Baltimore, Maryland Attractions
Downtown Baltimore, Maryland

Is this your first trip to Baltimore, or have you visited many times? Either way, your ideal first stop is at the Baltimore Visitor Center (410/659-7300) conveniently located in the heart of the Inner Harbor near the Maryland Science Center. This 8,000-square-foot glass building offers incredible views of the city, and information about everything you want to see and do. Open daily from 9am to 6pm, it’s a resource for:  Tickets to major attractions and shows, Baltimore Harbor Pass (a value-added combination pass to many of the attractions listed below), Hotel and dinner reservations, Itinerary planning. For more details and other information about Baltimore, you can also visit www.baltimore.org.

Great Fun for the Kids

(Toddler to Age 8)

The National Aquarium in Baltimore
501 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
410/576-3800
Expanded to twice it’s original size, now including a waterfront park, this institution was one of the first in the Inner Harbor’ s revitalization. Take the kids for a walk through a living tropical rainforest and enjoy learning about the over 16,500 animals and sea creatures who call this place home. Visit the Marine Mammal Pavilion for a fun and fascinating live dolphin show where active underwater cameras give the audience a glimpse into the adaptation process that Atlantic coast dolphins use to survive. Everyone will enjoy the antics of these delightful creatures and will cheer as they respond to the cues they have learned from their trainers. A frog exhibit features the beautiful array of colors of frogs from all over the world. And, the 4D Immersion Theater, is where a film comes to life through not only sights and sounds, but smells and motion as well.

Port Discovery
35 Market Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
410/727-8120
Located one block northeast of the Inner Harbor, this exciting, state-of-the art children’s museum is the third largest in the nation and was also named one of the top five children museums in the US by Child Magazine. Mainly focusing on ages 2-10 years, the museum has a strong emphasis on early childhood learning and has recently added exhibits and activities for newborns to 4-year-olds. The interactive displays throughout the 80,000-square-foot museum are designed to indulge children’s natural curiosity by offering fun, discovery and exploration. For children under 2, try Tot Trails, a new infant and toddler exhibit.

B&O Railroad Museum
901 West Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21223
410/752-2490
The B&O Railroad Museum, home to the oldest, most comprehensive collection of railroad artifacts in the Western Hemisphere, was closed  when a fierce snowstorm caused the roof of its home, the historic 1884 Baldwin Roundhouse, to collapse. After massive fund-raising efforts to restore this national treasure, located in the city considered to be the birthplace of American railroading, the 40-acre landmark museum is “back on track.”

More than 150,000 damaged pieces of the collection, including locomotives, rolling stock and memorabilia such as lanterns, dining car china, signals, etc. have been restored. The renovation also allowed for some re-design and the expansion of educational programming and family-oriented activities. From April-December, families can enjoy a train ride on the first commercial railroad track in America (included in the admission price). There is also a seasonal family area which features a wooden train play set, interactive car pump demonstrations and a intricate toy train model that travels through a mini city.

Baltimore Streetcar Museum
1901 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD 21211
410/547-0264
Dedicated to preserving Baltimore’s mass transit past, the museum’s collection spans from a horsecar from 1856, through to one of the last streetcars used before the construction of the Light Rail line.  There is a video on the history of streetcars, tours of the collection, and your family can enjoy unlimited street car rides.

National Museum of Dentistry
University of Maryland
31 South Greene Street (at Lombard)
Baltimore, MD 21201
410/706-0600
Located in the building which housed the world’s first dental school, this offbeat but fun museum is the only one of its kind. Exhibits include interactive and instructional collections of gear, gadgets and interesting info such as, the permanent display, “32 Terrific Teeth” (a life-size model of an “iron jaw” circus act). Other current and past special and traveling exhibits include: the “Tooth Jukebox,” where you can play a tune and “Branches, Bristles and Batteries” which explores the evolution of toothbrushes.  An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. the museum is walking distance from Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor.

Maryland Zoo
Druid Hill Park
Baltimore, MD 21217
410/366-LION
The third oldest zoo in the country (dating from 1876) is located in lovely Druid Hill Park, and it has recently undergone some exciting improvements. Now visitors can save their energy to explore the park, and be transported from the main gate to the zoo’s central plaza on a new tram. Once inside, families can visit Polar Bear Watch (an exhibit about life in the Arctic featuring Alaska and Magnet, the zoo’s resident polar bears) watch chimpanzees and meet the zoo’s newest residents, Kesi, a giraffe and Badu, a lioness. Kids of all ages will enjoy an old-fashioned carousel ride.


Fun for Older Children

(Up to Age 18)

Harborplace
201 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
410/332-4191
At the heart of Baltimore’s Renaissance is the shopping and restaurant complex housed in two glass structures, Pratt Street Pavilion and Light Street Pavilion. Browse in over 100 venues for gourmet food, crafts and indigenous gifts, as well as in popular national retail stores. And, when hunger pangs strike, there are restaurants and snack bars representing many international cuisines, including local seafood, pizza, burgers etc.

