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|Maryland: Baltimore, Family Vacations - Dolpin Shows, Harbor Discoveries, and Dragon Boats.
The city of Baltimore is ideal for exploring with children. World-class museums, fun eateries and friendly people, plus transportation that is easy to use combine to make a stress free city adventure. From the National Aquarium and the Port of Discovery to the Chanel ducks (not feathered) and the U.S.S. Constellation, discoveries are waiting to be made. The city is filled with fun stuff.
See all the fishes.
This place is located in the Inner Harbor at Pier 3 a ten-minute fast paced walk from the hotel. If a water taxi is ready to leave to Pier 3, it will save the ten minutes. Not to be missed is the dolphin show. The aquarium is one of the best in the world because it conducts rehabilitation programs and offers a variety of ways for visitors to learn about the residents that inhabit the waters of this planet. Of special interest to families the breakfast with the dolphins or breakfast with the sharks. Visitors join marine life trainers and care takers for a close-up look at a dolphin or sharks. A trainer will answer your questions after the presentation. Discovery:
The aquarium also offers seven great behind the scene tour, including a dolphin sleepover and a shark sleepover. Guests navigate around pipes, hoses, tanks, and filters, Conservation Education staff will explain the intricacies of caring for the Aquarium's more than 11,000 animals. (National Aquarium Baltimore. Pier # 3, 501 East Pratt Street. 1(410) 576-3800 or www.aqua.org
Make discoveries with the kids.
State of the art, clever, innovative and just plain fun for families. This exceptional museum ranks among the top five children's museums in the USA and holds the number 12 spot in the world. This is the place to let the kids go crazy. It is definitely a kid-friendly museum with plenty of interaction and many places for adults to sit and observe what it means to be a child in discovery mode. Bonus Points:
Port Discovery Children's Museum has partnered with the Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens Initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fight childhood obesity. The national initiative helps children learn about healthy food choices and promotes physical activity through interactive exhibits and programs. (Port Discovery-The Kid-Powered Museum. 35 Market Place. 1(410) 727-8120 or www.portdiscovery.org
A terrific place for all ages, this center could be a full day outing for a family. Starting with the first floor where kids become engaged in the labyrinth game. The SpaceLink Center provides oodles of ways to involve museum visitors and ways to stay connected to news once they return to their homes or schools. The space station center has a rocket ship where kids may lay/sit down to experience what it would be like going into space. Not to be missed:
BodyLink, part of the Science Center's education mission, focuses on three core subjects: Health and the Human Body; Space; and Earth Sciences. Another great exhibit is TerraLink, an Earth Sciences Center, which has a hands-on tornado vortex simulator. (Maryland Science Center. 601 Light Street. 1(410) 685-2370 or www.mdsci.org
All hands on deck.
Seeing the real thing beats the TV version every time and The USS Constellation Museum offers "hands-on" activities and demonstrations daily. They also have hand held tapes recorders are available for tours. The tapes describe what is at each of the stations on the ship. Children ten years and older can take part in the Powder Monkey Tour, a fascinating living history experience.
They learn about the lives of the young boys who served as powder monkeys. In the hands-on tour, young "recruits" will find out how lads from eleven to eighteen lived in Mr. Lincoln's Navy: how they dressed, ate, where they slept and lived, and some of the things they did on and off duty each day. (U.S.S. Constellation. Pier 1, 301 E. Pratt Street or 1(410) 539-1797 www.constellation.org
Get in the zone.
This is a great place for older children especially teens. Parents with children under the age of 18 need to purchase a card that allows their child to play games of all kind. Motor racing, basketball shooting, basically every type of sports game you could imagine. Parents can hang out in the attached bar to watch sports on TV. FYI: Next to ESPN Zone is a super-sized Borders Bookstore. (ESPN Zone. 601 E. Pratt St. 1(410) 685-ESPN (3776) or espn.go.com
Books for the Trip
By the Dawn's Early Light: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner. By Steven Kroll & Dan Andreasen. Scholastic; Reprint edition (July 1, 2000). The story of Francis Scott Key and how he came to write the words for the national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner."
Behind the Attic Wall. by Sylvia Cassedy, Harper Trophy 1985. A book of suspense, satire and fantasy, it is a well-suited trip companion to any teen going to Baltimore. A story about 12-year-old Maggie, a boarding school brat that winds up in expelled from school and with her aunts in the house of her ancestors. Secrets, whispering and magic that transforms.
Article compiled by FTF for Travel Communications, Inc. Images courtesy of FTF. Copyright 2012.