The National Aquarium in Baltimore

First a disclaimer: My little ole Kid Baltimore blog would not be complete if I didn't cover the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Most of the places we've covered so far are small day trips, and the Aquarium, in my mind is big, big, big. There is a lot of ground to cover, especially for ages 5 and under. For younger kids, we recommend you don't try and see everything in one day. The family membership can be worthwhile if you plan to visit 2 or more times a year.

-------------------------

We entered the first main exhibit area, "Wings in the Water," and spent a few minutes talking

with one of the scuba-diving volunteers about the dozens of rays and other fish surrounding him. Did you know stingray babies

are called pups? They are born live and measure about 9.5 inches across at birth. Our 4-year-olds were just tall enough to peer over the safety

rails and get a good look at everything. Younger kids will definitely

need a boost.

As we waved goodbye to the rays, we traveled up the many escalators toward the rainforest. My kids stopped at every tank along the way. My oldest daughter decided some anemones looked "like they were wearing pink polka-dotted shirts." At the stonefish display, my entire gang stood motionless for ages staring at this creature that looked like, well, a stone. Every so often it would open its mouth or waddle back and forth and the entire group would gasp. Definitely one of my favorites and I'm pretty sure we saw this guy in a Spongebob episode.

At the top of the spiraling escalators, we reached the rainforest. The kids loved the surprise of suddenly being "outside". Then it was time to descend to the shark territory and I thought my younger kids would be scared, but as we wandered deeper, I noticed my daughter trying to pet one particular shark that was resting close to the glass. Great. Now I know what to get her for Christmas.

There is so much more to see here -- the Australian exhibit, the 4D Immersion Theater. But can anyone resist the dolphins? Especially baby dolphins. Baby Foster, just celebrated his first birthday. The newest dolphin (see the video below) was born in July and there will be a naming contest that starts November 11. I'll keep you posted as I hear more, or check their blog.

A few things to keep in mind when visiting the Aquarium with kids. First, pick a non-peak time

to visit. We didn't have to wait to get in, and the crowd was not too heavy. Second, strollers are not allowed, but they do offer stroller storage

and backpack or frontpack carriers.

Dolphin Calf Birth from National Aquarium on Vimeo.

410-576-3800

The National Aquarium in Baltimore

501 E. Pratt Street

Baltimore, MD 21202

[Map it]