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Posts from the ‘Hometown Tourist’ Category

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Aquarium Video

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In May, I posted about a visit to the Baltimore Aquarium.  Part of the fun of that trip was just being in Baltimore, and I have to say that the Inner Harbor made as much of an impression on me as the aquarium.  We had parked several blocks away, and as we made our way to the aquarium, it felt like walking the sidewalks of any larger city.  But when we reached the Inner Harbor, I was struck with a different feeling.  And it was something closer to wonder.

To begin with, it was like stepping into a different world.  We cut through some kind of mall to get to the harbor, and when we entered the building, we were leaving a city.  The sky was hemmed in by tall buildings, everything was the dull color of grey cement, there was noise and traffic.  But when we opened the doors to the other side, all was light and open and colorful.  The sun was shining on our faces, we were met with an expanse of sky and water, and it was just…nice.  It made me happy.  The Inner Harbor is a tourist attraction, so there was a great deal of activity, a lot to look at.  I think a big part of my happy reaction was based on that; it’s just exciting to be in a lively place when you’re already in the market to be pleased.

The next thing that caught my attention were the military ships docked in the harbor, and I was overwhelmed by a sense of the history they represent.  There is a big military presence where I live, so much so that I don’t give it much thought anymore.  Quantico Marine Base is just north of Fredericksburg, I pass by A. P. Hill (an Army fort) every day on my way to work, and it’s not at all unusual to encounter people in uniform.  But seeing the ships here piqued my curiosity, and reminded me how rich in history my little area of the USA really is.  I found out that The Inner Harbor houses four historic vessels (and a lighthouse) that were turned into museums, so you can tour all those ships.  I’m thinking about going back to do that – but in cooler weather!   

The U.S.S. Torsk! This submarine is docked just outside of the aquarium, and is nicknamed “Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor”. It served in the Navy for 24 years. I want to go in that sub!

If I get to tour the Torsk, I’ll let you know all about it!  Whether you’re interested or not.  In the meantime, here is a little video from our aquarium visit.  Be warned that I am not a very good videographer!  But if nothing else, at least you can enjoy the music by Enya.


Items of Interest:

A visit to the Baltimore Aquarium

The Historic Ships of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

National Aquarium in Baltimore


A visit to The Baltimore Aquarium

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At the beginning of May, I went with my sister, BiL, the girls and Grandma (BiL’s mother) to visit The Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland.  I guess it’s actually now called The National Aquarium in Baltimore (okay, I know it’s called that), but not by me or anyone else I know.  I haven’t been there since I was in high school (so quite some time ago), and I was really looking forward to this visit.  I didn’t really remember anything about the aquarium, except it’s big and there are a LOT of fish there.

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According to the website, there are over 16,000 animals to be seen: fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.  The building itself is something to behold, with interesting architectural elements, beautiful photographs, attractive informational displays and a peaceful atmosphere.  It’s well laid out to guide you through the exhibits in such a way that you don’t miss anything.  Even so, it’s not a cattle walk; there is plenty of room to move about as you wish, and I never felt too overwhelmed or claustrophobic.  Of course, we went on a Thursday in May.  I would not recommend visiting on a Saturday in July, if you have a choice.

One of the most impressive exhibits is Open Ocean.  It starts on the bottom level with the shark walk, a 225,000-gallon, ring-shaped shark exhibit.  From there, you walk up through the center of this cylindrical display into the Atlantic Coral Reef.  This astounding exhibit holds 335,000 gallons and is 13 feet deep.  More than 500 exotic fish live in this “authentic fabricated reef”, and surrounded as you are, you do feel like you’re walking in the ocean.

For an awesome virtual tour, click HERE, where you’ll get an amazing 360 degree view of the aquarium. Click on View Map for a floor plan and quick access to other sections of the aquarium. Otherwise, just follow the arrows to “walk” through the various exhibit areas, just like I did in real life. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

Interacting with the virtual tour makes me want to go back again.  There’s just so very much to observe there!  I worried a bit that I was spending too much time attempting to get a good photograph, and not enough time enjoying what there was to be seen.  And getting a decent photograph at an aquarium is not so easy.  Low light wreaks its havoc, and those darn fish just won’t pose for you at all!  I have a lot of pictures of blurry fish.  Had I been alone, I’m sure I would have taken at least three or four times longer to do the tour, to photograph, take video and just watch.  I’d also like to take time to read the informational wall displays and sit down to watch the videos.  Maybe I’ll go back again in the fall.

Meanwhile, here is a little video I made:

Items of Interest:

National Aquarium in Baltimore 

Weekends at The Rivah

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Remember when I told you that Fredericksburg is about two hours from just about anything you’d want to do?  Well, I’ve already taken you west into the mountains, and this time we’re headed almost exactly two hours east, to the Chesapeake Bay.  Now I don’t like to brag, but the Chesapeake Bay is kind of  a big deal, so pay attention class.

(Technically, this wasn’t a day trip, but I’m not making any more logos.)

I spent the past two very enjoyable weekends at the river.  For as long as I can remember, weekenders have been flocking to “The Rivah” at the first hint of warm weather.  And this time I was one of them. continue reading…

Lights in the Garden

In the last Hometown Tourist post, I told you how centrally located Fredericksburg is; we’re a car ride from just about anything you want to do.  In that post, I shared my day trip into the mountains to do some hiking and apple picking.  This time, I went just a little south to Richmond, Virginia. continue reading…