I loved going to the library as a kid. However, when I heard about Storyville, I realized that even beloved trips to the library had gotten a huge upgrade since the 70’s. The Baltimore County Public Library operates Storyville, and it is definitely top on my list of Fun Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore.
Related: Check out the Kid Friendly Maryland comprehensive resource for parents: Things To Do In Maryland With Kids!
Fun Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore: Storyville
I started taking Sweet Pea to Storyville almost as soon as she could walk. According to the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) website, Storyville is ‘an interactive early literacy and learning center for children ages birth to five and their caregivers.’ BCPL actually operates two locations in both the Rosedale and Woodlawn branches. Yep, you read that correctly– Storyville is actually a part of the library!
Quick Facts About Storyville:
- The hours of operation are the same as the library. Monday-Thursday, 9AM-9PM; Friday-Saturday, 9AM-530PM; Sunday, 1-5PM.
- It is closed when the library is closed– so no federal holidays.
- It is free. As in, you pay nothing.
- Parking is great. (I have only been to the Woodlawn location, but I presume the parking is great at Rosedale too.)
- There is a limit (about 60 people total) to the capacity of Storyville. If you arrive at a busy time, you could have to wait to get in.
- Children older than 5 years old are not allowed in Storyville. It is really nice that Storyville caters to toddlers and preschoolers.
- The entire point of Storyville is for parents/caregivers to interact with their kids to promote literacy. This is not a play time free-for-all. You are highly encouraged (expected) to play with your kids.
- You do not need to be a resident of Baltimore County, nor a member of the library, to visit Storyville.
The Different Sections of Storyville
When you first walk through the gate, you will encounter Toddler Woods. This area is so much fun! Kids can climb up to a giant tree house, crawl through a ‘hollowed-out log,’ visit a bear cave, and play a simple memory game.
Another fantastic play area is the grocery store. Your toddler will love filling up their basket with all kinds of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, etc.. I also love that the produce pins promote sorting and matching skills.
After your wee one stocks up his or her grocery basket, they can go through the check out line. Don’t forget to buy stamps because attached to the grocery store is a small post office, where letters can be send, sorted, and delivered!
The train area is fun for exploring hands as well (see picture above). Kids can pretend to drive the train, blow the horn, and do a puzzle all at the same time. There are boxes full of dress up clothes, puppets, and a train table. On the walls, kids can either play around with magnetic gears or figure out how to roll a ball through PVC pipe so it falls into a bucket. Great fun for all future engineers!
Next to the train area, there is a construction zone that includes a lego table with both duplo and regular size legos, a bin with larger foam lego or other large engineering/building toys, and a toy garage.
After a hard day spent working at the construction site, why not unwind with a night at the theater? Storyville Theater is fantastic for imaginative play. Kids can either choose to get dressed up and put on their own dramatic rendition of a fairy tale. Or, kids can go behind the scenes and re-enact famous nursery rhymes like the ‘Three Little Pigs’ from the puppet theater.
Of course, at the end of the day, there is no place like home. Storyville boasts a cozy two-story house complete with kitchen, bedroom, and laundry room. The kitchen is jam-packed with fun activities to occupy an inquisitive tot. Stacking activities, cutting activities, pretend play, and more. There are even bowls and beds for the pets!
In addition to these super fun play areas, Storyville is still a functioning library. There is a very nice reading room and books are scattered throughout every nook and cranny of this literacy haven.
So, are you looking for something fun (and free) to do with your toddler or preschooler? If so, you should definitely check out Storyville.
Thanks for reading and go have some fun with your kids!