What I’m Loving Wednesday {Family Road Trips to the Baltimore Aquarium!}


So here’s the thing – we’ve been hard pressed to get any *real* down time this entire summer. Building this house has consumed every minute we’ve had for the past year.  We even skipped our annual salmon fishing trip this past September, which if you ask anyone who knows us—that’s highly unusual.

Like any good mom, I started feeling a tad guilty that we hadn’t gotten away with Kenzer at all this summer, and her first day of school was right around the corner. Almost immediately, the idea of a family road trip to Baltimore popped in to my head. We hadn’t been to the Baltimore Aquarium since Kenzer was 5, so this was the perfect plan.

I reserved our tickets online, and sprung for one of their Immersion Tours, which meant we were able to get in to the aquarium before it actually opened, and we had a guide for our tour.

This past Friday, we got up at the butt crack of dawn and made our way to Maryland!

We got there in plenty of time so we decided to hit the corner coffee shop for some coffee (and in Kenzer’s case chocolate milk) and made our way to the aquarium. There we met our tour guide:

Immersion Tour

Have I ever mentioned how much of a sucker I am for little old men?! His name was Al, and he’s worked at the aquarium ever since it opened, which was over 30 years ago.

The first exhibit we hit was their feature exhibit, the black tip reef sharks!

black tip reef shark exhibit

I can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to see the exhibits without the huge crowds of people!! It was well worth the extra expense. We also got to see the sea turtle that we’ve been visiting at the aquarium since Kenzer was 3! We just love this gal, and look forward to seeing her each time we go:

Calypto, sea turtle

She only has 3 fins. Kenzer loved her so much the first time we saw her that she begged for a stuffed animal sea turtle (she still has it!), and then for ages she begged me to cut off one of it’s fins so it had 3 as well.

Our next stop was to the kitchen where they prepare the food to feed the fish! Most if not all of the food is cleaned by hand by the staff! (not sure whose bad side you have to get on to be nominated for that job!)

We then had the opportunity to actually FEED the fish ourselves! They had little frozen balls of shrimp that were attached to a long string, and we got to lower the food in to the water for their feeding. The mini-me thought this was pretty cool.


And Alfie thought he might like to try it himself. I can’t take that boy anywhere. :-)


After we fed the fish, we headed to the rain forest area to see some of the wild life, and then made our way to the dauphin show. Group selfie warning:




Being part of the Immersion tour meant that we had reserved seating in the front row for the show. However, I do remember the show being much better in prior years. I’m not sure what was going on, but the dauphins barely performed, and the show only lasted 15 minutes.

After the tour was over (it lasted about 2 hours), we were left to spend the day exploring, and were free to come and go as we pleased throughout the day. We hit up some more of the exhibits,


Checked out the Megalodon jaws:

megalodon jaws

And no trip is complete without hitting up the gift shop for an over-priced item you’ll never use again in your life but seemed funny at the time:

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After we explored the aquarium a bit more, we decided we’d head outside and experience Inner Harbor. One tradition that is pretty much a non-negotiable with me is that we have to ride the dragon paddle boats:




After we worked up an appetite and gave ourselves a leg workout, it was time for lunch.


We ate at McCormick & Schmicks the last time we were in Baltimore and loved it so much we knew we had to go again.

I forget what Alfie had, but I know my meal was AMAZING:


Stuffed shrimp with red pepper white cheddar mash and steamed veggies! Of course I had to have a Stella as well.


We took the opportunity to snap some photos while we enjoyed our meal:

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And the waiter was nice enough to get a family picture for us:


I have one hell of a beautiful family. Jus’ sayin’. :-)

After lunch we walked around and took in the scenery and just so happened to come across some live music in the park! We really didn’t want the day to end.




And no trip is complete without some dessert:



Ice cream usually doesn’t sit well with me, but I couldn’t resist. It’s made fresh daily and just sampling it I knew it would be life changing. It was. I had coffee and cheesecake ice cream. So. Good.

After our ice cream we went back to where they were having music in the park. Earlier Kenzer had spotted some water fountains and wanted to go check them out before we left. We watched the water shoot up for a while and then Kenzer asked if she could run through them. Alfie and I looked at each other and said “what could it hurt”, so we left her run through the fountain. #yolo


This was a much needed get away! And proof positive that you don’t have to go far to feel like you’ve “gotten away”. We had a great day, and I look forward to going back again soon.


Have you ever visited Baltimore Inner Harbor?