I know I've been a little absent lately, but I have a very good reason.  We spent the past two weeks in Maryland visiting my husband's family. 

We had a fantastic trip and the kids were thrilled to have a mixture of snow days, and days where we could go out and explore the city.  Here are some of the fun activities we did with them during the first week.  I'll be sharing more over the coming days, I didn't quite realize how many photographs I took until I took them all off my iPhone, camera, and a zip drive last night.

National Aquarium

We arrived in Baltimore just after dark and as we drove to our hotel in the Inner Harbor we saw a beautiful building with glass down one side and what appeared to be a forest inside the building.  It was breathtaking.  We later discovered after visiting the Aquarium, that there is indeed a rainforest, which you can walk through and see beautiful birds, frogs, and even a tarantula (which we found hiding inside a log).  There is also another forest area to walk through that is dedicated to Animal Planet Australia where visitors can get up close to many native Australian birds, freshwater crocodiles, and barramundi.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore
Octopus baltimore aquarium
National aquarium baltimore
Jellyfish national aquarium

Don't forget to watch the Dolphin Discovery live show, it gives a great insight into how they train dolphins.  There is also a 4D show.  Of course little miss didn't want to sit through that, but the boys loved The Polar Express in 4D, especially our little train lover.

You can find details on exhibits and ticket prices on the National Aquarium website.

Maryland Science Center

It had been a few years since we had taken the kids to the Maryland Science Center, and I was thrilled to see that some of our favorite exhibits were still there, but there were some new ones too.

Maryland Science Center
Science Center in Maryland
Bed of nails at Maryland Science Center

Yes, that is Marisol laying on a bed of nails.  I remember Jay doing this a few years ago. 

There is so much to see, do, and learn at the Science Center.  If you get the opportunity I highly recommend seeing Flight of the Butterflies in 3D.  It tells the story of Dr Fred Urquhart and his study of the Monarch butterflies and discovery of their migration patterns.  It's a beautiful story.   

Also explore the solar system with a spectacular show in the Davis Planetarium.  Kids will learn all about the stars, planets, and the universe in the dome theater.

You can find details on exhibits and ticket prices on the Maryland Science Center website.

Top Of The World

If you want to see a breathtaking view over Baltimore and the Inner Harbor area, I highly recommend visiting the Top of the World observation level of the World Trade Center in Baltimore.  It is conveniently located in the Inner Harbor between the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center and offers spectacular 360 degree views of the city.  It's especially lovely at sunset, which is when I took the kids. 

View over baltimore
Top of the world baltimore
Top of the world observation level baltimore
World trade center observation tower baltimore
Observation level world trade center baltimore
You can find details on tours and ticket prices on the Top of the World website.

Patterson Bowling

If you haven't tried Duckpin Bowling before, then now is your chance.  Duckpin Bowling is a variation of traditional ten-pin bowling.  The difference is that you use a small round ball without holes in it that only weighs about 2-3lbs.  The duckpins are smaller than regular pins, and you have three tries per turn as opposed to the normal two.

Patterson bowling duckpin lanes in baltimore
Every time Flynn bowled we couldn't help but giggle.  Don't you love how he tries to direct the ball with his arms.  He did this after every single bowl.

You can find details on events and ticket prices on the Patterson Bowling website.

Fort McHenry National Monument

If you are wanting to visit a National Park while in Baltimore and learn about the history of the War of 1812, then include a visit to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on your itinerary.  Kids will love learning that it was during the war that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner". 

We visited Fort McHenry just before sunset, and although it was a beautiful time to be there, it was absolutely freezing as well.

National Park in Baltimore
Fort McHenry National Park
Fort McHenry National Monument and Park
Fort McHenry in Baltimore Maryland
Fort McHenry
Sun Setting over Fort McHenry

You can find details on tours, events, and entrance fees on the National Park Service – Fort McHenry website. 

I'll be back soon with more photographs from our trip as I continue to sift through them.

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Tonya Staab January 6, 2013 - 6:39 pm

They have a staff member manning the station.  They lower the nails down so the kids (or adults) can climb on, then once they are laying perfectly still they raise them up again.  The kids love it and said it doesn't hurt at all.

Jamie January 6, 2013 - 6:19 pm

Looks like you guys had a ton of fun… I’d always seen those bed of nails stuff, but never actually done it myself now I’m curious 😉

National Aquarium January 7, 2013 - 12:01 pm

Hi Tonya,

We just wanted to thank you again for writing such a nice post about your visit to the Aquarium and some of the other great organizations around Baltimore. We hope you enjoyed your time in charm city and we hope to see you again soon!


The National Aquarium team!

Tonya Staab January 8, 2013 - 9:10 am

My pleasure.  We had a wonderful trip, and a visit to the National Aquarium was a big highlight, especially for the kids.


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