We decided to stop in Baltimore en route to Philadelphia and the National Aquarium came highly recommended. All the kids enjoy zoos and aquariums, especially Alex who has an unbelievable knowledge of sea and river dwelling creatures thanks to CBeebies’ Octonauts. He was in his element.
Highlights include Blacktip Reef where Calypso, a Green Sea Turtle can be seen playfully diving. She was rescued 15 years ago after being stranded in Long Island Sound with an infected flipper; the infection so bad that only amputation could save her. At that time she weighed just 6lbs and now she is an impressive 500.
Shark Alley, a vast ring-shaped exhibit designed so that the visitors walk in the centre while the fish swim all the way around, is filled with rays and sharks such as the Sand Tiger Shark, who to your average Jones could pass for a small Great White. With three rows of sharp, pointed teeth on display as the Sand Tiger Shark swims towards you it’s hard not to be impressed and a little bit fearful.
Over in Australia: Wild Extremes guests are immersed in a mock Australian river gorge: Lorikeets and brightly colour finches fly overhead and if you listen carefully you’ll hear the laughing Kookaburra. We all particularly enjoyed watching the archer fish hunting for insects: As a member of staff extends a cane over their pool, the archer fish work together to shoot water up to the cane to knock off the insects.
The older boys had the chance to see a Horseshoe Crab close up; these armour plated animals are prehistoric and although they are called “crabs” they are in fact more closely related to spiders. Eugh!
It really was a fabulous aquarium with so much to see, we would definitely go back.
Outside in the Baltimore Inner Harbor there are numerous museums, restaurants and other visitor attractions; Nick would have loved to have spent more time exploring the USS Torsk and I know the boys would have enjoyed the Port Discovery Children’s Museum but time ran out and we left Baltimore wishing that we had scheduled at least one night there. Another time hopefully.
Back on the road again and heading into Philadelphia the weather turned, and as we got our first glimpse of the city the Rascal Flatts’ “Life is a Highway” started on the radio. Alex has to be the worlds’ greatest Lightening McQueen fan so we all know this one well. Volume up until the windows rattled:
“Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long….If you’re going my way, I wanna drive it, all night long…”