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Frequently Asked Questions

Visitor Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS

When are the best times to visit Port Discovery?

Weekdays 
During the school year, we recommend visiting after 1 pm if you prefer exploring the Museum without school groups. If you have an infant, toddler, or pre-schooler, Wednesdays mornings and Friday mornings feature early literacy, music and movement, and other interactive programming perfect for children under the age of six. 

During the summer, camp groups oftn visit the Museum each weekday. If you are concerned about group crowds, please call or email the Director of Guest Services, Tuesday – Saturday between 9am – 5:30pm, at 410-864-2650 or  cbrown@portdiscovery.org at least 24 hours prior to your visit to find out how many groups are booked for the day.  You may also want to visit on Mondays in July and August which are dedicated Family Play Days. Port Discovery does not book any external camp groups on Mondays in July and August.  

Weekends 
If you prefer a quieter play time, we recommend arriving during the first hour the Museum opens or after 2pm. Sundays are generally less crowded than Saturdays.  

Peak Days  
School holidays and dollar admission/free days attract large crowds. If you choose to visit on these days, we recommend arriving within the first hour the Museum opens.  

Is Port Discovery open year round?

Yes! Port Discovery is open year-round for imaginative fun, playful learning, and adventurous exploration. 

Current Hours 

November - January 1, 2019
Mondays in November & December: Closed, except for some public school holidays, including Monday, December 31st, 2018. 
Tuesdays - Fridays: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturdays: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sundays: Noon - 5:00 pm 

Upcoming Holiday Hours 

Thanksgiving: Closed
Friday, November 23: Open 10 AM - 5 PM
Saturday, November 24: Open 10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday, November 25: Open Noon - 5 PM
 

Winter Break Hours 

December 22, 2018 - January 1, 2019*: Open 10 AM - 5 PM Monday through Saturday | Sunday Noon - 5 PM 
*Christmas Eve: Closed
*Christmas Day: Closed
New Year's Eve: Open 10 AM - 5 PM
New Year's Day: Open 10 AM - 5 PM

Holidays we are open:
The Museum is typically open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Monday before and after Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Monday after Christmas.

Days we are closed:
Monday through Thursday during September.
Mondays from October through May with the exception of holidays listed above.
Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

What forms of payment do you accept?

Cash, Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express.
 

What should we wear when we visit?

For a fun and safe visit to Port Discovery, we recommend wearing your "play clothes" and closed toe, rubber soled sneakers or shoes. Do not wear high heeled shoes or boots, open toed sandals, or flip flops, and remove all loose or hanging jewelry before you play. Please note: Heelys are for outside fun, not inside play! If you choose to visit the Wonders of Water exhibit, we recommend bringing an extra change of clothes. 

Are certain exhibits more appropriate for certain age groups?

The majority of the Museum’s exhibits and programs are designed for children ages 2 through 10 years old. For children under 2, we recommend Tot Trails, our new infant/toddler exhibit, and The Oasis. We also offer a variety of early childhood programs that run throughout the week.

Please review our exhibits, events and programs online, use our museum directory, read the floor plan or ask one of our friendly Program Associates questions about age-appropriate activities for your children.

How much time should we allow for our visit? 

To best experience the exhibits, we suggest that you plan 2 to 3 hours for your visit.
 

Should we plan on taking a break during our visit?

You know your child better than anyone; we suggest that you plan for breaks to prevent tiredness. Please use our directory, read the floor plan or ask one of our friendly Program Associates questions about age-appropriate activities for your children.

 

If we leave the Museum, can we re-enter?

Yes. You will receive a coded bracelet upon purchase of your tickets that will allow you access back into the Museum throughout the day of your visit. Be sure not to remove the bracelets upon exiting if you intend to return. We will match each child to an adult upon exiting via your bracelet number code.
 

Where can I find parking near Port Discovery?

Harbor Park Garage
55 Market Place 
Harbor Park Garage is adjacent to Port Discovery at the corner of Lombard Street and Market Place 

Harbor Park Garage, adjacent to the Museum at the corner of Lombard Street and Market Place offers discounted parking most days the Museum is open. The garage offers $15 parking* to Port Discovery guests most days of the week. 

Park on Level 4 or higher of the Garage. We’re sorry, but the Harbor Park Garage will not offer validations/special discounts on the following dates.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Spring Break Week
  • Memorial Day
  • Mondays in June, July or August
  • Labor Day

*The $15 parking discount is valid for regular museum hours only, from one hour prior to museum opening to one hour after the museum is closed. Discounted parking for $10 applies for Birthday Party Guests, Overnight Adventure Guests, Evening Adventure Guests and Target® $2 Family Fun Night Guests. Be sure to ask for a validation ticket upon your entry or exit from the Museum.

Please remember that Harbor Park Garage is the only garage that offers discount parking for Port Discovery Children's Museum. Please keep your garage ticket in a secure place and pick up your validated garage ticket (both need to be presented to exit the Garage) at the Museum Security Office or Box Office to receive your discount.  

Central Parking Frederick Street Garage
Located at Frederick Street between Baltimore and Water Streets Lockwood Place Garage-located at Market Place between Pratt and Lombard Streets
Additional parking garages are located within a few blocks of the Museum, and limited metered parking is also available.  

