We finally visited the Calvert Marine Museum at Solomons Island for the annual Easter Egg Hunt for our 3 year old. First of all the Museum is first rate, with a great mix of boats, live bay animals, indoor/outdoor, geology and fossils. You could easily spend 2 hours for your $7 adult (under 5 free) entrance fee. The Easter Egg “Hunt” was very well attended with maybe 100 kids of all ages. The eggs (5 per child) contained small fossils that the the staff labeled for the little ones to take home. I suggest showing up just before the 10:30 scheduled time to minimize your child’s wait in the auditorium. It was a 10 minute wait to get in but the hunt started late anyway. After 10-15 minutes on the hunt there is plenty of time to tour.
One of my surprise discoveries a few years ago was that there is a giant impact crater under the lower part of the bay. Some 35 million years ago some 1 mi + wide object (a bolide) hit where the lower bay is today. One of the best web sites on the subject is here at virginiaplaces.org, here is a key excerpt on how the bolide helped shape the bay even though the bay is much, much newer:
Over the last 35 million years, as the Appalachian Mountains have eroded and the Coastal Plain sediments extended eastward, the impact crater was buried under 1,500 feet of sediments.3 The zone of weakened rock may have shaped the direction of the Susquehanna River and James River as they carved their channels to the Atlantic Ocean, ultimately affecting the location of the Chesapeake Bay. However, the bolide did NOT blast out the current basin of the Chesapeake Bay. The bay formed much more recently over the last 10,000 or so years, as sea levels rose and flooded the valleys of the Susquehanna and James rivers. However, the location of those river channels and the modern Chesapeake Bay appears to be affected by the much-older depression created by the bolide. For the last 35 million years, sediments deposited in the crater have continued to subside and maintain a continuous low spot in the crust of the earth.