A different coronavirus travel question - what to do in/near Baltimore?
March 3, 2020 7:58 PM   Subscribe

We had a trip planned in a few weeks that has been affected by COVID - our lodging has fallen through, but it looks like I won't be able to cancel the plane tickets and I'm okay with taking the risk of flying. But now I have no plans at our destination! What's good to do in/near Baltimore with young children? Where should we stay? More details inside.

Trip is from Monday the 23rd to Wednesday the 25th, flying into BWI. We were going to stay on a horse farm in rural Maryland but that won't be possible now - the homeowners are not going on their trip due to coronavirus, so they no longer need us to come horse-sit and there isn't room for us to stay there when they aren't traveling.

Trip participants are me and two kids, 5 and 7. They are not much into history and battlefields and cute downtown squares with quilt shops and whatnot. I am basically completely unfamiliar with the area. I'll have a car but would prefer not to do any long drives, two hours is probably my limit. If there were a Great Wolf Lodge or similar, I'd be happy to stay there the whole time - might as well turn this into a mini spring break.

What's a great place to stay and stuff to do for kids that age?
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty to Travel & Transportation around Baltimore, MD (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you are downtown, here are my hacks:

Aquarium on a Friday evening can be less expensive. Pair that with a walk over to Little Italy for a dessert at Vaccaro’s. On the walk over, there is a music- inspired playground behind...the Columbus Center? The walkway is south of Pratt Street, which is next to traffic.

Science Center is next to Federal Hill. With the Science Center, look at demonstrations or IMAX when kids can rest their legs from walking. Easy free fun nearby: walk up federal hill and enjoy the small park on top- it has a charming playground and wonderful views.

The Visionary Arts museum is literally on the downhill east side of federal hill- they have a huge whirligig and at least had a driftwood playground in a free sculpture garden. If the art is of interest, go. The gift shop and restrooms have some extra fun content.

You can drive or take a shuttle to Fort McHenry and walking the grounds is free, great for a picnic, and you can generally see the ships coming and going. If you go for the whole experience toward closing they often ask for volunteers to help with taking the large flag down(weather is a factor).
posted by childofTethys at 3:41 AM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Penguin feeding at the Baltimore Zoo is hilarious and there are daily keeper chats for different animals.

Unfortunately the Water Taxi doesn't start running until April. Lunch and dinner cruises leave from the Inner Harbor, but that might be too stuffy for kids, although it would be a shame not to get on the water.

Pierce's Park is a playground for all. Crawl through the sculpture, make music with hanging tubes and mallets.

The gift shop at the American Visionary Art Museum is the best museum gift shop in the world. Give each kid $5 and let them go rummage for treasure.
posted by jointhedance at 5:21 AM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Staybridge Suites is down the street from the aquarium, and I’ve found it kid-friendly, reasonably priced, and the one bedroom/kitchen is quite nice to have.

It’s also a short hour drive or train into DC from BWI.
posted by inevitability at 6:01 AM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

You can tour a real submarine! The USS Torsk is docked in Baltimore Harbor. I knew submarines were close quarters, but I didn't really they were *that* small until I sidled through the Torsk.
posted by jointhedance at 6:35 AM on March 4, 2020

Second arabidopsis - BWI is considered one of the 3 airports that serve DC (it's roughly the same distance as IAD), so you're also more-or-less flying into DC.

Baltimore is great, but DC does have a lot more going on. The Smithsonians, which include the National Zoo, are pretty fun for kids (I've never met one that didn't love the Postal Museum) and they're free so you can accommodate a child-size attention span without feeling like you didn't get your money's worth. Plus, you should be timed just right to see the cherry blossoms!
posted by mosst at 2:00 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seconding AVAM. The museum itself is a manageable size and, depending on the current exhibit, may be interesting for young children. I went with 6ish year old. She liked the museum for awhile but got bored eventually. She LOVED the gift shop. I love the gift shop. The gift shop is amazing.
posted by Mavri at 7:14 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

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