Bus Parking 
Dillon's Bus Service, Inc. 
Just minutes away from Downtown Baltimore at 1400 Cherry Hill Rd.
Plenty of parking space, air-conditioned drivers' lounge, and within walking distance of Baltimore's Light Rail mass transit system. 
Call 410.647.2321 for more information.  

Oriole Park at Camden Yard
Call AMPCO parking at 410.347.9330 for more information. 
 
Motor Coach Parking Information 
More information on very easy, low-cost parking at Baltimore's official motor coach parking facility. 

Do you validate parking?

Harbor Park Garage, adjacent to the Museum at the corner of Lombard Street and Market Place offers discounted parking most days the Museum is open. The garage offers $15 parking* to Port Discovery guests most days of the week. 

Park on Level 4 or higher of the Garage. We’re sorry, but the Harbor Park Garage will not offer validations/special discounts on the following dates.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Spring Break Week
  • Memorial Day
  • Mondays in June, July or August
  • Labor Day

*The $15 parking discount is valid for regular museum hours only, from one hour prior to museum opening to one hour after the museum is closed. Discounted parking for $10 applies for Birthday Party Guests, Overnight Adventure Guests, Evening Adventure Guests and Target® $2 Family Fun Night Guests. Be sure to ask for a validation ticket upon your entry or exit from the Museum.

Is the Museum wheelchair accessible?

The three levels of interactive exhibits are wheelchair accessible.

May I bring a stroller into the Museum?

Yes! Port Discovery is a stroller friendly Museum. You are welcome to use your stroller on all three floors of the Museum and can park your stroller in the designated areas on each floor of the Museum. 

Does the Museum provide lockers and a coat check area?

Lockers and a coat room area are located inside The Pier on the first floor. Lockers are $1 (one token) for small lockers and $2 (2 tokens) for large lockers. The token machine only accepts $1 bills and can be found in The Pier. Please note that these facilities are used at your own risk and the Museum is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

Are food and drinks permitted inside the Museum?

Food and drinks are not permitted inside the Museum exhibits. There is a designated eating area which you may eat your lunch or snacks. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no access to refrigerators or microwave.

Are there any restaurants within walking distance?

Yes. There are several family-friendly restaurants and fast-food facilities within a 2 block radius of the Museum including Charm City Pizza, Subway, P.F. Changs, Miss Shirley's, and Chick-fil-A Inner Harbor

Power Plant is located two blocks away and offers restaurants including Phillips, Potbelly, Hard Rock Cafe, Chipotle and more. Additional restaurants are located at Harborplace, just 3 blocks away from the Museum.

 

Where can I find family friendly hotel accommodations?

For family-friendly accommodations near the museum, check out information on nearby hotels, restaurants and attractions

Check Visit Baltimore's website for other hotel options near Port Discovery Children's Museum and other Downtown Baltimore attractions! 
 

What should I do if a parent or child becomes separated during a visit?

Separated Child/Parent Guidelines

  • Pre-arrange a family meeting place before engaging in the wonderful Museum exhibits and activities.
  • Identify a Port Discovery Children’s Museum staff member with a radio or wearing a purple polo shirt.
  • Please be aware that your child will not be able to exit the Museum with another party as the wristband system is checked and controlled by a security staff member at all times.
  • Note that KidWorks is an "up only" climbing experience. We recommend that adults always climb with your children in order to stay together. A sign with guidelines for enjoying KidWorks are located at the base of KidWorks on the first floor.

Does the Museum have a Gift Shop?

Yes! Be sure to visit our Museum Gift Shop on Level One.

Hours:
October through May

Tuesday - Friday: 11 am - 4:30 pm Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm

Memorial Day through Labor Day
Monday - Saturday: 11 am - 5 pm
Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm

September
Friday: 11 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm
Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm

How do I submit a request for a donation for my organization?

Port Discovery Children’s Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that inspires children to imagine, play, learn and grow! The Museum supports other non-profit organizations in their fundraising efforts by donating passes through our Pass Donation Program.

Donation requests are filled through a monthly drawing. If your organization’s letter is drawn, your organization will receive four (4) free-admission passes, a $58 value. However, due to the high volume of requests, there is no guarantee that any given request will be fulfilled.

Due to the high volume of requests, the Museum is unable to provide information about the status of submissions. If the Museum is able to fulfill your request, we will mail 4 complementary passes to the address provided.

To qualify:

  • Must be a local, non-profit organization
  • Organization’s mission must support the enrichment of the Museum’s core audience, children ages 0-10


To submit, please include the following:

  • Copy of the organization’s mission statement (Not required for school groups)
  • Date and brief description of the event on organization letterhead

Organizations may only request one donation per 12-month period.

Requests must be received by the Museum at least (8) WEEKS in advance of the event.

Please mail to:
Donation Requests
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Place
Baltimore, MD 21202

Or email to: ewahl@portdiscovery.org

 

No phone calls, please.

Construction on Bigger, Better, Bolder – and even more fun – exhibits will begin on January 2, 2019.

Starting on January 2, 2019, Port Discovery will begin construction of two immersive, state-of-the-art new exhibits: a four-story SkyClimber and a massive Port Exhibit featuring all the parts of the working port. These exhibits will totally transform the center of the Museum, creating even more opportunities to enjoy powerful, purposeful play and learning. In addition to the new exhibits, we are improving our visitors’ experiences with an efficient new lobby, new nursing area, more family seating areas, a renovated lunchroom, and updated restrooms. Wahoo!  