Maryland Science Center
601 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
410/685-2370
A great place to explore all aspects of science from paleontology, to marine biology, to physics, including lots of demonstrations and hands-on activities for budding scientists to investigate. Recently, the Davis Planetarium, the Crosby Ramsey Memorial Observatory, an IMAX Theatre and other popular areas of the museum were joined by major renovations and additions. In “TerraLink,” the Earth Sciences exhibit, a weather station with a replica of a TV newsroom set enables kids to play meteorologists as they monitor earthquakes, and in the “Dinosaur Mysteries” Hall, little explorers can unearth prehistoric evidence in interactive dig pits, and see examples of over 30 pre-historic creatures. The expansion also allows plenty of room so that Baltimore can host the nation’s best touring exhibits. Additionally, the National Visitors’ Center for the Hubble Space Telescope continues to offer visitors the opportunity to come face to face with space while learning about the birth and death of stars, the meaning of galaxies and black holes, as well as observing fascinating details of the solar system.

Baltimore Museum of Industry
1415 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD  21230
410/727-4808
Enjoy exhibits, video presentations, interactive computers and more to learn about Baltimore’s industrial history.  In years past, Baltimoreans had a hand in many kinds of manufacturing including canning, printing, metalwork and the garment industry. 

American Visionary Museum
800 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD  21230
410/244-1900
The AVM offers quite a different experience from most art museums.  Here, all of the works are created by self-taught, intuitive artists including ordinary working people, the disabled, the homeless and the mentally ill.  The works range from the whimsical, to the unusual, celebrating, for example, the amazing work by people who suffer from OCD.  The museum had been called “a treasure house, full of the most outstanding creations born of intuition and self-style imagination, all inspired by the fire within.”

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
443/573-1700
The repository of the Cone Collection, the largest collection of works by Pierre Matisse in the world, as well as works by Picasso and Cezanne, and many treasures of the 19th century, modern and contemporary art.  There is also an outdoor sculpture garden.

Walters Art Museum
600 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
410/547-9000
The collection of William and Henry Walters spans 55 centuries and includes Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Medieval, Renaissance and 18th-and 19th-century European and American art, East Asian bronzes, Asian ceramics and a collection of manuscripts and rare books. In October, 2005, the Renaissance and Baroque galleries were re-installed in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the completion of the museum’s original Palazzo Building.


Fun for the Family

Oriole Park at Camden Yards
333 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
888/848-BIRD
Camden Yards is the official home of the Baltimore Orioles and is located a few blocks from Babe Ruth’s birthplace. Opened in 1992, this state-of-the-art stadium is walking distance from the Inner Harbor and combines modern features with a nostalgic “retro” feeling for baseball’s long history and the stadiums of the past. Given year-round, the 1½ hour guided tour takes you to the press room, the scoreboard control room and the dugout. See their site for game schedules.

Sports Legends at Camden Yards
Camden Station
301 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
888/438-6909, 410/727-1539
Located adjacent to Camden Yards on two floors of the historic 1856 Camden Station, this comprehensive 22,000-square-foot museum features artifacts and interactive exhibits about the history of sports in Baltimore. Focusing on its importance to the city, as well as Baltimore’s many contributions, fans will learn about the Baltimore Orioles, Colts, Ravens and Blast, as well as the Negro Leagues and college teams with featured athletes such as Johnny Unitas, Jamie Foxx and, of course, Babe Ruth.  “The Locker Room” is a discovery center, where kids can try on uniforms and learn about their favorite sport.

Die-hard Ruth fans should follow the painted baseballs on the street to visit the national historic site, The Babe Ruth Historic Birthplace and Museum (410/727-1539, 216 Emory Street Baltimore, MD 21201),  a rowhouse just 3 blocks west of Camden Yards for exhibits on the life and times of this most important native son.

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum
Camden Station
301 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
410/625-7060
Sharing Camden Station with the Sport Legends museum, this unique 17,000-square-foot facility is dedicated to the 230 year history of popular culture and its affect on entertainment and education in America. Displays include the first successful recurring characters used in toy manufacturing and advertising – Palmer Cox’s Brownies, up through Star Wars action figures and Sponge Bob. Enjoy a nostlagic visit with Buster Brown, Disney characters, Felix the Cat, Howdy Doody, Barbie, G.I. Joe, Agent 007, Burt and Ernie and more, and listen to vintage radio clips. You can reminisce with your kids while you show them the toys that you and your parents played with, and learn about the history of comic characters as you marvel at the huge comic book collection – if only your mother hadn’t thrown yours out!

Ride the Ducks of Baltimore
Light Street Pavilion at Inner Harbor
Baltimore, MD 21202
877/887-8225
Take a unique ride in a 1945 Army DUKW. Already popular in many other American cities, this part truck/part boat has been converted into a comfortable vehicle for a unique 80-minuted guided tour (April – November) through the streets of Fell’s Point, Federal Hill, Little Italy and past some of the city’s famous landmarks. The tour climaxes with a plunge into the Inner Harbor for a waterside view of town, and passengers are provided duckbill “quackers” to add to the fun.

Ed Kane’s Water Taxis
410/563-3901, 800/658-8947
Want to go from the Science Museum to Fell’s Point? Hop aboard on of the blue and white boats for all-day, unlimited on-off service between more than 30 attractions and neighborhoods. Pay once and ride all day.

