Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and nothing beats a hearty helping of eggs and bacon to start the day. Baltimore is packed with a variety of fantastic spots to break the fast, from greasy spoons to gourmet bistros serving hot and hearty fare and freshly brewed coffee. From sticky cinnamon rolls and Captain Crunch French Toast at the Blue Moon Café to morning cocktails and mimosas at Alexander’s Tavern or dried fruit and cream and Pullman toast at the rustic Artifact Coffee – when it comes to tucking into a hearty breakfast, Baltimore has a special spot for everyone. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.B&O American Brasserie
© B&O American Brasserie
Based in the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the B&O American Brasserie is a chic, upscale restaurant that serves innovative, seasonal small plates and New American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is a hearty affair at the B&O American Brasserie and sees dishes prepared by award-winning chefs using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients, including Belgian waffles and buttermilk pancakes, steel-cut oats and yogurt parfaits, sunrise wraps and three-egg omelets. Sip on fresh fruit juices, coconut water or freshly brewed coffee, espresso, latte, or imported teas in a casual yet elegant environment.
2 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201, Phone: 443-692-6172
2.Breakfast in Baltimore: Miss Shirley's Cafe
© Miss Shirley's Cafe
Established in 2005 by Eddie Dopkin as a tribute to his personal friend, Miss Shirley McDowell, Miss Shirley’s Café offers an exceptional award-winning culinary experience for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients from the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, Miss Shirley’s Café serves an innovative menu of healthy cuisine created by Corporate Executive Chef Brigitte Bledsoe and her culinary team. Delicious breakfast dishes include breakfast banana splits, apple cranberry pie oatmeal, farmer’s market skinny quiche, three-egg omelets, pancakes, waffles, French toast and freshly brewed coffee and imported teas.
513 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21210, Phone: 410-889-5272
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3.Brunch in Baltimore: Alexander's Tavern
© Alexander's Tavern
Alexander’s Tavern is a friendly neighborhood bar and restaurant located in historic Fells Point that is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week. Exuding a warm and welcoming atmosphere and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the restaurant offers a brunch menu with classics such as breakfast burritos and bowls, omelets and steak and eggs, waffles, pancakes, and breakfast nachos, as well as unique dishes such as sunrise pizzas, eggs Benedicts, and egg sandwiches. Alexander’s Tavern also serves morning cocktails and mimosas, for those who need more than a caffeine kick, along with freshly brewed coffee, tea, and other hot beverages.
710 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: 410-522-0000
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4.Brunch in Baltimore: Maggie's Farm
© Maggie's Farm
Maggie’s Farm is an intimate bar and restaurant on Hartford Road in Baltimore that serves globally-inspired cuisine and cocktails. Helmed by Chef Matthew Heaton, the restaurant is open for brunch on the weekends and dinner during the week with a creative menu that is served in a casual, laidback environment. The delicious brunch menu includes brunch burgers, chicken sandwiches, breakfast platters of eggs, bacon and biscuits, chilaquiles, fried eggs, fried chicken and buttermilk waffles, and vegetable hash browns. Maggie’s Farm can be rented for private functions and offers an exceptional catering menu of fresh, healthy cuisine.
4341 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214, Phone: 410-254-2376
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5.Breakfast in Baltimore: Artifact Coffee
© Artifact Coffee
Artifact Coffee is a rustic coffeehouse based in a reclaimed factory building that serves locally sourced and seasonal light bites for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner. Located in the restored Union Mills complex across the light rail tracks from Woodberry, the casual stop-in for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner serves a variety of creative and innovative menus. The Morning Kitchen menu features a smorgasbord of breakfast options, such as steel-cut oatmeal with candied pecans and fruit cups, egg sandwiches, grilled cornbread, dried fruit and cream and Pullman toast, toasted English muffins, and split biscuits with Five Seeds honey and homemade jam. Orders are taken at the counter and service is quick and friendly. Artifact Coffee is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner.
1500 Union Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211, Phone: 410-235-1881
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6.Baltimore Brunch: Blue Moon Cafe
© Blue Moon Cafe
Renowned for serving the most imaginative breakfast in town, the Blue Moon Café is the place to go for an exceptional morning meal. Tucked away in the charming Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, the lively and welcoming little restaurant serves a creative menu of morning fares such as golden hash browns, crispy bacon, huevos rancheros, scrambled eggs, traditional potato cakes, various Benedicts including vegan options, pancakes, and French toast. Don’t miss the cinnamon rolls, which are massive, warm, soft, and coated with a sweet frosting, or the famous Captain Crunch French Toast. Blue Moon Café is open for breakfast and brunch, seven days a week.
