The sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the 'Star Spangled Banner'. The fort is best known for the part it played during the War of 1812, successfully holding off an attack by the British Navy. When Scott Key saw the flag still flying over the fort after surviving the attack, he wrote the poem that became the national anthem. Today, the fort is a National Historic Park. The restored barracks hold exhibits of military and historical artifacts and a well-kept trail runs along the water's edge, affording spectacular views of ships entering and leaving the busy harbor.
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 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.
Towering above Mount Vernon Place is Baltimore's Washington Monument. The marble Doric column towers 178 feet (54.25 meters) with a statue of George Washington at its crown. The reward for climbing the steep, winding 228 steps is a breathtaking, bird's-eye view of Baltimore. The base contains a small museum with exhibits chronicling the architecture and development of the monument, which took nearly 15 years to build (1815-1829).
Commissioned in 1855, the USS Constellation was the last all-sail ship built by the United States Navy. Today, the historic vessel lies at anchor in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where visitors can climb aboard and learn about the ship's history, including its mission to disrupt the slave trade and its latter role in delivering famine relief supplies to Ireland.
Babe Ruth is so much a part of New York Yankees lore, people forget that he was born, raised and introduced to professional baseball in Baltimore. This museum celebrates the Babe's Baltimore roots, displaying his boyhood bat, the score card from his first professional game. Artifacts from his father's saloon, which stood where Oriole Park is today, are also on display. The museum is also the official repository of Orioles team memorabilia.
Housed inside a beautiful structure inside the Johns Hopkins University campus, the George Peabody Library stocks a magnificent collection of over 300,000 books. The library was initiated in 1860 with an aim to provide latest literary material covering all branches of knowledge except law and medicine. These books, mostly belonging to the 18th and the 19th Century, provide perfect research material covering British art and architecture, History of America, Biographies, English and American literature as well as Greek and Latin classics and an exploration section for exclusive collection of maps. A majestic place for book lovers, the place is often referred to as the 'Cathedral of Books'. Visit the university website for library catalog and event updates.
Dating back to 1911, the Emerson Bromo Seltzer tower is credited to Captain Isaac Emerson. A 15 storey structure, it was stylistically inspired by Florence's Palazzo Vecchio tower and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Until 1936, a 51-foot replica of the famed blue bottle revolved on top of the building, illuminated by 596 lights. Today, a blue glow emanates from the tower's cupola and the structure's four clock faces are illuminated at all times, allowing passersby to see the Bromo Seltzer letters that mark the time. The tower is also houses to an arts facility, showcasing exhibitions by resident as well as other artists.
This observation area, on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center, offers panoramic views of the Baltimore Harbor. There is also a museum that displays artifacts from Baltimore's past and a gift shop featuring the famous Maryland crab. Although school groups and tours are invited to schedule an appointment to experience the Top of the World Observation Level, the space may not be reserved for private functions.
The historic vessels and landmarks of this museum bring to life the history of American naval power. The US Coast Guard Cutter Taney (surviving warship in Pearl Harbor), USS Torsk (fired last two torpedoes in World War II), the lightship Chesapeake (served as floating lighthouse for 40 years) and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse (helped sailors navigate Chesapeake Bay for more than 100 years) all played a vital and heroic role in US military war and peacekeeping. Special student programs are also available at Historic Ships in Baltimore.