Thursday, September 3, 2009

Something's Fishy Around Here

The National Aquarium at the Baltimore Inner Harbor is about an hour from Loudoun County - an hour and half from Leesburg (where I live).  It's a fabulous place for kids and adults alike, and makes a great day trip!

My kids (3 and 6) had never seen real sharks (although we all watched the Discovery Channel's shows on Shark Week, with great fascination).  So, on Monday we just got in the car and went of on a adventure.  They were so amazed at the Inner Harbor - the art, the fountains, the navy ships, the high rises, the treats and goodies being sold everywhere - that it was hard to actually get them in the door to see the aquariam.  But, I eventually did. 
They had a total blast looking at the fish and seeing the sharks.  Thanks to the movie Nemo, they could (sort of) recognize a few of the fish, and they got very excited when we saw clown fish and stingrays. Seahorses and turtles were also quite popular.

The aquarium offers a "4 D" movie.  I've been to many, and usually like them OK, but I have to admit that in this one, the special effects were a little overdone (my opinion).  You found yourself focusing on the effects rather than the movie.  I don't even know what the movie was about.  Small children will be scared by these affects, and certainly by the sudden gasps of the audience members.   If you're with school aged  kids, you might want to go ahead and pay for the movie.  It infuses a little blood pumping action in the middle of your tour, and perks them right up as they are getting a little run down touring the tanks.
The aquarium now has a really awesome "Jellies" exhibit.  Jellie fish are beautiful, and let's face it, there's really no better place for them than in a tank where they can't sting me!

Without a doubt, however, the highlight of the day was the dolphin show!  (I have imbedded a video at the end of this blog post of part of the show.  Please forgive the amateur videography, but enjoy the show!)  Rachael now wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up. 

In total, we spent about 4 to 5 hours inside the aquarium, and it was easy to do. Then, we grabbed a little dinner and headed home. I'll be planning another trip back to the Inner Harbor with them soon. Perhaps we'll plan a day to go to the "Top of the World" to enjoy the view and to go out on a boat and explore the ship museums. Or, maybe we'll plan a sports day and go to a Orioles or Ravens game and the ESPN zone. Perhaps we'll just wander the water line and shop, stopping to watch the live entertainment on the street and grab a snack. There is much to do there, no matter what your tastes are. The Inner Harbor makes for a wonderful day trip with the family, with a date or even by yourself. But, bring your walking shoes and cash for parking - you'll need it.

For more information on the aquarium, visit
Watch the video of part of the dolphin show here: 

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