Baltimore Aquarium

Yesterday we went to the Baltimore Aquarium with my parents. What a fantastic trip! We started off the day at about 7AM, packing everyone into the Ford at 8AM and scooting off as fast as we could towards I-95. The Aquarium has a slot-based approach to tickets, and each slot lasts for about 30 minutes. Our slot was for 9:30, which meant we had just over an hour to get there from Sterling. Given the rush we stopped at Dunkin Donuts - a guilty pleasure - for some flatbread and sugary coffee.

We arrived just in time and went inside, where Layla was super excited to see all the fish in their front-lobby tank. It reminded me of what the Bass Pro Shops in Hampton has in their store, with all of the natural habitat replicated to fit a modern interior. Past this area you come to a wide-open area where they have some sharks and stingrays in a giant ground floor tank. Layla was wide-eyed and mesmorized, repeating all of the words we told her in her best drone voice: “ray,” “shark”!

Making our way up the escalators (which were awesome, given the building is rather small horizontally but huge vertically) we saw her favorite thing of the day: a huge green sea turtle we hadn’t seen down below. It cruised around the area with only one front fin, which told us it was probably a rescue. They began to feed it lettuce and Layla told us the play by play! She even said “turtle eating leaf,” which made our jaws drop. On this second floor we also saw a “Nemo” fish (clownfish), a Nautilus, and an octopus.

Going up a floor we went into the rainforest area, which was super humid for what we were wearing. We didn’t see too many animals there, which was a bit disappointing. The one bird we did see had a piercing “fox call” that made us want to leave immediately. We did see an orange monkey and a sloth way up in the treetop, though. We moved on pretty quickly because we were so uncomfortable.

Once you reach the top of the building, you start making your way down through other various tanks and exhibits. I really enjoyed seeing the sand tiger sharks during that part. They’d slowly glide by, showing off their teeth like they were proud of them. Kristin was weirded out by one of the sharks that looked like it was staring her down.

Lunch time came about and we went out to the Hard Rock Cafe. All the memorabilia there is so awesome - Eddie Vedder’s guitar case, Elvis' robe and grammy nomination letter, Keith Richards’ guitar, and many more things. Even though we had to wait for about 45 minutes for lunch to arrive, the food was great. Plus, they have LCDs everywhere playing music videos, so I was at least entertained. Layla was dead tired by this time, though, and she fell asleep in Pa’s lap until the food arrived.

We went home and Nanny’s job was to keep Layla awake for the car ride. The technique worked and we were all rewarded with a much-needed nap! It was a good capstone to a day well spent.