American Visionary Art Museum

The American Visionary Art Museum, located at the base of historic Federal Hill in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is one of the most unique art museums in the country. You won’t find anything boring or stuffy here. The museum features artworks by contemporary and historic self-taught artists. What makes their work interesting is that it breaks all the rules and arises from an intense personal vision. You’ll find everything here from art made from junkyard scraps to the most intricate and time-intensive models and sculptures, many taking decades to create.  The artists - many of them street people, hermits, housewives, and blue collar workers -  may not even think of their work as “art,” but what they’ve produced are some of the most fascinating and beautiful artworks you’ll ever come across.

Address:
800 Key Highway, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-244-1900

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Attractions

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor features a variety of entertainments to suit every soul.

For kids, there’s Port Discovery Children’s Museum, voted one of the Top 5 Children’s Museums in the US.  Port Discovery is no stuffy, please-be-quiet type of place: It’s an interactive play zone where imagination reigns. Exhibits have included everything from interactive robots to a trip through Alice in Wonderland’s surreal world.

Children will also enjoy the Maryland Science Center, an interactive museum devoted to teaching kids all about science in a way they’ll never forget. Here they can dig for dinosaurs, explore the cool (and sometimes gross) things the human body does, and take a trip to outer space via 3D satellite views of Earth from space.

There’s also the Baltimore Aquarium, a state-of-the-art aquarium featuring creatures from sharks to dolphins to exotic fish from all over the world. The top floor is a rainforest where visitors walk among real rainforest fauna and flora.

For those with an interest in history, the Inner Harbor offers tours of a real out-of-commission Civil War vessel, the USS Constellation.

A quick ferry ride across the harbor lands you at Fort McHenry, the site that was under heavy bombardment by British ships and inspired Francis Scott Key to write our nation’s anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

Another ferry ride takes you to Fells Point, a quaint community of cobblestone streets, antique stores, old-fashioned pubs, and hip retailers.

Among other must-see destinations are The Walters Art Gallery, a museum featuring historic art - from ancient mummies to medieval sculptures - and The Visionary Art Museum, a modern museum devoted to self-taught artists and so-called “outsider” art. There’s also the Baltimore Museum of Art, featuring 19th century, modern and contemporary art and the famous Cone Collection of Post-Impressionist and modern art.

Kids and adults alike will love the newly-revamped Maryland Zoo, where they can visit the new Polar Bear habitat, see the brand-new baby elephant Samson, and wander among habitats containing more than 2,000 animals from all over the world.

On any given weekend, there’s always something to do in Baltimore.

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