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Maryland Science Center
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrConsidered as Maryland’s oldest scientific institution and one of the oldest in the Unites States, the Maryland Science Center, was inaugurated in 1797. It was first an amateur scientific society where members, among which were the sons of painter and scientist, Rembrandt and Peale , met to exchange knowledge on papers on astronomy, botany, zoology, and other topics pertaining to natural sciences.
HistoryIn the beginnings, it functioned in a very informal way by having meetings held in the small museum. By 1826, the organization changed its name to The Maryland Academy of Science and Literature just to spend the next 40 years having less frequent meetings. Tragically, a fire destroyed most of the museum’s property from that period.
In 1897, the organization took its present name as The Maryland Academy of Sciences, with new quarters also being opened, years later. And with Members of the Academy being issued from some of Baltimore’s most distinguished families, it had some very promising years ahead of it.
With expansions in science and technologies in the 20th century, the academy then adopted the role of interpreter of science and technology to the public, a decision strongly influenced by Herbert A. Wagner, the long-time president of the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company and chairman of the board of trustees and President of the academy. An observatory and a weekly lecture series were added, and membership substantially expanded.
Near the end of World War II, the MSC was moved to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Interactive exhibits combined with the state-of-the-art Davis Planetarium opened to the public in June 1976. The addition of a new atrium lobby in 1986, and the very successful IMAX Theater in 1987, increased annual attendances considerably.
In May of 2004 the entire complex was renovated. Some new collections were added on all levels as well as a permanent hall displaying dinosaurs and Earth sciences, and a gallery for showcasing all temporary exhibitions. 3D film technology was added to the IMAX theater, and other renovations improvements to the building gave it an updated look and also improved visitors' experience overall.
The Maryland Science Center still carries its reputation as a vital community resource and a source of economic development for now and for the years to come.
ExhibitsWhen you visit the Maryland Science Center, you’ll be pleased to realize that there are about 12 exhibits or themes of exhibition, varying from prehistoric life, a kid’s room, many laboratories or exhibits dealing with the human body. It concerns overall Earth and human sciences. Among the many exhibits you’ll find the following:
The Human Cell Exhibits or CellsWhere you’ll be invited to travel into your own body to see the different cells that make up your heart, brain, and bones. You’ll learn things about the trillions of cells that are communicating with each other every moment of our lives. The exhibit’s highlights comprise a trip inside a virtual cell, the walk through a giant maze to get an insight on how proteins are made, and a visit to your own brain, heart, and the cells in your muscles.
The Dinosaur MysteriesWhere you are invited to walk in the shoes of an actual paleontologist. You’ll be surrounded by a dozen of full-size dinosaurs in the exhibit hall, and will be walking under, over, and through a landscape filled with dig pits, a field lab, excavation sites, and other areas of discovery. This exhibit is highlighted by a dozen of full-sized dinosaurs, filed lab, dig pits, and live lizards (you’ll also get the opportunity to meet mister T.Rex face to face).
Follow the Blue CrabThe Blue Crab is one of the region’s most important residents. The highlights of the exhibits are on a giant size mechanical Blue Crab on display, some live terrapins, crabs, and native fish, and lastly a walk-on satellite imagery of the ecosystem.
A Kid’s RoomWhere special kids, aged 1 (or younger) to 8 years old, are invited to send boats down the river channel in water play, operate the fish cam in the submarine, dress-up like a turtle, and send messages through a pneumatic tube on the ceiling. This exhibit’s main highlights are the large water play area, the undersea world, and the pneumatic messaging system and giant pin-screen. Buttons to push, knobs to turn, and blocks for building.
The Life Beyond Earth ExhibitWhere the existence of other universes and living beings outside of our planet are discussed. You’ll have the opportunity to explore new discoveries of extreme life on Earth and how they suggest where life might exist on planets and moons in our solar system. You’ll also discover more about planets outside our solar system, including worlds like Earth. The exhibit’s highlights are the participation in state-of-the-art surface table activities and looking at extremophiles, and the planetarium.
The ScilabIt’s a real laboratory environment where visitors become scientists, wearing lab coats and safety goggles and conducting experiments at stations throughout the lab. This exhibit's highlights are the test tubes, the pipettes, microscopes, the different experiment stations, chemical reactions, and the DNA extractions.
RestaurantsYou’ll mostly find restaurants serving exotic foods, seafood, and traditional Italian specialties in the area. These restaurants (near the site), are quite expensive but are worth a try. Some of the most memorable restaurants in the area are the seafood specialty the Rusty Scupper Restaurant and Bar, where they serve delicious seafood in a beautiful waterfront setting. Also try the Da Mimmo Italian Restaurant for its diverse cuisine from all over Italy (although rumored to be overpriced) or the La Tavola for its homemade pasta and excellent list of wines. Also try the Blue Agave Restaurant which serves Mexican food and hosts a tequila bar, a place rumored to serve the best Mexican food in the city. If you are into exotic foods, try the Thai Arroy, a Thai food specialty.
Visiting Time and FeesThe center is closed on Mondays.
From Tuesday to Friday it opens from 10 AM to 5 PM.
On Saturdays it opens from 10 AM to 6 PM.
On Sundays the center is opened from 11 AM to 5 PM.
For access to exhibit halls, the planetarium, and the demo stage:
- Adults pay $ 19 USD
- Children of 3 to 12 years $ 16 USD
- Seniors pay $ 18 USD
- Members (with members’ cards) pay no fee.
For access to exhibit halls, planetarium, the demo stage, and one classic IMAX film:
- Adults pay $ 23 USD .
- Children of 3 to 12 years $ 20 USD .
- Seniors pay $ 22 USD .
- All members pay a $ 4.00 USD fee.
For those who only wish access to the IMAX evening admission, they’ll pay an $ 8.00 USD fee no matter how old they are. Members pay a $ 4.00 USD fee.
How to Get There
By CarThe Maryland Science Center is conveniently located at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. It is accessible from the I-95 and I-295 from the south, and the I-95 and I-83 from the north, and the I-70 to the west.
By TrainThe Light Rail train and MARC trains stop at Camden Yards which are four blocks away from the Science Center.
Nice to KnowYou can order tickets to the site by phone during regular business hours. If you come in groups of 15 or more, you qualify for group rates, but you will have to purchase your tickets in advance.
For school groups, it is advised to visit the center’s Field Trip Planner for information and pricing. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted as well as cash purchases. But there are strictly no refunds or exchanges for your unused tickets.
Lastly, the SciLab experiments are for 3rd graders and up and are offered on an ongoing first-come, first-served basis, lasting 10-15 minutes apiece.
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Author: Comasco. Last updated: Dec 03, 2014