This guest blog post is by my friend of 23 years, Diana Lai Peters. Thank you for contributing, Diana!
Diana is a Coast Guard wife and stay-at-home mom to an active toddler. These days she enjoys taking her son out on new adventures, catching up on shows on Netflix with her husband, and figuring out how to live a frugal and environmentally-friendly life.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23, I visited the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore with my 1-year-old son, Gabriel. Admission was free that day since the museum was participating in Free Fall Baltimore. Getting to the museum was pretty straightforward, and they had free on-site parking, which was a plus.
Our first stop once we arrived at the museum was the Exhibition Gallery. Here, we saw models of various trains with descriptions about their parts and their history. Our next stop was the Roundhouse, which was a very large circular room that featured real trains from bygone eras that you could inspect up close and touch. Next, we ventured out into the Outdoor Train Garden, which featured miniature trains that went around a track, several types of kiddie rides (including a merry-go-round), a small playground, and tables where people could sit and eat. Finally, we wandered back into the Roundhouse and checked out the Choo Choo Blue Kids Zone, which included a reading area, a station for drawing and coloring, an area with wooden train tracks and other toys, and a real (stationary) train for kids and their adults to tour and touch. The B&O Railroad Museum also features train rides to other areas of the museum and to the Mt. Clare Museum House, but we weren’t able to take advantage of them during this visit.
We had a great time! Gabriel was still a bit too young to fully appreciate the various train displays; he was more interested in toddling around and picking up stuff off the floor. However, he did especially enjoy the Choo Choo Blue Kids Zone, which contained items that were more appropriate for toddlers and early elementary school aged children. I would say that the B&O Railroad Museum is definitely more kid-friendly than most; there is plenty of open space for children to run around and blow off steam, they are provided many opportunities for hands-on discovering, and noisiness is not discouraged. At the same time, there is enough history in the museum for it to be interesting to adults too. I was especially fascinated when I toured the stationary train; one area of the train featured a recorded description of its history of segregation of white and African-American passengers. It was humbling to look out upon the rows of seats and to imagine the kinds of events that took place there.
Overall, I would say that this is a great museum for kids and adults alike! The admission fee ($16 for adults, $14 for seniors ages 60+, and $10 for children ages 2-12) seems a bit steep to me, but if you can get in for free, it really is a great place to spend a couple of hours with your family. I hope to come back next year if they participate in Free Fall Baltimore again!
October’s blog theme is Children and Museums.