1621 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: 410-522-3940
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7.Baltimore Breakfast: Corner Pantry
© Corner Pantry
The Corner Pantry is a relaxed, contemporary restaurant that serves a menu of locally sourced, modern British cuisine. Located in Lake Falls Village, just north of the Mount Washington, the British-inspired Corner Pantry offers high-quality, locally sourced cuisine in a casual setting and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and also offers grab-and-go fare. Breakfast is served Monday through Friday and features classic dishes such as avocado toast, croque madame, three-egg omelets, pancakes, egg soldiers, scrambled eggs, and quinoa bowls. Healthy options include yoghurt parfaits, smoothies, acacia bowls, and fresh fruit and are accompanied by fresh fruit juices, hot coffee, and imported teas.
6080 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21212, Phone: 667-308-2331
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8.Baltimore Brunch: Dooby's
Dooby’s is a Korean-inspired café in Mount Vernon that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual, relaxed setting. The restaurant serves breakfast every day until 11:00am and features classic and unusual dishes such as granola and yogurt, omelets, hash browns, chorizo burritos, steak and egg sandwiches, sausage and egg sandwiches, and spicy egg and cheese sandwiches. Brunch specials include challah French toast, pork belly eggs Benedict, and brunch burgers with fries. Seasonal pastries are baked fresh every morning, including muffins, banana nut bread, scones and jam, honey oat granola bars, and there is plenty of freshly brewed coffee and tea.
802 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201, Phone: 410-609-3162
9.Baltimore Breakfast: Iron Rooster
© Iron Rooster
The Iron Rooster is a made-from-scratch, country kitchen and restaurant that serves an all-day breakfast of traditional and classic dishes in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week, the Iron Rooster serves a breakfast menu that features latkes and eggs, breakfast nachos, yogurt parfait, house-made ‘roost,’ a variety of Benedict dishes, spiked corn beef, mac and cheese, pancakes, waffles, and French toast. In addition to delicious fare, friendly service, and legendary hospitality, the Iron Rooster has several locations around the country with two stores in Baltimore.
3721 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21224, Phone: 410-762-2100
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10.Baltimore Brunch: Jimmy's Mediterranean Grill
© Jimmy's Mediterranean Grill
Jimmy's Mediterranean Grill is a well-established neighborhood diner that serves creative menus of American and Turkish fare. A mainstay near the city's waterfront on South Broadway, Jimmy's Mediterranean Grill serves breakfast and lunch daily with creative breakfast and brunch menus featuring platters of eggs and grits, French toast, pancakes, waffles, hot breakfast sandwiches, omelets, and specialties such as creamed chipped beef, breakfast bowls, and steak and eggs. Beverages include hot coffee and tea, hot chocolate, iced tea, fruit juices, and soft drinks.
801 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: 410-327-3273
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11.Baltimore Breakfast: Apropoe's
One of the top dining destinations in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood, Apropoe's provides a fresh take on American comfort food in a stylish setting inspired by legendary figures such as Babe Ruth and Edgar Allan Poe. The restaurant serves modern American cuisine prepared with locally sourced sustainable ingredients and put together by award-winning chefs and includes healthy, gluten-free, and vegan options. Breakfast can be enjoyed from the buffet or the a la carte menu, which feature classics such as eggs Benedict, omelets, bagels, frittatas, French toast, pancakes, waffles, and oatmeal along with fresh fruit juices, freshly brewed coffee, tea, and other hot beverages.
700 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, Phone: 410-895-1879
12.Baltimore Breakfast: Pete’s Grille
© Pete’s Grille
Pete’s Grille is a casual counter-serve eatery on Greenmount Avenue that serves breakfast and lunch in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Renowned for their large portions of hearty all-American fare, Pete’s Grille serves a variety of dishes for breakfast that include omelets and fried eggs, breakfast sandwiches, egg and meat platters, French toast, hot cakes, Belgian waffles, and specials such as creamed chipped beef with home fries and sausage gravy and biscuits with home fries. Hot beverages include freshly brewed coffee and tea, hot chocolate, fruit juices, and milkshakes.
