1. What are some programs and activities offered by Port Discovery that are specifically geared towards families?
For families with infants and toddlers, Jingle Jangle Music Time and Mother Goose on the Loose are interactive story times that engage both parents and little ones in sing-alongs, dancing, and instrumental music. The first Saturday of each month is Healthy First Saturday where we offer special programs that focus on health and promote family fitness. Parents and children and can learn how to make a healthy snack in our Cook and Tell program or take a family yoga class. They can also participate in the FITastic! Family Voyage which features five fitness stations that test strength, balance and endurance.
2. What can visitors expect to experience in the new LEGO Castle Adventure exhibit?
In this exhibit, children and adults are transported to a life-sized LEGO kingdom where they can become master castle builders. The exhibit features several real world castles (Blarney, Arundel, and Neuschwanstein) which have been reconstructed by LEGO Master Builders out of LEGO bricks. There are several LEGO brick building areas where children and adults can create their own castles and structures. Guests can test their architectural skills using a 3-D computer program and a real-world catapult to design a catapult-proof wall. There is also a dress up area where children can try on medieval costumes and a "jousting" field.
3. There is a lot to see and do at the museum. What exhibition at the museum is the most fun for the whole family?
Kick It Up! is our most popular, "fun for the whole family" exhibit because it is actually two exhibits in one. In the morning, it's an indoor soccer field complete with goal posts and scoreboard. Soccer is such a family oriented sport and we see many parents and children playing together or against each other! In the afternoon, the field converts into an ExerGames arena where children and adults can ride stationary bikes and compete in a virtual bike race; play iDance (similar to Dance Dance Revolution) or surf, snow board, or skateboard on balance boards. The adults love the games as much as the kids!
4. Tell us about some of the unique offerings that visitors can find at Port Discovery that they can't find at any other children's museum?
In addition to Kick It Up!, our soccer field/Exergames arena, our infant/toddler exhibit, Tot Trails, is designed to celebrate the unique landscapes of Maryland. One side of the exhibit is designed to replicate the tidal pools and dunes you'll find on the Eastern Shore and includes a sand table where little ones can "dig" for shells. The other side is the Mountain Trail where toddlers can crawl and climb through the Paw Paw Tunnel and catch butterflies. The exhibit also includes a GIANT Light Brite board, which isn't necessarily related to Maryland, but very cool! We are also the only children's museum in the country to have a replica Royal Farms Convenience Store that was actually designed by the same architects who design their stores. Children can shop for food, ring up items at the register, and fill up a VW Beetle with gas from the gas the gas pump. The unique message in this exhibit is to teach children they can make healthy choices in a convenient world.
5. What do you hope families will learn after visiting the museum for the first time?
I would like families to learn the value of play. Children nowadays are so scheduled between school, extracurricular activities, and homework, and when they are not focusing on school work, they either online or playing video games. There is little time for physical play. The programs and exhibits at Port Discovery engage children in quality, purposeful play. Here, children use their hands and imaginations to build and create new things. They can physically challenge themselves by climbing and sliding through our three-story treehouse. They can solve a mystery, learn about ancient Egypt, and build a water fountain all in one visit. Playful learning is fundamental to the development of all children. Play helps children build their emotional and social skills. Play develops motor skills and enhances cognitive skills, and above all children learn through play. In the words of Albert Einstein, "Play is the highest form of research."
What's New in Baltimore
Baltimore Museum of Art Reopens American Wing
10 Art Museum Drive
A spectacular new presentation of the grand American Wing presents more than 800 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts intertwined, revealing surprising connections and fascinating stories. Thematic displays explore the international character of American art and Baltimore's position as a major center for art production and foreign trade from the late 18th century forward. www.artbma.org
Make Way for Penguins!
