This aquarium is perhaps the greatest attraction in Baltimore's celebrated Inner Harbor. The exhibits start small with samples of marine life from local waters, but visitors soon find themselves eye-to-eye with sharks, rays and other very large creatures. The simulated rainforest ecosystem is truly awe-inspiring. The regularly scheduled dolphin shows are very popular, especially with children.
Federal Hill Park is a pristine park offering spectacular views of the Inner Harbor and a wonderful, fenced-in play area for the kids, complete with slides, a sandbox and monkey bars. Dogs are also welcome. While you're visiting the park, take a moment to learn about one of Baltimore's most prominent citizens. A monument details the life of Major General Samuel Smith, who helped defeat the British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. He went on to become a Congressman, then president of the Senate and, finally, mayor of Baltimore.
This 173-acre (70 hectares) woodland park in the heart of Baltimore offers nature lovers a respite from the noise and congestion of the city. Formerly an estate, the home and grounds are open to visitors today and include a horticultural reference library, a bird and nature museum and a gift shop. The grounds include formal and woodland gardens and trails. Throughout the year, symposiums, workshops and exhibits on a variety of horticultural-related subjects are held.
This small park, just south of the Inner Harbor, offers a gigantic, well-kept public swimming pool, where neighborhood children swim for a dollar a day during July and August. There are plenty of benches, and a small gazebo offers a shady spot for a picnic lunch. Other sporting facilities include basketball courts, and two ballfields. In 2008 this park was named one of Baltimore's historical landmarks.
Spread over a staggering 1,043 acres (422 hectares), the Oregon Ridge Park is a great place to spend a Sunday with the whole family. Surrounded by nature, it makes for a great getaway from the chaotic and clustered city life, and one of the best ways to take in all that is to go hiking, and the park has miles of trails specially for that purpose. Besides, hiking, the park also has facilities for swimming and for picnicking, thus making it an ideal place to take the whole family for a fun-filled day out. The Oregon Ridge Park also has something for the sports enthusiast as it has a golf course and sledding facilities.
Clifton Park was previously a farmland purchased by John Hopkins in 1853. The estate was later converted into a recreational space with activities open to the community. It's 18-hole golf course was the first of its kind in Baltimore. This landscape features the splendid Clifton Mansion, manicured lawns, flourishing woods, as well as clay tennis courts and swimming pools. Despite refurbishment over the years, it retains its original English style and charm. It is, however, the various events hosted here that attract visitors the most.
This large piece of wilderness (over 450 acres) offers miles of trails for hiking and jogging. One of the main trails circumscribes Lake Roland, which was once one of the city's main reservoirs. Other trails reach back into densely forested areas, some taking you over scenic footbridges and others through small tunnels. The only caveat is that the park is a popular destination for dog walkers, and the less rugged trails are often crowded. Otherwise, it's a great urban escape.
The intriguing, odd-shaped glass building at the entrance to Baltimore's lovely Druid Hill Park is The Conservatory. The Victorian-era building has grown from its original 1888 Palm House to include four greenhouses and outdoor gardens. The Conservatory continually showcases plants from around the globe and offers special seasonal floral displays. The Conservatory offers a nice respite from a busy and probably noisy day at the nearby Baltimore Zoo, also located in Druid Hill Park.
This small, quiet, waterside park will never rival the Inner Harbor as a tourist attraction, but some consider this a bit of good fortune—especially those tourists (and locals) who discover it for themselves. What they find is an eight-block-or-so stretch of brick walkway, bordered on one side by a thin field of tree-lined grass and on the other by a sea-wall and the harbor. Sailboats, freighters, and tugs glide by. People fish, frolic, and picnic. Sit on the dock, enjoy the sea breeze and relax.