3130 Greenmount Ave, Baltimore, MD 21218, Phone: 410-467-7698
13.Breakfast Near Me: Saturday Morning Cafe
© Saturday Morning Cafe
Located in the Heart of Downtown on 111 Water Street within walking distance from the Inner Harbor, Saturday Morning Café serves a selection of seasonal delicacies and dishes for breakfast and lunch. The veteran-owned and operated restaurant specializes in Southern Scratch Alabama cooking, using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients and products, which are transformed into hearty dishes that are prepared and created to order. The breakfast menu features freshly baked pastries and cakes, scones and muffins, French toast, bagels with various toppings pancakes, waffles, and egg dishes, along with home roasted and brewed coffee, imported teas, fresh fruit juices, and milkshakes. Saturday Morning Café is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.
111 Water Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, Phone: 410-528-7789
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14.Breakfast Near Me: Simply Marie's
© Simply Marie's
Set on Elliott Street in Baltimore, Simply Marie's is a full-service restaurant offering delicious homestyle cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Boasting more than 25 years of culinary experience, Simply Marie's team of chefs and cooks use only the finest and freshest ingredients to produce wholesome, hearty, and healthy fare. Home-cooked breakfasts include chicken and waffles, breakfast platters stacked with eggs, bacon, and grits, French toast, steak, and cream-chipped beef, all of which are accompanied by hot fries and freshly brewed coffee and tea. Conveniently located a block off the main Canton Square and close to many local entertainment hot spots, Simply Marie's promises a delicious and mouthwatering breakfast experience.
3023 Elliott Street Baltimore, MD 21224-5081, Phone: 410-342-0822
15.Breakfast Near Me: Sip & Bite
© Sip & Bite
Established in 1948 by Greek-born George Vasiliades, Sip & Bite became a household name for traditional homemade cuisine served in a family-friendly and inviting atmosphere. Today, the neighborhood diner still provides the same friendly service and outstanding cuisine with homemade specials, traditional Greek dishes, and hearty all-day breakfasts. Managed by the original owner George's son Antonios (Tony), the menu features an array of wholesome foods that are prepared fresh daily and served with a smile. Around-the-clock breakfasts include omelets, eggs and bacon, homemade granola and fruit, and breakfast sandwiches and wraps as well as specialty egg dishes, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and more. Sip & Bite is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
2200 Boston Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: 410-675 7077
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16.Breakfast Near Me: Slainte
Located at 1700 Thames Street in Historic Fells Point waterfront neighborhood, Sláinte is a traditional Irish Pub that serves gourmet cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week. Renowned for being the best bar to watch a soccer game in Baltimore, Sláinte boasts a friendly and inviting atmosphere where visitors can enjoy hearty fare and beverages while watching their favorite sports team. Breakfast is served daily from Monday through Sunday and includes traditional dishes such as eggs Benedict, omelets, bacon and grits, waffles, pancakes, and French toast along with specialties such as Scotch eggs, mac-n-cheese, and corned hash beef. The food is accompanied by freshly brewed coffee or signature breakfast drinks, such as bottomless Bloody Marys, screwdrivers, and mimosas.
Historic Fells Point, 1700 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: 410-563-6600
17.Breakfast Places Near Me: Southside Diner
© Southside Diner
The Southside Diner is a casual, friendly neighborhood eatery located in the Southside Market Place Shopping Center in Locust Point that serves freshly prepared classic diner fare and specialty Greek dishes. Owned and operated by Greek brothers Nick and Steve, the Southside Diner is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week, with creative menus of hearty and healthy fare. Breakfast dishes range from eggs and bacon, omelets, egg and meat platters, bagels, French toast, pancakes, and waffles to specialty dishes such as chipped beef on toast, hot cakes, oatmeal and toast, and blueberry muffins. Breakfast is served with piping hot freshly brewed coffee and tea or a variety of fruit juices and soft drinks.
