Cliffs & Fossils on Maryland Shores

Cliffs & Fossils on Maryland Shores

Confession time again: I secretly love going on my kids’ field trips. I have seen a bunch of places that way that I would not normally have even considered visiting, and I’ve been able to see things in a different way as a field trip chaperone instead of a tourist.

We went to Calvert County MD a while back. It’s not that far from us as the crow flies, but to drive there takes a lot longer because it’s across the Chesapeake Bay. We visited two places there. The first was the beach at Calvert Cliffs State Park:

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It is a sandy quarter mile stretch located on the Chesapeake Bay, and a 1.8 mile trail will lead you directly to it. The kids were encouraged to look for fossils, which are frequently found there. We combed the beach for a while and failed to find a fossil, but some of the children on the trip did.

After our beachcombing expedition, we visited the Calvert Marine Museum, about a ten minute drive away. This was part science center, part museum, and part zoo – a little bit of everything! In the foyer as you enter the building, there is a large tank of skates and rays swimming around. Most of them were zipping through the water kind of fast but I did manage to get a picture of this Atlantic Ray.

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Supervised touching of the skates and rays was permitted, which the kids thought was really cool.

The other big animal exhibit there was a collection of river otters. If you’ve ever seen otters in person, you know they are a joy to watch. They always look like they’re having fun, and you can’t help but smile as you watch them glide through the water. We could barely tear ourselves away from the otter area when it was time to move on.

A Marsh Walk area outside teaches about the local ecosystem and the animals that live in the tidal marshes.

Inside the building, there are some engaging displays about other animals that live in the area, and a sizable paleontology exhibit. The highlight of the fossil area was the replica megalodon skeleton:

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If he were alive today, he would make a great white shark look like a minnow. Several fossilized megalodon teeth have been found in the area of the museum.

The museum is also the home of the Drum Point Lighthouse, one of only three surviving Chesapeake Bay screw-pile lighthouses. Admission to the lighthouse is included in your museum admission.

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Decommissioned in 1962, the lighthouse fell victim to vandals until it was moved to its present site in 1975. Beautifully restored, complete with furnishings of the early twentieth century, it has become the waterfront’s main attraction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The employees at the Calvert Marine Museum were exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly, and the site itself is lovely. I would highly recommend a visit there if you’re in the area!

Calvert Cliffs State Park is located at 10540 H. G. Trueman Road in Lusby, Maryland. Telephone 301-743-7613.  The park is open from sunrise to sunset.  Pets are permitted. Daily use service charge is $5 per vehicle and must be paid in cash.

The Calvert Marine Museum is located at 14200 Solomons Island Road, Solomons, MD 20688. Telephone 410-326-2042.  It is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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