Travel reviews by
Port Discovery Children's Museum
Based on 139 traveler reviews
The Kids Had a Blast!
Mar 04, 2014 by: Ernjack1972 from Lancaster, VA
We brought our grandchildren for an afternoon at the museum. The price was reasonable and on Sunday they validate half the price of the $15 parking. The kids loved the giant play scape that dominated the center of the museum and was three stories high. They also loved the train and car and the dance room with the light wall. Even our three year old enjoyed herself. Although they don't have a cafeteria, there are plenty of places to eat in the immediate area. At 13.95 the price was reasonable for the fun the kids were having. Surely, a better value than the $35 for the aquarium.
Such a disappointment.
Feb 24, 2014 by: lauren w from Ellicott City, Maryland
My boyfriend and I loved port discovery as young kids and we decided to go back for old times sake and were denied admission because we did not have kids. We are extremely disappointed.
Kids beg to go back
Feb 22, 2014 by: TrvlSkr from Pennsylvania
Lots of fun things to do for kids. It is very hands on. Sometimes they have free tickets for military. My kids ask to go there each visit!
Fun for kids!!
Feb 21, 2014 by: Cmetz3679 from Bethpage, New York
Great for kids ages 5 and up I would say. Took my 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 year olds but there wasn't as much for them to do. Much of the exhibits were for older kids. We still had fun but I would take them back in a couple of years.
Could be amazing but falls flat!
Feb 17, 2014 by: RussandAmy from Indiana
This is lengthy review in hopes of helping Port Discovery make some positive changes. For those looking for opinions on coming here, and don't want all the details...its overall dirty and unorganized. Staff is not engaging and there is little to NO guidance on how to best use the exhibits. For ages 6-10 you may want to give it a try. If you prefer just random chaotic free play then this place may suit you well. This was our second visit to Port Discovery, but our first with our 14 month old daughter. We brought our nephew, then 6 years old, here four years ago. We were very impressed with it at that time, and therefore looked forward to one day bringing our own child here. We were even considering getting a membership so we could have a fun place to bring our daughter when the weather is too hot, too cold, or rainy for other play options. After spending 2 hours here today, a membership is definitely not for us, at least not at this point in time. Our daughter enjoyed running around and exploring the different areas, but it was not the same place we visited years before. Understandably it was crowded as it was a Sunday afternoon, but you could hardly move around within the exhibits. It was difficult to get a turn at anything, and led to frustrations not only for our daughter but for us as well. There were many unsupervised older children just running around from one thing to the next. We saw a lot of purple shirts (employees) but they just stuck together chit chatting to one another. We didn't see them engaging with the children or showing them how things work, or explaining/ teaching anything. This is a real shame because there are indeed some real teachable moments here. We would have liked to taken advantage of more of them with our daughter ourselves, but the over crowding, lack of space to even kneel beside her, the volume level, and the sheer chaotic atmosphere made that impossible. The entire place is showing its wear and tear. There were only two shopping baskets, no shopping carts even available in the grocery center. no food on the shelves, no staff members organizing anything or putting anything back on shelves so other children can play. The cash register didn't have any money in it, and it was over run with kids all trying to get a turn. the car was so crowded our daughter only got to touch the hood and say car before we scooped her up to keep her from being trampled on. One of the sections geared for young children was the oasis. It was just a complete mess with everything off shelves all over the floors, everything dirty and old and over used. It needs a good washing, some fresh paint, some new toys and activities. I seriously suggest they take out the carpeting and put in some heavy duty foam matting, or cushioned gym flooring that can be disinfected and kept more hygenic. I'd suggest toys that can also be cleaned easily. Giant blocks, wipeable board books, wipeable bean bag chairs, maybe a light table with giant colored tanograms, magnetic wall with oversized magnets for story building, some chunky puzzles etc. The other section geared for tots, tot trails, was a bit more organized, and actually did have a staff member we saw organizing and did engage with the musical instruments with our little one. We liked the areas for climbing here, but found it to be lacking in toys and activities. It had two puppets, a few instruments, a disgusting caterpillar stuffed animal, two Bilbao chairs, a giant light bright, and a sand table section. The sand table, although neat, Was too high and too deep for the young tots