In 1814, when the British Navy sailed up the Potomac to set Washington DC alight, they didn’t pass far from the site where the Calvert Marine Museum sits today. While that was one of the Chesapeake Bay’s more dramatic historical events, the entire maritime heritage of the region is on display at this family friendly museum. Here in the riverfront town of Solomons, visitors can learn the about coastal species such as skates, otters, and rays, or watch as coastal paleontologists help to clean and classify fossils. Take a walk through the “living classroom” at the museum’s coastal salt marsh, where children can learn about the marine ecosystem and everything that helps it to thrive. Crafters can stop in the wood carving shop to see exquisitely intricate boat models, or sailors can tour the Patuxent Small Craft Center with its collection of classic boats. The exhibits and fossils aside, however, the main draw of the Calvert Marine Museum is the historic Drum Point Lighthouse—a screwpile, cottage-type lighthouse that’s one of only three remaining in all the United States. Constructed in 1885 in a unique, hexagonal style, the lighthouse was moved in 1975 to the Calvert Marine Museum, and is now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The Calvert Marine Museum is open daily from 10am-5pm, with the exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s when the museum is closed for the day. Admission is $9 for adults, $4 for children, and children under 5 are free.