Read below for information on construction plans, ways to play while construction is underway, answers to frequently asked questions, and more!

Construction Information for Members 

FAQS

What will construction of new exhibits and features mean for members?

Construction of new exhibits and features means a bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun – Port Discovery!   Construction will mean some temporary changes to operations and access to the Museum. But you can still come & play! 

We will continue offering unique playful learning opportunities for free with your membership. Come play and enjoy: 

We’re also offering members exclusive, limited time discounts at some nearby (and very popular) family attractions including the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo, B&O Railroad Museum, and Baltimore Museum of Industry.  Yippee!

Plus, we’ve filled the rest of 2018 with magical play and learning – including our 20th Birthday Celebration and opportunities to say Goodbye to KidWorksSee what’s coming up in November and December! Make plans to join us!

Membership Extension  

To ensure you get the value you expect from your membership, we are automatically adding four months to any membership valid in January, February, March, and April of 2019. An example of how this will work: If your membership expires in February 2019, your membership will be automatically extended by four months and will instead expire at the end of June 2019.  

For safety reasons, some operations and access to the Museum will be limited during construction, which means the Port Discovery experience will be a bit different during this time. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring you immersive new exhibits and Museum improvements that will transform the Museum – and fuel even more powerful, purposeful play. 

Learn More 

Stay up-to-date with progress on the construction of two immersive, state-of-the-art new exhibits and improved Museum amenities! We’ll be posting updates at www.PortDiscovery.org/Construction and also sharing them via email and our FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts.

How will the Museum continue to serve its members during construction?

Our members will continue to receive the value they expect and deserve as a member of Port Discovery. 

To ensure you get the value you expect from your membership, we are automatically adding four months to any membership valid in January, February, March and April of 2019. An example of how this will work: If your membership expires in February 2019, your membership will be automatically extended by four months and will instead expire at the end of June 2019.  

In addition, members will receive free admission to The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery as part of their membership, and can of course join us at our free Port Discovery Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth while construction is underway. The Construction Zone is sponsored by M&T Bank.

We’re also offering you exclusive, limited time discounts at some nearby (and very popular) family attractions including the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo, B&O Railroad Museum, and Baltimore Museum of Industry. Yippee!

Will my membership be put on hold or extended during the construction?

While construction is underway, Port Discovery will continue to provide members with a variety of FREE opportunities to play along with limited time discounts at some nearby (and very popular) family attractions!

To ensure you get the value you expect from your membership, we are automatically adding four months to any membership valid in January, February, March and April of 2019. An example of how this will work: If your membership expires in February 2019, your membership will be automatically extended by four months and will instead expire at the end of June 2019.  

We will continue offering unique playful learning opportunities for free with your membership. Come play and enjoy: 

We’re also offering you exclusive, limited time discounts at some nearby (and very popular) family attractions including the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo, B&O Railroad Museum, and Baltimore Museum of Industry.  Yippee!

 

Are there other nearby family attractions that I can explore using my Port Discovery membership while construction is underway?

Yes. We’re working with a number of nearby family attractions to provide our members with discounted and/or free opportunities to explore their facilities and programs while Port Discovery is under construction.

So far, we’re excited to share that Members will receive limited-time discounts on admission from nearby family attractions like the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo, B&O Railroad Museum, and Baltimore Museum of Industry while construction is underway.

In addition, Port Discovery members are welcome to explore The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank for free, and can of course join us at our free Port Discovery Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth, while construction is underway.

What will the cost of membership be when Port Discovery fully re-opens?

We anticipate that Membership prices will slightly increase ahead of the grand opening of new exhibits and improved Museum amenities in spring 2019. However, we will continue to ensure membership prices are affordable and provide a great deal to families and caregivers who plan to visit the Museum two or more times per year. We will also continue to keep ticket prices affordable for our guests.

Purchase a membership before prices go up! Check our Membership page for information on membership benefits, packages, and more.

As a current member, can I renew my membership or purchase a new membership at a discounted price before Membership prices increase?

Yes. We will offer current members the opportunity to renew their membership or purchase a new membership at a discounted price before we increase our Membership prices this spring. We will share information via email and social channels.

We will continue to sell memberships to Port Discovery while construction is underway, so please encourage those you know to purchase a membership and benefit from all the Museum has to offer!

What benefits should Members expect to enjoy when Port Discovery’s new exhibits open?

We love our members, and appreciate your support and understanding as we work to bring you bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun – exhibits and experiences including  the Port Exhibit, a new signature exhibit exploring all of the parts of a working port, a new four-story SkyClimberimproved Museum amenities, and more! 

Your membership benefits will continue to include what you currently receive as a Port Discovery member, which includes free unlimited admission, express entry, free member-only events and discounts on special programs, sneak peeks at featured exhibits, discounts on birthday parties, reduced prices on merchandise in our gift shop, and other perks.  In addition, we are working to bring you even more exclusive offers and opportunities as part of your membership.

General Construction & Museum Information 

FAQS

What exhibits and improvements are coming to Port Discovery Children's Museum?

New exhibits and experiences are coming to Port Discovery soon! Starting on January 2, 2019, we will begin construction of two immersive, state-of-the-art new exhibits:

These exhibits will totally transform the center of the Museum, creating even more opportunities for Members to enjoy powerful, purposeful play. Wahoo!