the room was geared to. There was no staff member watching the goings on here either and we saw children dumping sand onto the floor and throwing sand. Because you have to take your shoes off in this section ( although again, no rules enforced as we saw many people with shoes on) you socks get sand on them. Also they should have a sink for washing off sandy hands here. This section could really be improved upon to actively engage the 6 months to 3 year old population. They could put a ballet bar up along the mirrored wall for babies to pull themselves up onto and walk along, they could put different texture flooring for babies to feel and crawl across. A small foam or ball pit, stacked foam mats for climbing up and sliding down, a cause and effect wall activity, a sound board ( open a door with a picture on it, and hear the sound that goes with the picture), a puppet theater, classical music could be played in the background. There could be a shelf of sensory bins parents can take out to explore with their little ones. Bins for colors, shapes, letters, numbers, things that go, holiday bins, dinosaur bin, farm bin, insect bin, texture bin etc. The Egyptian section, although it looks appealing at first glance is dingy and dusty and really has nothing to engage children for more than three minutes. I really don't get the mystery house. Again its old, over used, and dirty. The lighting is poor, and there is nothing of real educational value. I think the space could be better used. The diner is really a cute and neat idea. Such a fun place for little ones to pretend play, but we couldn't get any of the toys to even play and engage with. It was again, dirty and unorganized, and just totally chaotic! I would love to see the doors closed off and a limited number of children allowed to play for 12-15 minutes, then the doors opened kids leave and the next group comes in. It would be so much more fun for everyone! Waterworks is neat as well, but there are no explanations or play guidance given. It too looks dingy and old. The only toys we got to play with were a boat with all the paint chipped off and a green Lego piece. The Lego piece probably belonged in another exhibit. Again, they could make this area so much better! It was crazy chaotic and no kid was learning about the water cycle at all, just frantically grabbing and slashing I the water. The main hallways on each floor is so much wasted space that could be used for educational value and to direct the flow of traffic from the other exhibits. I would strongly suggest they have staff stationed at the entrance of each exhibit and only allow a comfortable number of people in at a time. I wouldn't mind waiting in a line taking in the activities along the walls, if it meant we could have a more enjoyable and valuable learning experience once inside. Some ideas for all that wasted wall space include, puzzles, magnetic build a face, or a dress up characters, marble shoot, number match up, magnetic maze, hidden picture art, circuit building, the possibilities are endless. They could even use the floor to put in a few hopscotch zones, or see how far you can jump area with measurements. The four story play zone is not for children who get lost or disoriented easily, young toddlers, or for any kid who's parents freak out if they are not in sight. I remember my husband and being uncomfortable with the play zone for my six year old nephew. My poor husband had to chase around after him to keep track of him. The many exits and entrances on all levels is problematic. Also again, there is no restriction on the number of kids allowed on it at a time. The ropes are old and frayed, and there are even holes in them. Things have been patched over with duct tape. I don't think I'd feel safe allowing any child under 10 to navigate it without an adult and as an adult have no desire to navigate its difficult passageways with my kid! Its a big draw for kids though and they all want to go in it regardless of age. There is a sports section as well that we walked through but didn't use. Given the large crowd of people, it certainly was not very popular and was the least crowded area. Unfortunately, none of the activities were good for young children. Again this could be improved upon. Put In a toddler basketball court, have a giant bowling ball and pins to knockdown. Have a bean bag toss. Get a few of those bouncing balls with the handles, or section off an area for ride on toys. Have a staff member running some healthy competitions or games in this area. There was another section with a few giant put together type toys, I think this section could better be used as well. Why not make a school room for playing school, or a vet play center, maybe a farm center. Kids could collect eggs from the hen house, milk a cow, fix a fence, ride on a tractor, plant vegetables, harvest corn, feed the pigs etc. This place has so much potential to be great, its sad that it falls short. I hope management reads this review and takes some of my ideas to heart. We need good quality places for little ones to play at safely in the Baltimore area.
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