This past Saturday we headed down to Baltimore (with a detour past Columbia to pick up my little brother) to visit the National Aquarium. We use to go every so often when we lived in the city, before CT showed up. I’ve been talking about how much I wanted to go back for awhile.
We chose a horribly hot day to visit. The walk from the parking garage to the aquarium alone was ridiculous. Then once we got to the ticket line we saw that there was a TWO AND A HALF HOUR WAIT! ugh. We ended up walking around some shops in the Inner Harbor to kill time. After an hour and a half we decided to just sit and wait, CT was already looking tired and the fun stuff was still to come. It was too hot so we ended up upgrading our regular tickets to a year long membership so we could get in right away. It made our trip more expensive than we had planned, but now we can go back during the cooler months.
The first thing we ended up doing was the dolphin show. It was in a cool arena with seats! We needed the rest. Since it was a Saturday, the dolphin show was shorter than usual. We didn’t get to see them do all the cool jumps and such. CT still enjoyed it and is still talking about those dolphins!! She even picked out a stuffed dolphin in the gift shop that she now sleeps with every night.
After the show we headed out into the main part of the aquarium. Oh my was it crazy, there was so many people that CT couldn’t walk without getting trampled over. She had to be carried, pretty much the entire time!! I have been to the Aquarium dozens and dozens of times my entire life and I have never seen it this crazy! I guess as locals my family knew when the best time to go was? When you live outside the city for a certain amount of time, you forget how crazy it can get in the summer. We learned our lesson. There are many awesome exhibits at the national Aquarium, some of the best in the country, and within two hours we got to see FOUR!!
The four we saw were as awesome as I remembered. The jellyfish exhibit was beautiful! I had seen the same exhibit when I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 2008, but it was still neat to see it locally. Plus CT got to see real jellyfish! We have been talking about jellyfish a lot lately.
The sting ray tank was super cool and had a bunch of divers interacting with them. There was also a huge turtle swimming around, CT really liked him (her?).
There is also the entire top floor which is supposed to mimic a rain forest, we saw another turtle and a bunch of birds. That was always my favorite part of every aquarium trip.
The last exhibit was the dark shark tank that you walk down huge ramps to see. CT did not like the sharks, she said they were too scary. That was also about the time that we noticed just how tired she was.
We figured we have a year membership now, so if we missed anything cool, that we could just come back in a couple of months and see it with less people around. Maybe even try a day during the week when the crowd is just a bunch of kids on field trips, not frustrated/tired parents and screaming babies. The funniest and kinda saddest part though, if you ask CT what she saw at the aquarium her first response is “lots of people”, then she says dolphins and turtles.
After the aquarium we decided to drive around since we hadn’t been back to the city in awhile. We drove by the space (just to see what the outside looks like now) and we drove past the first place I lived on my own in Hampden. We also stopped by Atomic Books and Double Dutch (I bought some toys).
It was nice seeing it all, but it reminded me just how much I love living in the country! Baltimore will always have a place in my heart, the city gave me a lot of what I have now, but that doesn’t mean I want to ever live there again. I’m a lot less anxious these days, and I think thats why, haha. (just to be clear, everyone feels different about where is right to live, I’m not bashing city living, it’s just not for my family)
I know I complained a bunch about this trip, but CT didn’t know just how miserable the whole thing was. She loved it all and she really wants to go back. We definitively learned our lesson though, and will plan the rest of our weekend family outings for the fall. The heat and crowds are just too much in the Summer. I still want to visit Port Discovery, the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo and then of course visit my absolute favorite place, The National Zoo!! So we’ll head to all those come October, or later.
I know I’ve asked this before and got a few awesome responses, but does anyone else have suggestions for places to take a toddler that are super fun?