We’ve been listening to you and know that in addition to new exhibits, some Museum improvements would be much appreciated. We’re excited to tell you that while construction of new exhibits is underway, we will also:

  • transform our lobby
  • improve Museum restrooms
  • renovate our lunchroom
  • add a nursing area, and
  • add more family seating.

Construction will mean some temporary changes to operations and access to the Museum. But you can still come & play!

We will continue offering unique playful learning opportunities for visitors and members. Come play and enjoy:

Hours of operation for The Construction Zone and Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space will be announced monthly. To find out more about all of the ways to play while Port Discovery is under construction, please continue to visit PortDiscovery.org/Construction.

For safety reasons, some operations and access to the Museum will be limited during construction, which means the Port Discovery experience will be a bit different during this time. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring you immersive new exhibits and Museum improvements that will transform the Museum – and fuel even more powerful, purposeful play.

Why is Port Discovery constructing new exhibits?

We believe the time is right for Port Discovery to launch the next chapter of our vitally important mission to transform the lives of young children through innovative learning opportunities.

We know that families are always looking for hands-on, interactive and playful learning experiences that provide meaningful opportunities for engagement, education, and memories that last a lifetime. We have proudly offered those opportunities for 20 years – but we know our guests are looking for new ways to play, imagine and explore with their children. The construction of amazing new exhibits to explore, exciting new programs, and amenities will help bring learning to life in new ways for our visitors. 

As a result, we are transforming the center of Port Discovery starting with two new state-of-the-art exhibits that will be the centerpiece of the museum: The new interactive Port Exhibit, featuring a massive multi-level ship and activities that celebrate the Port of Baltimore, and an exciting four-story SkyClimber.

Each exhibit is based on recommendations from our members and visitors, as well as from our advisors in early childhood development, and help us to offer guests play-based learning experiences that can be found nowhere else in Baltimore or this region.

We will also redesign our lobby, creating a better experience for visitors, guests, and groups as they enter the transformed Museum, and will update Museum restrooms, add a nursing stationrenovate our lunch area, and add family seating to improve the guest experience.

When will construction begin?

Construction on two new immersive exhibits, the Port Exhibit and the SkyClimber, will begin after the completion of the design, approvals and permits process. We anticipate the start date of construction to be January 2, 2019.  Additionally, work to improve the Museum’s lobby, add a nursing station and family seating, renovate the lunch area, and to update Museum restrooms will also begin on January 2, 2019.

As Port Discovery works to bring bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun - exhibits and experiences to visitors, the Museum will continue offering unique, playful learning opportunities for children and caregivers. 

For safety reasons, some operations and access to the Museum will be limited during construction, which means the Port Discovery experience will be a bit different during this time. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring you immersive new exhibits and Museum improvements that will transform the Museum – and fuel even more powerful, purposeful play.

To find out more about all of the ways to play while Port Discovery is under construction, and to follow along with our construction progress, please continue to visit PortDiscovery.org/Construction.

When will the project be completed?

Construction on two new immersive exhibits, the Port Exhibit and the SkyClimber, along with work to improve the Museum’s lobby, add a nursing station and family seating, renovate our lunch area, and to update Museum restrooms, is expected to take about four months, with the grand opening celebration for two new exhibits taking place in late spring 2019. 

As with any building project, plans evolve. We will keep visitors updated throughout this project and announce plans for the grand opening of new exhibits as the opening date nears. Updates can be found at PortDiscovery.org/Construction.

My children love KidWorks! What’s happening to it? Why are you replacing it?

We love KidWorks, too! However, we’re very excited to introduce children and caregivers to a brand new, state-of-the-art climber that will encourage children to soar to new heights as they climb their way up and around a four-story SkyClimber that takes you from underwater up into the clouds.

The SkyClimber will be replacing KidWorks, which means that KidWorks will be deconstructed to make way for the new climber.

As we’ve designed the SkyClimber, we’ve kept in mind all that children and adults love about KidWorks. Children will continue to build confidence and problem-solving skills while having fun with new friends.

We’ve also taken into account some of the challenges our visitors encounter with KidWorks. Our new SkyClimber will be accessible from just one entry and exit point (although emergency exists are certainly available), ensuring that caregivers can keep an eye on little ones as they climb to new heights. In addition, the SkyClimber will include a soft play area on the ground level so that toddlers can get in on the action as well. Finally, you’ll be able to navigate the Museum and see all there is to see, do and experience at the Museum a bit more easily.

We will be celebrating KidWorks as we say goodbye to this much-loved exhibit throughout the month of December 2018. We encourage you to visit and climb through KidWorks many more times before construction on the SkyClimberPort Exhibit, and other Museum amenities begins.

Will there be opportunities to explore KidWorks – and other favorite exhibits – before construction begins?

Yes!  December marks Port Discovery’s 20th birthday - and the last month to explore one of our original exhibits, KidWorks, before construction on two immersive new exhibits and improved Museum amenities begins! We’ve filled the month with fun, learning and lots of special events for visitors, members and groups to enjoy.