893 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230, Phone: 410-727-7067
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18.Brunch Near Me: Spoons Coffee Roasters and Cafe
© Spoons Coffee Roasters and Cafe
Open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week, Spoons Coffee Roasters and Café is a friendly neighborhood café that serves a menu of traditional and healthy fare for breakfast and lunch in a warm and welcoming ambiance. Hailed as having the “best biscuits in Maryland,” Spoons offers freshly baked biscuits, muffins, scones, and pastries every morning for breakfast and brunch as well as omelets, breakfast sandwiches, burgers, huevos verdes, fried oysters and grits, and buttermilk pancakes. Also on the menu are waffles, cinnamon roll pancakes, and deep-fried stuffed French toast, along with freshly brewed coffee, tea, and other hot beverages.
24 E. Cross Street Baltimore MD, 21230, Phone: 410-539-8395
19.Breakfast Places Near Me: Teavolve Cafe & Lounge
© Teavolve Cafe & Lounge
Located in the Harbor East section of Baltimore, Teavolve Café & Lounge is a lively neighborhood café that serves over 30 varieties of loose leaf teas and a range of coffee and coffee-based beverages using locally roasted beans as well as house-made sangria and a selection of tasty light meals. Boasting a casual, laidback ambiance and contemporary décor, the quirky cafe serves a delightful menu of hearty and healthy fare such as breakfast sandwiches, omelets, eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles and buttermilk pancakes, French toast, fresh bagels with various toppings, and savory crepes.
1401 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: 410-522-1907
20.Brunch Places Near Me: The Food Market
© The Food Market
Located on W 36th Street in the heart of Hampden, The Food Market is a smartly designed industrial-modern space that focuses on simple, serious comfort food, providing an unparalleled dining experience. Headed up by award-winning Chef Chad Gauss, the restaurant presents value-driven menus for dinner during the week and for brunch over the weekends, focusing on serving sustainable cuisine produced from locally sourced and farm-fresh ingredients. Brunch menus feature delights such as Amish soft pretzels, French toast dippers, red quinoa oatmeal, fried oysters carbonara, avocado and smoked salmon toast, and blueberry pancakes.
1017 W 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211, Phone: 410-366-0606
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21.Breakfast Places Near Me: The PaperMoon Diner
© The PaperMoon Diner
The PaperMoon Diner is an eccentric, knick-knack laden eatery that that serves delicious vegetarian fare and all-day breakfasts, seven days a week. The quirky diner-style café offers a unique dining experience that can only be described as “comfort food with a twist” with menus that feature dishes like vegan nachos, meatloaf, crab quesadillas, homemade chili, and shrimp and grits. The café’s famous all-day breakfast boasts favorites such as French toast, potato cakes, eggs and fries, eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, breakfast sandwiches, and pancakes.
2905, 227 W 29th St, Baltimore, MD 21211, Phone: 410-889-4444
22.Brunch Near Me: Twist Fells Point
© Twist Fells Point
Twist Fells Point promises a dining experience like no other. Classic, intimate, and stylish, Twist takes diners on a nostalgic journey back in time with outstanding food and wine served in a refined and cozy atmosphere. One of the top restaurants in Fells Point, Twist serves American cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, with delicious, well-executed dishes prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients and served with grace and charm. Twist Fells Point is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with an all-day brunch on Saturdays and Sundays that promises to delight. Tuck into freshly baked scones, muffins, and pastries along with buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles, French toast stacked with bacon and maple syrup, and a variety of egg dishes. Diners can also sample the delectable fare from a la carte brunch menu and daily chef specials.
723 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231, Phone: 410-522-4000
23.Breakfast Places Near Me: Village Square Cafe
© Village Square Cafe
The Village Square Café is a laidback café with a large outdoor patio that serves hearty menus of creative cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located in the pretty Village of Cross Keys in Roland Park, the casual eatery and neighborhood gathering spot uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients and sustainable products to create delicious and healthy cuisine, which is served by friendly staff in a warm and welcoming setting. The Village Square Café breakfast menu features breakfast burritos and sandwiches, fresh bagels with a variety of toppings, eggs Benedict, omelets and scrambled eggs, buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles, French toast, and yogurt parfaits with fresh fruit.
