The Calvert Marine Museum is well worth the annual family membership fee of $60. It’s a wonderful option for those very hot days, very cold days, very wet days, well you get the idea. Although the exhibits don’t change much my daughter doesn’t mind. She looks forward to checking in with the rays, the terrapins, the sea horses, jellyfish, and the otters most of all. On good weather days there is a lovely wooden pavilion for picnicing, a boardwalk, a covered area housing a large antique boat collection, and the best feature- the Drum Point Lighthouse which is open from 11:30-12 and then again sometime in the afternoon. Naptime has made it impossible for me to ever go in the afternoon though so I wouldn’t know about that. That’s only for the parents of Older Children. The lighthouse boasts several separate rooms and although the winding stairs are quite tricky with a toddler in tow it’s well worth it. A tip from a sadder-but-wiser-girl: do not wear a skirt as the updraft can be gusty. The history of the lighthouse is my favorite part- many different families (something like 15 of them) raised their kids in it and I always have a great time imagining them gathered around the table on a blustery day or sending a home-made slinky down the stairs. When the kids were school-age they took a boat to the mainland (the lighthouse used to be quite a ways out in the water) in order to get their education. Just imagine a boat instead of a school bus. Those lucky little buggers.
For those of you with toddlers there is a Sea Squirts program that happens twice or thrice a month (see website)- it’s free but if you want to stay and look around afterwards you will need to pay the daily admission fee. For my money I’d rather just take my kids there on a quiet day. There are so many people that attend the toddler program I’ve never been able to hear anything and my toddler gets impatient with all the waiting. If I didn’t also have a baby attached to me I might find it a bit more manageable.
Besides the animal exhibits there is also a Discovery Room which is wonderful. It has a fossil digging area with experts on staff to help the kids identify what they find. There is a sailboat replica that the kids can climb in- it comes complete with a set of life vests and sailor hats as well as a marine backdrop which makes for great photos. Perfect for the grandparents. There is even a mini lighthouse along with keeper quarters. Lastly there is the staffed touch tank. My kiddo doesn’t seem to care about it either way yet but one day she will. I’ll be sure to be there when that day arrives.