  • Goodbye to KidWorks:  Join us all month long to bid KidWorks a fond goodbye! Climb up, down and all around – and be sure to tie a ribbon with a favorite memory or message saying goodbye to KidWorks. Also join us on Monday, January 1, 2019 for a celebration like no other as we say one last – and crazy fun - final Farewell to KidWorks. Aside from fun celebrations throughout the day, one lucky slider will get be the last kid ever to slide down KidWorks. Plus, we’ll send the messiest, heaviest and goofiest objects down the slide. It will be a day to remember!
  • Birthday Celebrations: Stop by all month long and sign our giant birthday card, join in on fun birthday-themed activities (including painting giant cakes and photobooths). Then join in a fun-filled Birthday Extravaganza Weekend on Saturday, December 15 & Sunday, December 16.

Also be sure to join us for a final Farewell to KidWorks event! Join us on January 1, 2018 for our Farewell to KidWorks event, where we say goodbye to our beloved three-story climber, KidWorks with fun activities – including the chance for one lucky kid to be the last kid ever to slide down KidWorks!

Visit our event calendar and newsroom for updates and more information on how you can explore Port Discovery and celebrate 20 years of powerful, purposeful play before construction on transformational new exhibits and improved Museum amenities begins.

What will construction of new exhibits and features mean for visitors?

Construction of new exhibits and improved Museum amenities means a bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun – Port Discovery! We’ll be upping the fun and learning at the Museum for children, caregivers, families and groups to enjoy.

Construction will mean some temporary changes to operations and access to the Museum. But you can still come & play!

We will continue offering unique playful learning opportunities for visitors and members. Come play and enjoy:

Hours of operation for The Construction Zone and Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space will be announced monthly. To find out more about all of the ways to play while Port Discovery is under construction, please visit PortDiscovery.org/Construction.

For safety reasons, some operations and access to the Museum will be limited during construction, which means the Port Discovery experience will be a bit different during this time. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring you immersive new exhibits and Museum improvements that will transform the Museum – and fuel even more powerful, purposeful play.
 

What can I do if I visit Port Discovery during construction?

As Port Discovery works to bring bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun - exhibits and experiences to visitors, the Museum will continue offering unique, playful learning opportunities for children and caregivers.

Opportunities to play and learn while construction of new exhibits is underway include:

  • The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank Starting in mid-January 2019, visitors and members will be invited to explore a unique and limited-time experience that explores design, building, engineering, and more through playful learning experiences. The Construction Zone will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission will be free for Members and $5 per person for general admission visitors. Children under two will be admitted for free. The Construction Zone is located in the Atrium at Port Discovery Children’s Museum (directly next door to the main Museum).
  • Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth: Starting in late January, visitors will be invited to explore a Pop-Up Play Space featuring educational programs, messy art, and hands-on building activities. Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth will be open Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission will be free for all visitors.
  • Educational Programs at Schools & Other Community Locations:  Starting in January, Port Discovery will increase the number of hands-on, educational programs delivered in schools, libraries, Judy Centers, Head Starts, and other locations. In addition, the Museum will increase its presence at community events. To request a Port Discovery program at your school, location or event, please contact Barb Henschel,  Community Outreach Specialist, at 410.864.2683 or bhenschel@portdiscovery.org

Hours of operation for The Construction Zone and Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space will be announced monthly. To find out more about all of the ways to play while Port Discovery is under construction, please visit PortDiscovery.org/Construction.

For safety reasons, some operations and access to the Museum will be limited during construction, which means the Port Discovery experience will be a bit different during this time. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring you immersive new exhibits and Museum improvements that will transform the Museum – and fuel even more powerful, purposeful play.

What exhibits will be off limits while construction on new exhibits and features is underway?

As Port Discovery works to bring bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun - exhibits and experiences to visitors, the Museum will continue offering unique, playful learning opportunities for children and caregivers.

However, for safety reasons, some operations and access to the Museum will be limited during construction, which means the Port Discovery experience will be a bit different during this time. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring you immersive new exhibits and Museum improvements that will transform the Museum – and fuel even more powerful, purposeful play.

Areas that will be open during construction include:

  • The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank:  Starting in mid-January 2019, visitors and members will be invited to explore a unique and limited-time experience that explores design, building, engineering, and more through playful learning experiences. The Construction Zone will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission will be free for Members and $5 per person for general admission visitors. Children under two will be admitted for free. The Construction Zone is located in the Atrium at Port Discovery Children’s Museum (directly next door to the main Museum).
  • The OasisThe Construction Zone in the Atrium at Port Discovery will include access to The Oasis, a perfect area for infants, toddlers and their caregivers to read a book together, play a game or solve a puzzle.
  • PD Presents: The Construction Zone in the Atrium at Port Discovery will include occasional access to PD Presents, a theater space that engages children in visual arts and theater through hands-on and interactive plays and performances.

Areas that will be temporarily closed include:

  • Port Discovery’s Lobby (a new entrance will be available during construction)
  • Port Discovery’s Gift Shop
  • KidWorks, the Museum’s three-story climber (A new SkyClimber exhibit is being built to replace this experience)
  • The Royal Farms Fill’er Up Station
  • The BGE Studio Workshop (a mini art-studio will be available while Port Discovery is under construction)
  • Kick It Up! (Several games and activities from Kick It Up! will be available while Port Discovery is under construction).
  • Tot Trails  (The Oasis will remain open while Port Discovery is under construction and will offer activities and areas for infants and toddlers).
  • Adventure Expeditions, the Museum’s Egypt-themed exhibit.
  • Wonders of Water, the Museum’s water play area.
  • Tiny’s Diner, the Museum’s pretend diner.

