It’s time to escape the city and get back on the water at Calvert Marine Museum. Kids will love the megalodon model and otters who call this museum home. If you haven’t been yet, it’s time to book a day trip from D.C. and head over.
In our effort to highlight all of the best museums in Maryland, we spoke with Anjelica Eitel, Communications & Marketing Coordinator at the Calvert Marine Museum to share what makes this museum special, why you should visit, and what you need to know before you go.
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Where is the museum located?
- Address: Calvert Marine Museum, 14200 Solomons Island Road, P.O. Box 97, Solomons, MD 20688 (In Solomons, Maryland, at the southernmost point of Calvert County)
What topics does the museum cover?
At the Calvert Marine Museum, pre-history, natural history and maritime heritage come together to tell a unique story of the Chesapeake Bay.
This is a family-friendly museum that offers live animals, fossils, interactive exhibits, daily activities, and a furnished cottage-style lighthouse – something for every age.
What is your museum’s claim to fame?
Most visitors know the museum for its full-size megalodon model, friendly North American River Otters, and the Drum Point Lighthouse.
A second lighthouse, Cove Point Lighthouse, and its Keeper’s House are owned by the museum, and the Keeper’s House is available as a vacation rental for those who are looking to get away and enjoy the quiet of a historic lighthouse and private beach for fossil hunting.
The museum has also hosted a summer concert series for the past 35 years that serves as its largest fundraiser.
What is your favorite exhibit or artifact in the museum?
The three exhibits listed above are easily top favorites!
What kinds of special exhibits and events do you host throughout the year?
The museum’s mezzanine level hosts a featured exhibit that changes about once a year. Last year, we showcased work from photographer Jay Fleming, and this year’s exhibit is titled, “Waterside Music Series: The Sounds of Solomons” and celebrates the concert series that our local community has helped to grow.
The museum also hosts a variety of popular annual events, like the Solomons Maritime Festival, Patuxent River Appreciation Day, SharkFest, OtterMania, and Pirate Day. Some events are partnerships between local community groups, like Special Needs Night and the Solomons Christmas Walk.
Are there guided tours available?
Daily guided tours are available of the Drum Point Lighthouse.
For more information about registering for group tours throughout the museum, guests can contact Melissa McCormick at 410-326-2042 ext. 41 or [email protected].
How much time should someone plan to spend at Calvert Marine museum?
An average visit is about two hours, however it is not uncommon for guests to spend extra time exploring exhibits, participating in activities, or cruising on one of the museum’s historic vessels.
On the other hand, since museum members receive complimentary admission year-round, sometimes we see families with young children pop in for several short visits throughout the week.
What should someone bring with them and what items are not allowed in the museum?
Guests should bring a curious spirit to the museum! CMM is unique in that we share three unique stories of the Chesapeake Bay, through pre-history, natural history, and maritime history. There’s always something new to explore and learn!
As mentioned above, the only animals (other than the ones who live here) that are allowed in the buildings are certified service animals. Open food and drink containers are not permitted past the lobby.
Is photography allowed inside (without flash)?
Yes! We love to see guests sharing photos of their museum experience with others.
What should parents of young children know before visiting the museum?
Our Discovery Room is a favorite for our youngest visitors. Because our Discovery Room is such a high-touch environment, we will most likely be moving some of the activities and ways for guests to engage into a larger space (our Harms Gallery and lobby) to allow for more social distancing upon reopening.
The museum also hosts storytime and craft activities every week for Sea Squirts (ages 18 months – 3 years) and Little Minnows (ages 3 – 5 years). This is another activity that will move to a larger area and provide “sit spots” to help remind our littlest guests to leave plenty of space between them and fellow storytime attendees.
What’s the coolest item for sale in the gift shop?
It’s hard to pick just one! Our custom t-shirts and sweatshirts are always popular. We also sell a line of coasters and mugs that feature original shark tooth and fossil artwork from the museum’s Curator of Paleontology, Dr. Stephen Godfrey.
The Museum Store also hosts several fun events throughout the year, like an annual Jewelry Trunk Show, Museum Store Sunday, and 20% off all merchandise on the 20th of each month for museum members.
Is there a museum cafe or restaurant?
We have vending machines on site, but there are quite a few local restaurants on Solomons Island that we love recommending to guests!
What should teachers planning a field trip know before reaching out to you?
With so many different areas of study within the museum’s three themes, it’s easy for teachers to work with the CMM Education Team to develop a program that fits with their school’s curriculum.
We have been working diligently to develop new digital programming that can support a distance learning format.
If teachers have suggestions, questions, or specific needs due to the current situation surrounding COVID-19, they are encouraged to contact Rachelle Green at 410-326-2042 ext. 32 or [email protected].
What else should a visitor know before visiting?
Guests can visit the Cove Point Lighthouse and Lore Oyster House properties seasonally for free. Calling before visiting either of these sites is highly recommended.
What are your normal days and hours of operation?
Normally, the museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. We close at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve and are open to members only on New Year’s Eve before closing at 12:30 p.m.
Is the museum accessible?
The Exhibition Building (main building) provides ramps, an elevator, and accessible restroom. Certified service animals are allowed in the building, as well.
Does the museum have a bag check or coat room?
The museum has a coat rack in the lobby that is available for guest use.
Is there parking available?
Yes, free parking is available in the museum’s parking lot.
Is there an admission fee?
- Adults – $9
- Senior Citizens (55 and older) – $7
- Children Ages 5-12 – $4
- Military, AAA, or AARP – $7
- Children Under 5 – Free
- CMMS Members – Free
- Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.