66 Village Square, Baltimore, MD 21210, Phone: 410-433-2233
25 Best Breakfast & Weekend Brunch Spots in Baltimore
- B&O American Brasserie, Photo: B&O American Brasserie
- Breakfast in Baltimore: Miss Shirley's Cafe, Photo: Miss Shirley's Cafe
- Brunch in Baltimore: Alexander's Tavern, Photo: Alexander's Tavern
- Brunch in Baltimore: Maggie's Farm, Photo: Maggie's Farm
- Breakfast in Baltimore: Artifact Coffee, Photo: Artifact Coffee
- Baltimore Brunch: Blue Moon Cafe, Photo: Blue Moon Cafe
- Baltimore Breakfast: Corner Pantry, Photo: Corner Pantry
- Baltimore Brunch: Dooby's, Photo: Dooby's
- Baltimore Breakfast: Iron Rooster, Photo: Iron Rooster
- Baltimore Brunch: Jimmy's Mediterranean Grill, Photo: Jimmy's Mediterranean Grill
- Baltimore Breakfast: Apropoe's, Photo: Apropoe's
- Baltimore Breakfast: Pete’s Grille, Photo: Pete’s Grille
- Breakfast Near Me: Saturday Morning Cafe, Photo: Saturday Morning Cafe
- Breakfast Near Me: Simply Marie's, Photo: Simply Marie's
- Breakfast Near Me: Sip & Bite, Photo: Sip & Bite
- Breakfast Near Me: Slainte, Photo: Slainte
- Breakfast Places Near Me: Southside Diner, Photo: Southside Diner
- Brunch Near Me: Spoons Coffee Roasters and Cafe, Photo: Spoons Coffee Roasters and Cafe
- Breakfast Places Near Me: Teavolve Cafe & Lounge, Photo: Teavolve Cafe & Lounge
- Brunch Places Near Me: The Food Market, Photo: The Food Market
- Breakfast Places Near Me: The PaperMoon Diner, Photo: The PaperMoon Diner
- Brunch Near Me: Twist Fells Point, Photo: Twist Fells Point
- Breakfast Places Near Me: Village Square Cafe, Photo: Village Square Cafe
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of alpegor - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens
The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens are located in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to the outdoor gardens, several buildings provide controlled environments for a variety of plant life from all over the world. The Victorian era Palm House exhibits towering palms and other tropical plants in the original glassed-in iron and wood conservatory built in 1888. The historical Palm House is the centerpiece of the gardens and is the second oldest building of its kind in the United States.
The Desert House recreates the extreme climate of the desert, where temperatures can range from 10°F overnight, to 125°F during the day. Plants on display include cacti, succulents, small shrubs such as yuccas, and Joshua trees. The Orchid Room features over 30,000 species of orchid and over 100,000 hybrids. The conservatory displays orchids during their blooming period, which creates a year-round exhibit of spectacular color. The Tropical House is a large enclosed greenhouse that replicates the tropical climate surrounding the equator. Plants on display are from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. The Mediterranean House mimics the dry summers and damp winters of Southern California and parts of the Mediterranean Basin. Rosemary, geranium, and bay trees are among the best-known plants in this collection.
Outdoor gardens include the Sundial Garden, the centerpiece of which is a sundial from 1890 gifted to the City of Baltimore by the Waltersville Granite Company. The sundial records the solar time (different from today’s clocks) of several worldwide cities, including Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, London, Calcutta, Cape Town, and Cape Cod. Over 30 outdoor flowerbeds span the 1.5 acre property.
The Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens opened in 1888 as the Druid Hill Conservatory, named for the area of Druid Park in which it is located. The glass conservatory was designed by George A. Frederick, the same architect who built Baltimore City Hall in 1867. Conservatories were first seen in the 16th century as a way for wealthy homeowners to cultivate citrus fruits during the winter months. They rose to popularity in the 19th century as a municipal feature and to showcase tropical plants, and also served as a venue for social events.
In 2002, the 114-year-old Palm House was closed for major renovations, and reopened in 2004 with the addition of the Tropical House, Desert House, and Mediterranean House as well as a new name. Howard Peters Rawlings, for whom the site is now named, was a former Maryland House of Appropriations chairperson. Known as “Pete,” Mr. Rawlings was the first African American politician to hold the powerful role in the Maryland legislature. The conservatory and gardens celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2013 with a variety of signature fundraising events. The conservatory is a Baltimore City Landmark and is listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties and the National Register of Historic Places.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Tours of the conservatory and gardens are self-guided. A cellphone tour is available for those interested in learning more about the history of the site and the plants on display. Docent-led tours are available for groups. In addition to tours, in-depth programming for adults includes lectures and workshops. Master Gardner Plant Clinics are among the most popular. Lectures are themed around gardening, the great conservatories, and architecture of the 19th century, and there are also author talks. Children’s programming includes a weekly Plants and People program, which offers hands-on exploration stations, science demonstrations, and a Sprouts program geared towards pre-school children. Seasonal events include the Druid Hill Farmer’s Market, a weekly market on site during the summer months, the Holiday Poinsettia display, and a springtime bulb show, which offers hyacinth, tulips, and daffodils for sale.