In addition to being able to explore The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery, visitors and members are also invited to visit Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth and to request educational programs and activities to visit their school, community location, and/or event.

What can visitors and members see and do in The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery?

Starting in mid-January 2019, visitors and members will be invited to explore The Construction Zone in the Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank, a unique and limited-time experience that explores design, building, engineering, and more through playful learning experiences.

 

Design and create a mini-robot, use a kid-favorite – giant cardboard boxes – to build a creation straight from your imagination, launch rockets towards the moon, create your own theatrical play, and more!

  • Design! Can a robot make real art? Find out when you design and build a mini-robot in the Prototype & Play area. Be an architect as you draft and draw plans for a new playground, building, and more with spirographs and lightboxes. Build and draw at  building and art stations.
  • Build! It’s a box...it’s a plane...it’s a castle! When you add imagination to giant boxes, there’s no limit to what you can create. As you build, dress up using hats, goggles, puppets, and more – and work together to create a scene straight out of your dreams.
  • Launch! 3...2...1...Blastoff! Launch a rocket towards a mini-moon and explore how physics helps things fly (and land). Plus, learn about space in a hands-on Sun, Earth, Universe mini-exhibit.
  • Act! Take 10! Dress up, dance, sing, act – and take center stage in the Black Box Theater! Plus enjoy interactive theater performances including puppets, silly scientists, singers, dancers and other family-friendly performers.
  • Be a kid! Crawl and toddle around The Oasis. Enjoy drop-in performances and programs that are playful and educational.

The Construction Zone will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission will be free for Members and $5 per person for general admission visitors. Children under two will enter for free. The Construction Zone is located in the Atrium at Port Discovery Children’s Museum (directly next door to the main Museum). Hours of operation will be announced on a monthly basis. The Construction Zone is sponsored by M&T Bank. 

What can visitors and members see/do in the Pop-Up Play Space?

Starting in late January, visitors will be invited to explore a Pop-Up Play Space featuring drop-in educational programs at The Shops at Kenilworth.

Spark your child’s imagination as you play and learn together at Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play SpaceLocated at The Shops at Kenilworth, the Pop-Up Play Space features fun and educational drop-in programs for infants and toddlers, messy art (think paint!), and fun, hands-on building activities that also preview the exciting new exhibits to come at Port Discovery Children’s Museum.

Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth will be open Wednesdays through Sundays. Hours will be announced monthly. Admission will be free for all visitors.

What will construction of new exhibits and features mean for groups?

Construction of new exhibits and features means a bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun – Port Discovery that will up the fun and learning for visitors and groups!

Port Discovery will continue offering unique, playful learning opportunities for children and caregivers through The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank and a Port Discovery Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth.

However, our ability to welcome large groups will be limited while construction is underway on two new immersive exhibits, the Port Exhibitand the SkyClimber, and other Museum features including the Museum’s lobby, a nursing station, family seating, and restroom updates, are upgraded.

With that in mind, Port Discovery will not be scheduling field trips or group visits during the months of January, February, March or April 2019.

Your group is encouraged to book a field trip or group visit to the Museum to explore the transformational new exhibits that we’re constructing. Please contact Group Reservations at 410-864-2727 or email groupsales@portdiscovery.org to book ensure your group has the opportunity to explore new exhibits and programs as soon as they open!

In addition, starting in January, Port Discovery will increase the number of hands-on, educational programs delivered in schools, libraries, Judy Centers, Head Starts and other locations. In addition, the Museum will increase its presence at community events. To request a Port Discovery program at your school, location or event, please contact Barb Henschel, Community Outreach Specialist, at 410.864.2683 or bhenschel@portdiscovery.org.

The Construction Zone is sponsored by M&T Bank.

What will Port Discovery’s hours of operation be while the Museum is under construction? What will admission cost?

Port Discovery will offer opportunities to play and learn while construction of new exhibits is underway as follows:

  • The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank -  Opening Mid-January, 2019
    January hours: Fridays: Open 10 AM – 4 PM, Saturdays: Open 10 AM – 5 PM; Sundays: Open Noon – 5 PM. Also open from 10 AM – 5 PM on Monday, January 21, 2019.

    Starting in mid-January 2019, visitors and members will be invited to explore a unique and limited-time experience that explores design, building, engineering, and more through playful learning experiences. The Construction Zone will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission will be free for Members and $5 per person for general admission visitors. Children two and under will be admitted for free. The Construction Zone is located in the Atrium at Port Discovery Children’s Museum (directly next door to the main Museum). The Construction Zone is sponsored by M&T Bank. 

 

  • Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth - Opening Late January, 2019 
    January hours: Wednesdays: Open 10 AM – 5PM, Thursdays: Open 10 AM – 8 PM, Fridays, Open 10 AM – 8 PM,
    Saturdays: Open 10 AM – 5 PM; Sundays: Open Noon – 5 PM. Also open from 10 AM – 5 PM on Monday, January 21, 2019. 
     

    Starting in late January, visitors will be invited to explore a Pop-Up Play Space featuring educational programs, messy art, and hands-on building activities.  Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth will be open Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission will be free for all visitors.


Hours of operation for The Construction Zone and Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space will be announced monthly. To find out more about all of the ways to play while Port Discovery is under construction, please visit PortDiscovery.org/Construction.

How should visitors and members reserve tickets to Port Discovery while the Museum is under construction?

