Friday, August 20, 2010

Dolphins and Turtles and Sharks, Oh My!

Since Matt starts teaching again next week, we decided to have one last weekday outing before the school year officially began, and where better to go for the day than the Baltimore Aquarium?  We were lucky enough to be joined by Mike and Melissa, Matt's brother and his girlfriend.  (Incidentally, they are both teachers as well, as is my OTHER sister-in-law Liz.  Some people marry into money, some into fame, me? I married into Education).

If you are within driving distance of Inner Harbor, I highly recommend getting to the aquarium at least once, and I am including a few pieces of advice for those of you who may go in the future.  Tickets can be a pretty steep, but there is nothing like coming face to face with the underwater creatures you can typically see only on National Geographic.  

Instead of trying to drive into Baltimore, find an over-priced parking garage, and go through the hassle of inevitably losing the car, we decided to stop and take the Light Rail to the Harbor, which put us about four blocks from the Aquarium itself.  For a round trip fare of only $3 this is the best way to get to the Harbor for those of us in PA.  I highly recommend it!
Jack was so excited to be on a train, he had no idea what was going on, but he loved it! 

Rain seems to be the backdrop for most of our family outings lately, and while it wasn't ideal, we made do!

Once we got to the Aquarium I was surprised to learn that strollers were not permitted, and had to be checked.  Had I known that in advance I would have brought my sling to carry him, so word to the wise -- No Strollers! Bring an alternate carrying device or be prepared to hoist your squirming, excited, 25 pounder around the exhibits.  (It can get pretty crowded, so while this rule was inconvenient for us, I totally understand why they have it!)

Don't forget to get your picture taken with the Megalodon jaws!  Who wouldn't want to memorialize getting eaten alive?

We were excited to see the Jellyfish Invasion, it's not often that you can really SEE a jellyfish, you know?  Typically I either see a blob of goo on the beach, or a red welt from the sting, but it was really cool to see them swimming at eye level.  They are mesmerizing to watch, just beautiful.  Strange, but beautiful.
This exhibit was extremely crowded, so while it was really incredible to see, it was hard to navigate. 

We also enjoyed the sharks and rays.  There was a huge tank with a myriad of sea life swimming about, and walkways you could walk on to cross the tank in order to look down on these huge animals.  They even had a three finned sea turtle, who was found in New York.  He lost his fin from the cold and now makes his permanent home at the aquarium, since he can't really return the wild missing the fin.

I was so excited to see Jack reacting to all of the animals that I really didn't take too many photos.  I know...WHAT???  

By the time we made it to the Dolphin show, Jack was pooped!
Next we hit up the dolphin show.  While the dolphins were spectacular as always, as a whole the show was mediocre. The narrators were terrible, it was almost painful to listen to as Mr. Roboto explained why we should not throw garbage in the rivers, and it was so crowded that I started feeling claustrophobic by the end of the 20 minute show.
 Nonetheless, the dolphins were cute!

By that time, we were ready to eat, and since we hadn't planned on staying at the aquarium we headed out into the Harbor to find a place to eat.  Being a Spanish teacher, Matt has a thing for Spanish culture, so it was no surprise to end up at a tapas restaurant called La Tasca.  The great thing about tapas is that they are almost like appetizers.  The best way to eat them is to each order a few, and share.  It's almost a communal dining experience, and it lends itself really well to conversation...even if that just means trying to figure out what the heck you are eating! 

 Jack did start to get a little cranky here(maybe it was because of the lemon incident?), so Uncle Mike stepped in and saved the day with a well fought sword fight!
Thank goodness for goofy uncles!
Here is to a great day! With good food, good friends, and good fish!
 CHEERS!         (Don't forget the Sangria!)

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