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Baltimore by the Sea

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Wet Thursday in Baltimore

Dolores, Ain and Nicole, headed for the Baltimore National Aquarium

As my niece Ain says, it wasn't raining but 'spitting' when she picked up Dolores and myself for a day at the Baltimore National Aquarium. The area has a Nicole met us there, as she had the passes we needed to get in.

Modernistic Baltimore National Aquarium at the wharf

I was agog at the size of the aquarium and most of all, the split level set-up. In Monterrey, the aquarium is 2 level and sprawled across the waterfront. But for the heavily developed waterfront of Baltimore, the aquarium has a small footprint and with so many levels I lost track of them all. The bottom layer has the jelly fish displays.

Lovely Clot of Upside Down Jellies

From there you take an escalator up another level to see various reef fishes, pink anemones and coral beds.

Looking at Ray Tank from upper level

Little 'Nemo' fish in Corals

Reef Fishie

Dory fish and Yellow Tang swim in and out of the Reefs

Weaving Through the Exhibits

Another escalator gets you up to the fresh waters of the Amazon with shifty cayman, huge turtles, pancake sized angelfish and loads of HUNGRY piranhas.

Piranha eye you back

Authentic looking Amazon Shore, complete with terrapin

My favorites was display of poison dart froggie after poison dart froggie in rainbow hues.

Green and Black Poison Dart Frog

Rare Panamanian Golden Frog

Blue Poison Dart Frog

Another escalator ride got us to the Rain Forest where stairs could be hiked to get up on the level with sloths, scarlet ibis, cardinals, Sun Bittern and Parrots. And check out this noisy bugger!

Ain and Dolores in the Rain Forest

The ride back down the escalators has as many levels and exhibits on the way back down as on the way up. There are twisting walkways and circular giant tanks with busy schools of fish that swim fast moving marathons around visitors.

Time to head back down the escalators

Loved the lit silhouettes of sharks on the downward ramps

The long ramps back to the ground floor

We made it through the Aquarium in time to see the 1:30 Dolphin show. The indoor arena was huge.

The Dolphin Show

"Hey you! Got any dolphin food?"

We had a great time at the aquarium. There weren't such aquariums on the Eastern coast when I was growing up in New York City, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. After a nice lunch of 'real food' at Chipotle next to the aquarium, I asked Ain to drop me off at the nearby Phoenix Shot Tower.

The Phoenix Shot Tower

Kirk told me in the old days, they used to drop blots of molten lead from the top of the tower, to a vat of water at the bottom of the tower. The lead blobs formed into perfect circular spheres, cooled and formed by the water. It is wonderful the tower was left intact, as it was only actually ever made bullets and cannon balls from 1828 to 1892. Happily as it was once the tallest structure in the U.S., it was spared the indignity of being flattened in the name of progress.

Loved the Tower's Olde Sign

Lovely old cobblestones line the streets around the Tower

Shot Tower's Stats

Following my quick exploration of the Shot Tower - which is closed - we finally headed home. Ain left, the kids got home and then Kirk got home from work. Hurrah! The next thing I knew, Kirk, Dolores, little Sydney, James and I were off to the movies to see The legends of the Guardians - which is about owls - in 3D.

What ends a day perfectly? Cool Owls in 3D!

I think seeing such a cool movie with my eensie little Great Niecelette & Nephew had me so happy I was particularly blubbery and I got all misty when the owlettes learned to soar and when the heroic Soran saved the day. Perfect end to a perfect day!

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