As Port Discovery works to bring bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun - exhibits and experiences to visitors, the Museum will continue offering unique, playful learning opportunities for children and caregivers.

The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank will be open while construction on two new exhibits and improved Museum amenities is underway. However, this experience will be designed to accommodate a smaller number of guests than the Museum typically can serve.

Members: Upon entry, members will obtain a wristband by providing photo ID to verify membership.

Visitors: Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets at our Box Office. During the month of January 2019, tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis in person at our Box Office.

How should visitors and members enter Port Discovery while the Museum is under construction?

As Port Discovery works to bring bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun - exhibits and experiences to visitors, the Museum’s lobby and other Museum amenities will also be updated to bring you an even better experience.

Therefore, we’re creating a temporary new lobby for visitors and members to use while construction is underway. The new temporary entrance will be through doors that are adjacent to our current main entrance. The entrance will have signs that help guide you, and are even closer to the Harbor Park Parking Garage where many of our guests park when visiting the Museum.

Will birthday parties be offered while Port Discovery is under construction?

Visitors and members will still be able to enjoy birthday party experiences offered by Port Discovery. However, parties will temporarily be offered at Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth during Spring 2019. Please note only the ‘Pop-Up Play’ Party Package will be offered during this time.

For more information on birthday parties at Port Discovery, please contact Ashley Smith, Birthday Coordinator, at 410.864.2657 or birthdays@portdiscovery.org

Can people still book events (e.g. weddings, conferences, etc.) at Port Discovery while construction is underway?

Construction of new exhibits and features means a bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun – Port Discovery will be here to accommodate your wedding, conference, fundraiser, and other events.

Although Port Discovery will continue offering unique, playful learning opportunities for children and caregivers through The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank and Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth, our typical event spaces will be temporarily unavailable while construction of two new immersive exhibits, the Port Exhibit and the SkyClimber,and improvements to the Museum’s lobby, restrooms, and other amenities is underway.

With that in mind, Port Discovery will not be scheduling facility rentals/catered events to take place during the months of January, February, March or April 2019.

The result of our construction will be a transformed Port Discovery, creating an even more unique and improved setting for weddings, conferences, and other business events. Your group is encouraged to book your event for Spring 2019 and after to ensure your event takes place among brand new exhibits and improved Museum amenities. For more information on facility rentals, please contact Kelly Hawkins, Senior Operations Manager, at 410.864.2726 or khawkins@portdiscovery.org.  

The Construction Zone is sponsored by M&T Bank.

How can we stay updated on what’s happening at the Museum while construction is taking place?

Stay up-to-date on the many ways to play and learn – including the mini-exhibits, learning experiences and fun activities available in The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank, and the activities offered at Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth, by continuing to visit www.PortDiscovery.org/Construction, signing up for email alerts, and following Port Discovery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

You’ll also be able to follow along with construction progress and plans for the grand-opening of our new exhibits by visiting www.PortDiscovery.org/Construction, signing up for email updates, and following Port Discovery’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts.

How can we get updates about construction progress and plans for the grand opening of Port Discovery’s new exhibits?

Updates about construction progress and plans for our grand-reopening of the full Museum will be shared on www.PortDiscovery.org/Construction, via email updates, and on Port Discovery’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts.

Port Discovery will also keep local media updated about milestones in construction and plans for the grand opening of new exhibits and improved Museum amenities.

Are any closures planned while construction is underway and/or before the grand-opening of Port Discovery’s new exhibits and other features?

As Port Discovery works to bring bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun - exhibits and experiences to visitors, the Museum will continue offering unique, playful learning opportunities for children and caregivers through The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank and Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth.

For safety reasons, some operations and access to the Museum will be limited during construction, which means the Port Discovery experience will be a bit different during this time. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to bring you immersive new exhibits and Museum improvements that will transform the Museum – and fuel even more powerful, purposeful play. 

While the main Museum area will be mostly off limits during the construction of new exhibits and improved amenities, we plan to offer opportunities for play through The Construction Zone in The Atrium at Port Discovery sponsored by M&T Bank and Port Discovery’s Pop-Up Play Space at The Shops at Kenilworth throughout construction.

However, the Museum will announce days and hours of operation on a monthly basis so that we can best respond to the needs of our visitors and members while also preparing for the opening of new exhibits and amenities. To find out more about all of the ways to play while Port Discovery is under construction, please visit PortDiscovery.org/Construction.

Who is funding the project?

Port Discovery’s Capital Campaign is supported by a broad-base of contributors including the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, corporations and professional firms, charitable foundations and generous individual donors.  To date, we have raised $9.3 million toward our $10.5 million goal.

As a result, we are moving forward on construction of two transformative new exhibits, a redesigned lobby, updated Museum restrooms, a nursing station, a renovated lunchroom, and additional family seating, all set to open to the public in the spring of 2019.

Information on New Exhibits & Museum Improvements

FAQS

What new exhibits and features can we expect as part of the bigger, bolder, better Port Discovery? How will the Museum be different?

Port Discovery will be bigger, bolder, better - and even more fun -  when we celebrate the grand opening of two new exhibits and improved Museum amenities. 

The center of Port Discovery will be totally transformed, starting with the experience you have when you walk in our front doors. You’ll enter through an updated lobby, making entering the Museum easier and faster.

