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.