The Maryland Science Center (MSC) is a family-oriented museum with experiments to watch and take part in. Three levels of exhibits, a planetarium, IMAX Theater and an observatory take visitors to the far reaches of the universe, deep inside the human body and back to a time when dinosaurs roamed Earth.
The MSC was established by the Maryland Academy of Science and Literature, which is one of the oldest of its kind in the U.S. This private scientific society was founded in 1797, but much of their early collection was lost during a fire. In 1976 the society’s interactive center, combined with the Davis Planetarium, opened to the public. The atrium lobby and IMAX Theater followed a decade later.
The science center aims to teach children about the workings of nature and technology. Become a paleontologist and touch a real triceratops skull in the field labs of Dinosaur Mysteries. Discover what DNA looks like in the Wet Lab and investigate human organs at the BodyLink exhibit. Children up to 8 years old can splash around with water in the Kids Room. Bring your toddlers to Room to Grow, where they can crawl among soft toys and objects. Teens and adults can get a deeper understanding of chemical reactions and optical illusions during live experiments on the Demo Stage.
It’s worth the extra fee to watch a nature movie on a huge 3-D screen in the IMAX Theater. On Friday nights you can head upstairs to study the universe through the museum’s telescope in the free observatory, if the weather permits.
Maryland Science Center in Harborplace is closed on Mondays. The center is not hugely exciting for older kids, but it is a good option if you need an educational destination on a rainy day. Due to its Inner Harbor location, parking is paid and on-street spaces are limited. Hop on the Charm City Circulator shuttle bus to get there for free.