Past and Future Exhibits
The Emergence Art Series features Baltimore area artists. The second annual event will be held in October and includes an art exhibit and auction at the Greenhouse Gallery as well as an opening reception and fundraising dinner.
Druid Hill park, in which the conservatory is located, is a notable urban park founded in 1860, just 2 years after the creation of New York City’s famous Central Park. One of the oldest public parks in the United States, Druid Hill is home to some of Maryland’s oldest growth forests, Druid Hill Lake, and several historical structures. The park is a National Historic Landmark.
3100 Swann Dr, Baltimore, MD 21217, Phone: 410-396-0008
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Attraction Spotlight: Maryland Zoo
As one of the oldest zoos in America, the Maryland Zoo boasts 140 years in the community. Situated within Druild Hill Park in near central Baltimore, the zoo covers 135 acres. The Zoo's inhabitants represent nearly 200 species of animals, with everything that soars, swims and scurries.
Accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), the organization maintains the highest levels of care for the animals, as well as engages in conservation efforts. The Maryland Zoo delivers its mission to "inspire and educate people to join with it in the active support and conversation of wildlife and wild places," to 400,000 visitors each year.
The Zoo's long history begins in 1860, then the city of Baltimore purchased some 600 acres of land to be the future site of Druild Hill Park. In 1876, part of the land was dedicated to the public exhibition of a zoological collection, making Maryland Zoo the third oldest in the country. From the original collection of deer and sheep, the Zoo's inhabitants grew throughout the next several decades to include bears, geese, swans, foxes, monkeys, prairie wolves, wild cats, and many more. In 1925, the Zoo welcomed its first elephant, funded partly through the donations of pennies from local children.
The Zoo continued to grow through the twentieth century, adding the Giraffe House in 1966, the Kodiak Bear Exhibit in 1975, and the Lion Exhibit in the 1980s, just to name a few. By 2014, the Zoo was a major player not only in exhibitions, but conservancy as well, with the largest breeding colony of African penguins in North America. Actively involved in education as well, the Maryland Zoo offers programs and services to bring animal awareness to everyone. The Zoo expects to see continued growth and focus on conservation in the coming years, including more species survival plans, with a particular emphasis on elephants, penguins and gold frogs.
The Maryland Zoo is home to many animal exhibits that guests can explore during their visit. These include birds, mammals, reptiles, penguins, elephants and more. Interactive and engaging, these exhibits enable guests to view creatures in naturalistic habitats, learning about how these creatures interact in the wild. From feathery fliers to slimy swimmers, there is plenty to see and experience at the Maryland Zoo.
With one of the largest colonies in the Country, the Penguin Exhibit is a must see at the Maryland Zoo. Penguin Coast, the new African Penguin exhibit, creates a space that not only enables visitors to view these beautiful birds, but also provides the enhanced habitat for housing, breeding and penguin care. In addition to this new exhibit, the Zoo also offers Penguin Encounters shows. Offered twice daily, these up-close experiences include a tour of the exhibit with a keeper, photo opportunities and even animal interactions.
The Zoo's collection of mammals is extensive, from some of the smallest to the biggest animals to walk the Earth. The big cat collection includes leopards, cheetahs, and African lions. Other African animals include the Reticulated giraffe, southern white rhino, Nigerian dwarf goat, anglo Nubian goat, and the addragazelle. These represent just a few of the dozens of mammals found at the Zoo.
The Zoo is also home to many species of bird, from colorful toucans to black crowned cranes. This wide range includes carrion consuming black vultures, awe inspiring bald eagles, and beautifully balancing flamingos. The park's ponds are home to many species of water birds, including wood ducks, cattle egret and trumpeter swans.
