Our third and final day in Baltimore. On Saturday night, we had decided to forfeit our Aquarium tickets and head home first thing in the morning because of the riots. But when we woke up in the morning, we read a bunch of articles and twitter feeds and learned that the cops had the Inner Harbor under control by 11 pm and had arrested dozens of rioters. We also spoke to a few people and felt that it would probably be safe to go to the Aquarium on a Sunday morning (riots don't usually happen at that time, right?). We were really excited to go to the Aquarium and it was on top of most of the "Things to do in Baltimore" lists I found :)
We arrived at 9:30 and I was glad to see that while it wasn't overly crowded, that there were plenty of people there. I would have felt silly (and a little reckless) if we were one of the only ones who decided to venture out the morning after the riots. As soon as we entered, we checked our stroller and walked to the large tank where there are some mini sharks. We just so happened to get there as they were feeding the sharks! We also saw a really large turtle (or maybe it was a tortoise) and three sting rays.
We spent the next hour and a half just looking at all the different species of fish. I remember seeing "Nemo", a seahorse, and some beautiful brightly colored fish, but I couldn't tell you their names to save my life!
We then headed up a tall escalator to the "Rain Forest". As soon as you walked in you could feel the temperature and humidity change and there was a mist. They had pictures of animals that live in the rain forest, but I just remember seeing a few birds. But the environment was pretty spectacular.
Before leaving, we went to see the dolphins. We thought were were gonna see a Sea World type show, but really it was just a feeding time where they showed us some of the "tricks" they teach them. We did get to see some jumps, but definitely nothing crazy. At first, Noah could care less and was more interested in sticking bottle caps into the cracks of the bleachers. But by the end, he was oohing and ahhing at the jumps :)
Originally, we thought it would be safest to just eat at the Aquarium (less walking around outside), but there was limited selection there and we were getting the vibe that things were okay out there. We walked a few minutes to Bryan Voltaggio's Family Meal. If you are a Top Chef fan, you probably recognize his name. The restaurant just recently opened, and while we had to wait maybe 20 minutes for a table, the food was delicious! From there, we went back to the hotel, got the car, and headed home!
Whenever we go on vacation, we love to get Noah a few souvenirs. We collect golf balls for Noah, and thankfully we were able to find one at the very end! While I waited with Noah for our table to be ready, Chris ran down to the a store and picked one up. Noah also picked out a zebra stuffed animal at the zoo, 2 new Thomas trains at the Train Exhibit, and a penguin stuffed animal at the aquarium... all really great choices in my opinion :) It's so cute to see how much Noah loves stuffed animals now. Just a year ago he couldn't care less, but now he likes to give them hugs and everything. He even carried the zebra around with him in his stroller and showed him the fish at the aquarium!
I wish I could say the ride home was just as great as the ride there, but it wasn't! Since it was a little after 1 when we left, we were expecting Noah to sleep a couple of hours. While he did fall asleep pretty quickly, the horrendous stop and go traffic we hit as soon as we got on 95 woke him up about 30 minutes later! Not only was the traffic bad, but we now had an unhappy kid who wanted out of his seat! We did eventually stop for gas and an ice cream treat and calmed him down before continuing on with our drive. Traffic finally got a little better, but it took us way longer than it should have to get home.