Double-Decker Bus Tour of Baltimore
877/BALTIMORE
For land-only lovers, hop aboard a traditional London open-top double-decker bus for a 90-minute narrated tour of all of Baltimore’s major sites, with stops at 16 attractions including Harborplace, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park, and Camden Yard. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and you can hop on and off whenever the spirit moves you. Buses leave hourly from the Visitor’s Center.

National Historic Seaport of Baltimore
727 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21201
410/783-1884
Baltimore’s rich maritime history is represented by over 15 historic sites at or near the waterfront. The NHS offers a 3-day pass for one free admission at each attraction and water transportation on the Harbor Shuttle. Included are the Baltimore Museum of Industry, the Fireboat Base, Historic Fell’s Point, the Flag House and Star Spangled Banner Museum, and the following highlights:

U.S.S. Constellation Museum
Pier 1, 301 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
410/539-1797
Plan to spend some time learning about naval history and the Civil War era. The U.S.S. Constellation, built in 1854, is the only surviving Civil War all-sail naval vessel. De-commissioned in 1955, it was moored in Baltimore for restoration and presentation. Since then, it has hosted more than 7 million visitors who learn about its rich history, both during and after the Civil War, and participate in educational tours on the workings of the 179-foot sailing sloop, the restoration process, as well as demonstrations of knot tying, tools, and games played during the Civil War. Top this all off by learning some sea shanties, and your visit is complete!

Fort McHenry
2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230
410/962-4290
Another favorite stop for history buffs of all ages, Fort McHenry is probably best remembered as the inspiration for “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the British attack on September 13, 1814. Now, under the aegis of The National Park Service, the star-shaped Fort welcomes visitors to a wealth of programs and activities. View the 15-minute film “The Defense of Fort McHenry” first, then proceed to the daily flag change and Ranger activities such as explanations of a soldier’s uniform and knapsack, and cannon-firing demonstrations. Learn about The Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 and the important role of the Fort during the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and up through World War II. Special events include Civil War Weekends, Flag Day (June 14) Celebrations and precision drill exhibitions complete with military band music.

Heritage and Specialized Tours
In addition to maritime tours sponsored by The National Historic Seaport of Baltimore, several other organizations offer theme-based programs. Baltimore’s Heritage (11 1/2 West Chase Street, Baltimore, MD 20201; 410/332-9992) whose mission is to preserve and promote Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods and buildings, offers a series of guided tours by foot, bus and on bicycle.

Fell’s Point (Visitor Center: 1724-26 Thames Street Baltimore, MD 21231; 410/675-6750, x 16, ) is a fascinating part of the city where you’ll find interesting boutiques, galleries, antique stores and other locally owned businesses, as well as varied pubs and restaurants along the quaint cobblestone streets of this waterfront community. Film buffs, and those who miss the television series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” will enjoy seeing its “station house” and the Waterfront Bar, and scenes from the film “Tin Men” and other movies. A series of walking tours including an Immigration Tour (Baltimore was second after Ellis Island as a port of immigration), and an authentic Ghostwalk of this neighborhood are available through the Fell’s Point Preservation Society (812 Ann Street Baltimore, MD 21231; 410/675-6750,).

The Baltimore African-American Tourism Council sponsors “Baltimore Black Heritage Tours” (410/783-5469), with visits to sites of the Underground Railroad, historic churches, restaurants, as well as tours of the Eubie Blake National Museum (410/225-3130; 847 North Howard Street Baltimore, MD 21201).

An African-American heritage tour would not be complete without a visit to the Great Blacks in Wax Museum and Justice Learning Center (410/563-3404, 1601-03 East North Avenue Baltimore, MD 21213),  presenting likenesses of over 100 distinguished African Americans including such famous natives as Billie Holiday and Thurgood Marshall. Recent expansions have allotted for the rejuvenation of an entire city block, neighborhood outreach programs, gallery space additions, a multimedia theatre, a sculpture garden, library and community meeting space.  Another recent addition to the city’s destinations and celebration of its African-American culture, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture (443/263-1800, 830 East Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21202) opened its doors in 2005 as the east coast’s largest museum focusing on the history and contributions of African Americans. Visitors will view rare objects and interactive exhibits covering more than 400 years of history and struggle. In addition to the galleries, there are interactive learning centers, a theater and a recording/listening oral history studio.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland (410/732-6400, 15 Lloyd Street Baltimore, MD 21202) offers changing exhibits and programs about the Jewish community in America, with special focus on the state of Maryland. In addition, guided tours of two restored historic synagogues, The Lloyd Street Synagogue dating from 1845, and the adjacent B’nai Israel, a functioning congregation dating from 1876, can be arranged through the museum.  Baltimore’s Little Italy is a preserved neighborhood east of the Inner Harbor. Stroll through the streets, eat a little pasta and drink a little vino while experiencing this vibrant neighborhood.

Finally, when you need a break from all the activity, enjoy the pleasant vistas from West Shore Park, located between the Visitor Center and the Science Center. Bring the family here to lounge on the lawn under shady trees near a lovely public garden.

 

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