Druid Hill Park
Penguin Coast, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore's new state-of-the-art African penguin exhibit, brings guests up-close to penguins and white-breasted cormorants in a vivid re-creation of their natural habitat along the coasts and islands of South Africa. The exhibit provides a richer and more diverse living environment for the Zoo's current colony of African black-footed penguins, including an 185,000 gallon pool surrounding the indoor Conservation Center which will house the birds' nest boxes, a hospital room, kitchen and keeper work space. This space, at more than 1,920 square feet, allows the Zoo to eventually grow the African penguin colony up to 100 birds. www.marylandzoo.org
Special Events & Exhibitions
Tassels & Champagne - Palazzo Decadente
February 14, 2015
No one did decadence as well as Rome, and this glamorous performance of live music, variety arts, and classic striptease pay flirty homage to the Caesars' love of the earthly pleasures. This sinfully, salacious premier is filled with the best in burlesque! Join King of Boylesque 2014, Mr. Gorgeous, Richmond's award-winning head-and-hoop spinning sensation; Lula Houp-Garou; Baltimore's Sicilian Queen and producer of Gilded Lily Burlesque, Maria Bella; playing Caesar and Baltimore MC, Hot Todd Lincoln; Baltimore's Tap-Dancing Diva and producer of Twisted Knickers Burlesque, Tapitha Kix; Gilded Lily's smoldering torch singer, Sophia Sunday; aerial artistry by Bmore's own, Patsi Cake; co-founder of DC's Black Tassel Boolesque, Valeria Voxx; DC's Sweetheart of the Dark, Mourna Handful; and stunning stage kitten, Lauren Marleaux. With Roman Dixieland swing by Baltimore's Sac Au Lait! www.creativealliance.org
LEGO® Castle Adventure
Port Discovery Children's Museum
February 14 - September 20, 2015
Summoning all castle builders! Builders of all ages are invited to explore, build and play in the newest traveling exhibition, LEGO® Castle Adventure! In this exhibit, kids and their families are transported to a LEGO® kingdom where they too can become master castle builders, using one of the greatest building materials of all time – LEGO® bricks. Activities include Build, Build Build®, Explore a Giant Castle®, Aim a Catapult, Defend the Castle Walls, See a LEGO® Dragon, and Design and Build Topiaries. www.portdiscovery.org
February 15-28, 2015
From February 15-28, visitors can enjoy great deals at hotels; restaurants; and museums and attractions. Here's your chance to enjoy special, fixed-price dinner menus as well as brunch and lunch options; treat yourself to a money-saving package at your choice of accommodations and receive a bonus gift card; or enjoy "Buy One Get One" ticket offers and special programming at museums and attractions. www.absolutelyfebulous.com
2015 CAA Men's Basketball Championship
Royal Farms Arena
March 6-9, 2015
The road to March Madness returns to Baltimore with nine games, eight teams in four days! Baltimore will crown another champion when the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Men's Basketball Championship takes place at the Royal Farms Arena. The win-or-go-home event will crown one champion who will represent the CAA as its automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championship and the Big Dance. www.baltimore.org/caa
Black Box: Sharon Hayes
Baltimore Museum of Art
March 15 - July, 2015
Through her performances, films, and installations, Baltimore-born artist Sharon Hayes examines the intersection of history, politics, and speech, with a particular focus on the language of 20th-century protest groups. For this exhibition the BMA is presenting Hayes' Ricerche: three(2013), a 38-minute video that debuted at the 2013 Venice Biennale and received a special mention from the Golden Lion award committee. The film questions attitudes of 36 students at an all-women's college in western Massachusetts on issues of sexual and gender identity. www.artbma.org
Where to Stay
With more than 25 TAG-approved hotels and 10 IGLTA partner accommodations, choices range from quaint B&Bs and boutique hotels to larger upscale hotels and extended stay properties.
Hyatt Place Baltimore/ Inner Harbor
511 South Central Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21202
Opened in December 2014, Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor offers a refreshing blend of style and innovation. Travelers will enjoy a neighborhood alive with cultural attractions, shopping and amazing restaurants.
Where to Dine
Baltimore's culinary scene is drawing rave reviews from around the globe. From the Inner Harbor to our trendy, historic and hip neighborhoods throughout the city, dining options in Baltimore have expanded in recent years to feature a veritable smorgasbord of cuisines and a range of stylish environments to suit every taste.
614 Water Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
AGGIO showcases Bryan Voltaggio's approach to Italian cuisine, drawing from its simplicity, pairing Italian fundamentals with his beloved local Mid-Atlantic home.