When you need a break from the cold, indoor learning and play—or learning by play—facilities in the Baltimore area and beyond offer myriad options for children of all ages. Whether it’s science, nature, art, reading, games or sports, your family will find plenty here to keep young minds engaged and energy flowing. Before visiting with your family, contact the venues to confirm current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
Arts in Baltimore
Baltimore’s art museums and organizations are a generous resource for activities and experiences for children. Find downloadable arts and crafts and an interactive tour series for families at the Baltimore Museum of Art, free drop-in after-school workshops for ages 6 and older at the Enoch Pratt Free Library through the American Visionary Art Museum, virtual programs and resources for ages 6 to 11 and drop-in art making at the Walters Art Museum, and after-school and enrichment programs through the Creative Alliance. Visit the organization websites for daily schedules and special events. Prices vary. artbma.org, avam.org, creativealliance.org, thewalters.org
B&O Railroad Museum
901 W. Pratt St., Baltimore | Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Discover the ins and outs of train travel—and ride in one—at the B&O Railroad Museum. With an early learning play space and library, programming for all ages throughout the year and weekend train rides starting at $2, families can always find something to do. Sensory programming and mobile sensory kits are also available. Tickets start at $16 and are free for members and some special groups such as Maryland teachers. The museum’s $10 admission day is Jan. 12. borail.org
Maryland Science Center
601 Light St., Baltimore | Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Known for its informal, hands-on learning experiences, The Maryland Science Center has 12 exhibits exploring everything from dinosaurs and math to electromagnetism. The newest exhibit features 12,000 square feet of interactive fun exploring the human body. Entry is free with membership or $20 per day for children ages 3 to 12. Drop-in activities include DIY crafts, science experiments and free play. Daily programming and special events occur throughout the month. mdsci.org
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Place, Baltimore | Time slots available from
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 to 5 p.m. Open Wednesday and Friday through Sunday.
This museum dedicated to children thrives on learning by play and includes three floors of hands-on, interactive exhibits featuring a four-story Sky Climber, theater performances and workshops, an indoor stadium for sports, multiple play spaces geared toward different age groups and role-playing experiences such as grocery shopping and managing a 1950s-style diner. Entry is free for members and $20 for the general public. portdiscovery.org
501 E. Pratt St., Baltimore | Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (until 5 p.m. Jan. 17); Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
From animal ambassadors such as the Australian bearded dragon to small critters, families can explore the sea as they learn from expert staff members. Admission starts at $29.95, with half-price Fridays after 5 p.m. Membership is also available. The aquarium is also participating in Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s Downtown Discovery Days Jan. 3-14 by distributing 10,000 free tickets. Families must pre-register online. aqua.org
1700 W. 41st St. #440, Baltimore | Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., additional locations in Timonium, Columbia, Rockville and Arlington, Virginia
Learn the art of bouldering with more than 10,000 square feet of climbable space. Test your strength, stamina and problem-solving skills through inventive pathways across the wall. A membership to the gym gets you access to climbing, fitness and yoga at all locations. Community events and classes are offered. Day passes are $24 and seven-day passes are available. movementgyms.com/hampden
Robinson Nature Center
6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia | Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
With more than 250 public programs throughout the year, a children’s discovery room, outdoor trails, a natural play area and a planetarium, families will find lots of nature to explore here. Tickets start at $3, and annual passes and memberships are available. The Five Elements Festival, held on Jan. 16, includes virtual reality experiences, a scavenger hunt and a guided winter nature walk. Tickets are $10 for nonmembers. Registration closes Jan. 2. howardcountymd.gov/recreation-parks/robinson-nature-center
ShadowLand Laser Adventures
9179 Red Branch Road, Columbia | Monday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.; additional locations in Gaithersburg, Springfield and Alexandria
Strategy is the name of the game at this multi-level arena. Choose from among different adventures, such as battling vampires and spreading a gameplay virus, as your team works together to vanquish its opponents with lasers. Earn special powers such as stealth mode and temporary invincibility. Admission starts at $9.50 per person for one adventure. Lock-ins and group packages are also available. shadowlandadventures.com/columbia
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
23 W. Aylesbury Road, Timonium | Monday through Friday, 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; additional locations in Rosedale and Columbia
This indoor active zone offers more than trampolines only. Games are enhanced with the power of the jump. Try jousting, parkour or a challenging ninja warrior course. New attractions include zip lining, bouldering, an air-filled court and Wipeout. The park turns into a blacklight-lit dance club after hours on Fridays and a play area for ages 5 and younger on Saturday mornings. Regular admission starts at $18, and memberships are available. skyzone.com/timonium
1811 Woodlawn Drive, Woodlawn | Monday through Thursday,
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; additional location in Rosedale
Stimulate your child’s imagination and encourage a love for reading with an interactive village at the library. The Baltimore County Public Library’s Woodlawn and Rosedale branches have an entire village dedicated to early learners through age 5, including a grocery store, mailroom, puppet stage and theater, home living area and construction zone. bcpl.info/youth/storyville.html