Although there’s tons of baby/toddler/kid friendly rooms in many of the museums in Washington, D.C. There is not yet an entire museum dedicated to children. Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is an hour away from Washington D.C. by car and with three entire floors of toys, exhibits and daily programming it’s totally worth the visit. In partnership with Port Discovery Children’s Museum I’m giving away a family four pack of tickets so you too can see this exhibit, details on how to enter are at the bottom of this post.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum has been on my to-do list for a while now, so when Ooey and I got an invite to check out their newest exhibit I was pretty jazzed. “Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails” rolled into Port Discovery January 21st and will remain until May 7th. For more information about Port Discovery including hours and pricing see their website, here.
Thomas the Tank Engine is a series set on the island of Sodor where Thomas, the main character, and his fellow friends, mostly trains, teach children empathy and problem solving skills though the chronicles of their misadventures. In the course of an episode one of the trains usually makes a mistake which he or she then trouble shoots with the aid of a friend, there’s always a happy ending and a lesson to be learned for the audience. My husband and I spend way to much time watching and analyzing this show long after Ooey wanders off and, I’m sure we’re not alone here.
When we arrived at Port Discovery we made a bee-line for the Thomas exhibit on the third floor, passing loads of cool rooms and toys along the way. It was hard to hold on to Ooey passing all these activities, she immediately recognized this place was “for her” and was trying desperately to wriggle out of my arms to explore. Finally, we made it to the Thomas Exhibit, our reason for visiting. I set Ooey down in front of a life size Thomas the Train model and I heard a soft “Oooo”. This is the toddler version of meeting a celebrity.
Ooey climbed aboard Thomas and switched his levers and pretended to steer. But out of the corner of her eye she noticed the train table modeled after the Island of Sodor and Thomas was quickly forgotten. This train table was one of the biggest I’ve ever seen and half a dozen other children were also playing without being crowded. While Ooey spent over two hours playing at the train table I tried to get a peek of what else the exhibit had to offer.
There were two other giant trains, Percy and Victor. Victor is “parked” at the large scale model of the Steamworks where engines usually end up when in need of repair. Percy is at the Steamworks too and needs help with his wobbly wheel which kids and parents can work together to fix. There are also pieces of “coal” which need to be loaded into his firebox. I like how throughout the exhibit there are opportunities for parents and their kids to work together, it certainly makes the trip more fun for adults.
At the other end of the exhibit is a loading dock where kids can sort luggage from bulk dry goods. Ooey and I pretended we were grabbing our luggage to go on our trip and also “helped” to sort the bags of seeds and flowers. All of this hard labour wore Ooey out so she crawled into the car for a quick lie down using the sacks of seeds and flour as pillows.
The exhibit also has a soft section for babies, which included larger trains and toys. We wrapped up our visit to Port Discovery by exploring the rest of the museum, which is subject for another blog post. All in all we had a great visit spending over five hours playing. I’m really happy to be giving away four tickets to the museum, see below for the details.
As promised! The Port Discovery Children’s Museum has generously given me four tickets to give away in conjunction with this post. To enter use the Rafflecopter platform below. There are three ways to enter the contest through the provided link; by liking me on Facebook, Twitter and by commenting on this post. Good Luck, the contest ends next Tuesday.