If it has scales or a shell, if it slithers or slinks, if it hisses or snaps, it might be found in the Maryland Zoo's reptile collection. The Zoo's turtles include bog turtles, wood turtles, spotted turtles, and the common snapping turtle, not to mention the leopard and spur-thigh tortoise. Snakes include Indian python, mole kingsnake, timber rattlesnake, boa constrictors and many more. The Zoo's reptile collection even boasts an African slender-snouted crocodile.
The collection of amphibians at the Maryland Zoo boasts a well cultivated collection of fascinating specimens. The Panamanian Gold Frog, with its vibrant yellow and black skin was once prized as a good luck charm in pre-Columbian times. The African Bullfrogs, some of the largest frogs around, are part of the collection, and are used in the Zoo's Embassy program for education. Native to North America, the red spotted newt is an example of a native species at the park, featured in the Maryland Wilderness exhibit. Other amphibians include the eastern tiger salamander, eastern hellbender, and the much more benign sounding Mudpuppy, a large, north American salamander.
Since the Zoo's first elephant, Mary Anne, came to the zoo in the 1920s, the organization has had a special place for these animals. Heavily involved in preservation and conservation, the organization opened African Journey, an elephant facility in 1985. This was expanded in 2007 with plans to create a space that would enable the heard to grow and thrive. These spaces and the special creatures within them serve as educational areas and animal ambassadors to raise awareness for elephants in the world, furthering the Zoo's conservation mission.
The Maryland Zoo has many projects through which its supports wildlife and habitat conservation worldwide. One area of particular focus for the organization is the protection of African black footed penguins. This already threatened species faced further peril in 2000 due to an oil spill off the coast of South Africa. Staff from the Maryland Zoo assisted with the clean-up and recovery efforts. With the largest captive population of these penguins in country, the conservation efforts of the Zoo have potential for significant impact on the success of the species. In addition, the organization partners with Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, which educates consumers on seafood product choices that have the least negative impact on the environment and animal habitats.
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Penguins aren't the only recipient of the Zoo's conservation efforts. Other programs include Polar Bears International, which educates the public about polar bear conservation and the impacts of climate change on polar bear habitats. The Zoo's well-designed polar bear exhibit gives visitors a small glimpse of what these majestic creatures have in the wild, furthering the story of conservation, protection and activism. Another conservation program of the Zoo is Project Golden Frog, which is working to prevent the extinction of the Panamanian golden frog. The species has suffered from disease that has left them functionally extinct in the wild. The Zoo's successful breeding program has resulted in the largest colony in North America.
Conservation is more than captive breeding programs, however, it is educating the next generation to think, act and work differently to protect animals and their habitats. The Maryland Zoo is committed to these efforts through its ongoing outreach and education programs. This includes free field trips for Maryland students, including public, private and home school attendees. If the students can't come to the Zoo, the Zoo will go to the students, with an outreach program that travels to local campuses, libraries, centers, and more in the ZOOmobile, bringing animal ambassadors to educate audiences about animals. Other educational resources include teacher trainings, self-guided zoo treks and focused learning sessions at ZOOlabs. In addition to these activities and resources, the Zoo also offers educational summer camp programs for students aged five to twelve.
With a variety of events to engage and entertain, the Maryland Zoo is more than just observing exhibits. These interactive activities create special memories and moments for visitors of all ages. These events include such themes as Animal Craft Safari, which creates crafts from recycled materials while learning about the Zoo's African Penguins. Zoo Snooze provides guests the opportunity for a sleepover at the zoo, complete with dinner, breakfast, campfire stories, and nocturnal animal observations. Other events include the annual See Spots Run 8k race, Zoo Boo Halloween Event, and Everyone's a Kid Day the first Tuesday of every month, where adults' tickets are the price of a child's, among many others. These are in addition to daily events and shows such as Keeper Chats, Penguin Feedings and Creature Encounters.
Visitors are advised to check the calendar of events prior to arrival in order to make the most out of a visit to the Maryland Zoo. Events and Zoo hours, which are subject to change, are available on the Zoo's website. Parking is free and available onsite and the Park is easily accessible from major freeways. For those looking for a little more from the Zoo, the Behind the Scenes tour takes visitors to one of several areas to see the working of the Zoo, how the staff care for the animals, and see special areas off limits to the general public. Shops and restaurants at the park provide plenty of opportunities for refreshment, or to pick up a special souvenir to commemorate your memories of the Maryland Zoo.
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