Then, you’ll be greeted by a new four-story SkyClimber, where you can soar to new heights as you try to reach the clouds. Under the SkyClimber you’ll find a wonderful new play area for infants and toddlers. Directly behind and through the SkyClimber, you’ll see our massive new signature exhibit, the Port Exhibit, which features a multi-level ship where you can become the captain of an imaginative adventure.

New exhibits and experiences coming to Port Discovery include:

A new signature exhibit: The Port Exhibit  
Become the captain of an imaginative adventure on a massive ship! Role-play as the ship’s captain, sailors, navigators and engineers as you explore the seas, discover how products make their way around the world, and work together to move, stack and explore what’s inside shipping containers. Operate a gentry crane, learn how to navigate a boat, and more! Plus, learn about the Port of Baltimore – and the many jobs and products that make up one of the world’s most active ports!​

A new four-story Skyclimber:
Soar to new heights as you try to reach the clouds! Dare to dream – and test your courage – as you get climb your way up and around a four-story SkyClimber that takes you from underwater” up “into the clouds.” As you climb and reach new heights, you’ll build confidence and problem-solving skills while having fun with new friends. You’ll even trigger sound effects from Mother Nature as you climb high above Port Discovery and reach for the stars. Toddlers can get in on the action, too, with a soft play area on the ground level. The SkyClimber will replace Port Discovery’s current KidWorks exhibit.

How will the new exhibits and amenities improve the experience at Port Discovery?

The new exhibits and amenities being constructed at Port Discovery will bring our guests bigger, bolder, better – and even more fun – exhibits and experiences – and will make navigating the Museum a bit easier, and will up the fun and learning at the Museum.

We’re updating our lobby to ensure that when you visit Port Discovery, you can enter easily and quickly – and have fun along the way. We're also making improvements to restrooms and our lunch area, and adding a nursing station and more family seating. 

Dare to dream – and test your courage – as you get climb your way up and around our new SkyClimber, a four-story experience that takes you from underwater” up “into the clouds.” As you climb and reach new heights, you’ll build confidence and problem-solving skills while having fun with new friends. You’ll even trigger sound effects from Mother Nature as you climb high above Port Discovery and reach for the stars. Toddlers can get in on the action, too, with a soft play area on the ground level. The SkyClimber will replace Port Discovery’s current KidWorks exhibit, and will be accessible from just one entry and exit point (although emergency exists are certainly available), ensuring that caregivers can keep an eye on little ones as they climb to new heights. In addition, you’ll be able to see all there is to see, do and experience at the Museum a bit more easily.

Of course, the new Port Exhibit also offers new and exciting opportunities for learning through play. Role-play as the ship’s captain, sailors, navigators and engineers as you explore the seas, discover how products make their way around the world, and work together to move, stack and explore what’s inside shipping containers. Operate a gentry crane, learn how to navigate a boat, and more! Plus, learn about the Port of Baltimore – and the many jobs and products that make up one of the world’s most active ports!

What new programs can we look forward to once the renovations are complete?

The new Port Exhibit, in addition to being an exciting interactive exhibit, is also an ideal platform for innovative programming. The exhibit pays homage to the Port of Baltimore, and will be the perfect location for brand new programs exploring socio-culture topics, maps and navigation, and what jobs help make the Port work. 

What current exhibits will remain a part of Port Discovery?

So many Port Discovery favorites will remain a part of Port Discovery once construction of new exhibits and improved Museum amenities is complete. Aside from the new SkyClimber and Port Exhibit, you’ll have the opportunity to rediscover visitor favorites that explore arts, culture, STEM, health, early childhood education and more!

  • Adventure Expeditions
  • BGE Studio Workshop
  • Kick It Up!
  • Royal Farms Convenience Store and Fill’er Up Station
  • PD Presents
  • The Oasis
  • Tiny’s Diner
  • Tot Trails
  • Wonders of Water
  • And we will continue to offer our exciting visiting exhibits and exciting and educational programming! 

Some of these favorite exhibits will see improvements and updates while construction is underway. Others may be improved or updated as part of future construction projects at the Museum. 

How did you develop the concepts and designs for new exhibits and programs?

We listened to you! We asked our visitors and members for their input – and listened to feedback we heard via surveys, reviews and more.

In addition, along with our exhibit designers, we considered what experiences are right now the most successful at Port Discovery and which experiences are considered inter-generational “favorites” at Port Discovery, the most highly regarded children’s museums in the field.  

In addition, we solicited feedback from educators, staff, Board, community members, visitors, and external advisors, and mapped them against Port Discovery’s own knowledge of what works every day already. 

From this beginning we developed ten preliminary exhibit concepts, encompassing human creativity, exploration, culture, history, technology, and the natural world from the farthest reaches of space to our own backyard.

Next, we invited community input and evaluation on these ten concepts in the form of focus groups and extensive exhibit concept testing. We learned that our visitors understand and appreciate the value of learning through play and we began to see just how broad and deep the notion of imaginative, purposeful, learner-driven play could become.

We’ve turned what we’ve learned into several new exhibits – two of which are the Port Exhibit and SkyClimber, both set to open in spring 2019 – that incorporate many of the topics and experiences we discussed with visitors, members, early childhood experts, and other advisors. We are working on concepts for additional new exhibits as well, which we hope to share information on very soon.

Who are your construction and architecture partners?

  • Roto
  • Cambridge Seven Associates /C7
  • Lewis Contractors
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