Top Places For

Getting Your Hands Wet and Muddy

Wet, muddy hands might spell trouble in some places, but on the Chesapeake Bay they mean one thing: a sign of a great day!

The Chesapeake comes alive at exciting places like Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, and the Virginia Living Museum. Through hands-on activities like fishing, crabbing, paddling, and shoreline exploration, kids of all ages can immerse themselves in nature while making lasting memories and having lots of fun.

At these parks, museums, and preserves, you won’t just see the environment, you’ll feel it in your wet, muddy hands.

Try to catch a feisty blue crab from the dock at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, where helpful staff will teach you how to get started. You’ll quickly learn why locals call this popular Chesapeake activity “chicken necking”! If fish are more your fancy, bring your little ones to Marshy Point Park for an afternoon of fishing fun.

Take a family-friendly adventure along the edge of the Bay in Baltimore, Annapolis, or on the Eastern Shore. Pick up a net and seine for fish in the shallows, or search for shells and tiny crabs in the sand and the marsh.

Plunge your hands into a touch tank and feel the Bay’s creatures under your fingertips at education centers in Maryland and Virginia. At the National Aquarium in Baltimore, you can touch the Mid-Atlantic’s native whelks, horseshoe crabs, stingrays -- even a jellyfish!

Want to get out on the water? Grab a paddle and follow your guide in a canoe down the Rhode River at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Or hop in a kayak with the Sultana Education Foundation and explore nature on the Chester River.

Getting a little dirty makes learning extra fun for you and your family at the top places for getting your hands wet and muddy.

Annapolis Maritime Museum

Annapolis Maritime Museum

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving and commemorating the maritime heritage of Annapolis and the neighboring waters of the Chesapeake Bay and features rotating exhibits celebrating the area's unique maritime heritage.

Annapolis, MD

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center is a 500 acre preserve located 15 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Maryland's Eastern Shore. With a variety of habitats, the Center is an excellent place to see the Chesapeake's wintering assortment of waterfowl.

Grasonville, MD

A marsh at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, located near the mid-point of the Patuxent River, represents an important network of critical habitats of regional and national importance.

Lothian, MD

Marshy Point Park

Marshy Point Park

The shores of Dundee and Saltpeter Creeks, over three thousand acres, are the largest area of natural wetlands and forest available for public study and enjoyment in the Baltimore area.

Baltimore, MD

National Aquarium in Baltimore

National Aquarium in Baltimore

The National Aquarium in Baltimore in Baltimore is one of the world's leading aquatic facilities, home to more than 20,000 specimens and 560 species of animals.

Baltimore, MD

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

The Research Center has over 3,000+ acres of wildlife conservation area along 14 miles of pristine shoreline, two trails (open to everyone), and programs for the public ranging from walks and talks to canoe tours.

Edgewater, MD

Schooner Sultana

Schooner Sultana

This traditional 18th century ship, based out of Chestertown, Maryland, sails the Bay providing hands-on education in the history and natural environment of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

Chestertown, MD

Exhibit at Virginia Living Museum

Virginia Living Museum

See animals native to Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay swim, slither, roam and fly in the all-new, three times larger Virginia Living Museum.

Newport News, VA

July 31, 2017

Main image: Inspecting the contents of a dip net along one of the Chesapeake's many wetland areas.
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