The Ultimate Guide to the Calvert Marine Museum With Kids
The Calvert Marine Museum is not only one of the best museums in Southern Maryland, but one of the best, kid-friendly museums in the entire region. Located in Solomons, MD in Calvert County, the Calvert Marine Museum tells the unique story of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s maritime heritage. It’s also a super family friendly, hands-on spot that should be on your Southern Maryland day trip bucket list! Here is my Ultimate Guide to the Calvert Marine Museum With Kids!
Skates and Rays
Located at the front of the museum, the Skates and Rays exhibit will likely be the first room your encounter. Did you know these aquatic animals are cousins of the shark? Rays and Skates are different because Rays give birth to babies (pups), and skates lay eggs, also called the Mermaid’s Purse. Either way, you and your kids will love the opportunity to interact with the skates and rays.. and you might even get to touch them!
Related: Check out the Ultimate Guide to the National Aquarium
Another highlight for you and your kids will almost certainly be the otters! There is both an interior and exterior otter exhibit. The interior exhibit is where you can see how the museum takes care of the otters. The outdoor exhibit is where you can see the North American river otters play and swim. If you are lucky they might even play a game of peek-a-boo with you!
Related: Best Weekend Trips from Baltimore!
The Discovery Room is surely going to be one of your kids’ favorite exhibits because it’s basically a maritime themed play area for kids. There are touch pools where kids can see horseshoe crabs, terrapins, sea stars, and sea urchins up close.
There is a replica of Cove Point Lighthouse your kids will love to climb up. Kids can play in the wooden boat replica that was made in the boat shop.
There are dress up costumes and other games and activities as well.
Related: Check out the Ultimate Guide to Port Discovery!
On the map, this area is called the Estuarine Biology Gallery, but it’s basically a small aquarium. This is located at the back of the museum and adjacent to the otter exhibits. Aquatic animals you will see include the chain dogfish, a small shark, seahorses, shrimp, water snakes, terrapins, various fish, and a jellyfish tank!
The Rays exhibit and Discovery Room are at the front of the museum near the admissions desk. As you pass the Discovery Room on your left, Paleo Hall will start on your right. This is a super cool exhibit that tells the story of Maryland’s prehistoric past. As you know, the Chesapeake Bay is famous for shark teeth and other prehistoric items embedded in the seashore and coastal areas.
This part of the museum has a recreation of Calvert Cliffs, a restoration of the extinct Miocene giant white shark, and a fossil preparation lab.
Drum Point Lighthouse
One of the most iconic pictures of Maryland’s maritime history are all the lighthouses that still stand on its shores. The Drum Point Lighthouse moved to the Calvert Marine Museum in 1975 and was restored. Today visitors can actually climb the steps to visit the inside of the lighthouse and see how keepers would have lived from 1883, when the lighthouse started operations, until the mid-20th century.
You can also visit the Cove Point Lighthouse and grounds, but this lighthouse is not adjacent to the main museum.
In the Drum Point Lighthouse area there is also a small craft exhibit and small craft center you can tour.
Related: Best Easy Hikes for Kids in Maryland
The Marsh Walk is a boardwalk trail over the marshes and is truly a living museum. Visitors can see wildlife in its natural environments. There are signs along the boardwalk to help you identify plant and wildlife. The boardwalk trail is very short and you can also get great views of the Drum Point Lighthouse.
Maritime History Hall
The Maritime History Hall is probably the least kid-friendly area of the museum, but you should not discount it. This part of the museum is incredibly interesting as is tells the story of Southern Maryland and its people. There are exhibits about the native, indigenous people who lived in Southern Maryland when Captain John Smith explored the region.
You can learn about the Colonial Period and tobacco shipping, including some very thought provoking exhibits on slavery. Note: these exhibits are kid appropriate. Even as a 4 year old, this particular exhibit sparked great conversation about America’s role in slavery.
There are also exhibits on early 20th century history and the role of the area in WWII.
Kid Friendly Events
There are a number of regular kid friendly events that are geared to young children and even older kids. Sea Squirts is a bi-monthly story time and craft activity time for kids ages 18 months to 3 years old.
Little Minnows is a story and craft time geared to kids ages 3-5. These sessions also occur twice a month. They are included in the admission price and you can sign up for the session at the admissions desk.
There are also regular homeschool-focused events that focus on specific elementary-school aged activities.
Special Events and Activities
The Calvert Marine Museum hosts a number of family friendly special events throughout the year. Here are some of the major events that would be super fun for kids!
- First Fossil Fridays- bring your shark teeth in and have them examined by a paleontologist!
- Great Backyard Bird Count (February)
- OtterMania (March)
- Fossil Egg Hunt (April)
- Fossil Field Experience (select dates April- September for older kids and adults)
- Solomon’s Maritime Festival (May)
- Sharkfest (July)
You can also pay an extra fee and go on a river cruise aboard the Wm. B. Tennison.
Know Before You Go:
- Cost of Admission: Adults- $11, 55+/AAA/Military- $9, Ages 5-12- $6, Ages 4 and under- FREE!
- Parking is FREE!
- Google Map Link to the Calvert Marine Museum
- Address: 14200 Solomons Island Rd S, Solomons, MD 20688
- There is no food service at the museum. You can bring your own food though!
- Hours of Operation: 10AM-5PM most days (closed select holidays)
- Click here for more info on the museum!
A maritime museum that focuses on marine wildlife and maritime history.
Yes! Otters love the cold weather. In the summer, they love cooling off outside but also have access to the cooler indoor habitat.
Only service animals are allowed in the museum.
YES! The skates and rays exhibit, as well as everything in the Discovery Room. Plus kids can climb the steps to the Drum Point Lighthouse and walk along the Marsh boardwalk.
Make a Day of It!
There are soooo many ways to make a trip to the Calvert Marine Museum into a perfect Maryland day trip with your family. Here are my top recommendations for other fun spots in Calvert County and the Solomons Area:
- Annmarie Sculpture Garden. One of our fave places in Maryland with or without kids!
- Flag Ponds Nature Park. A great place to go for a hike and explore a kid friendly beach.
- The tire playground at Calvert Cliffs State Park.
- Jefferson Patterson Park– nature playground and butterfly garden, fantastic visitor center, Woodland Indian Village recreation, and more!
Area restaurant recommendations:
- The Island Hideaway
- Hidden Harbour
- The Pier
- Cone Island Ice Cream Shoppe
- The Ice Cream Place