in any other publication without permission. All rights reserved.
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