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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.
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.
Baltimore's first municipal park, Druid Hill Park, spans across 745 acres (300 hectares) and is featured on the National Register of Historic Places. The famed park is apt for evening strolls, picnics, ball games, riding, or simply lazing under the shady trees. Fringed by Jones Falls Expressway, the verdant park has plenty of water features like springs and lakes. Moreover, it is home to the Conservatory and Palm House.
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.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was once one of the most important freight and passenger lines in the country. The museum, located in a converted switching yard west of downtown, was the final destination for dozens of the steam locomotives and diesel engines that traveled along that railroad. Visitors are welcome to climb aboard and inspect the giant machines, many of which are kept in a restored house that also holds a wealth of historical displays and railroad memorabilia.
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.
Maryland Science Center at Inner Harbor features interactive exhibits that focus on physics, marine biology and astronomy. The sprawling center includes a planetarium as well as an observatory, adding to its already impressive facilities. Of more local interest is the Chesapeake Bay estuary exhibit, which features several tanks of live creatures. Packages that include tickets to the IMAX theater are available.
Nestled in one of the city's most picturesque parks, this zoo is home to more than 2,250 animals. Although the zoo boasts contemporary exhibits where lions, giraffes and elephants roam freely, remnants of the Victorian era remain. Some mammals are housed in large barred cages that were built a century ago. The Maryland wilderness exhibit, where visitors explore a cave populated by timber rattlesnakes and walk under swimming river otters, is very popular, as is the children's barnyard.
Bengies is the proud owner of America's biggest movie theater screen, which measures a whopping 52 feet high and 120 feet wide, meaning that you'll get a good view no matter where you are in the parking lot. Open since 1956, this iconic features a concession stand, children's playground and onsite bathrooms. The theater features triple show nights on the weekends and tends to host classic movies, and cult favorites along with the latest box office hits. Check the website for showtimes and drive-in rules.
Port Discovery offers interactive fun for the whole family. The young and young at heart will enjoy the Dream Lab and the Exploration Center, where visitors make their dreams come true and learn how to make their own art and jewelry. Children are particularly amused by Port Discovery's three-story treehouse, where they are encouraged to climb, crawl, swing and slide. The museum is also a great place for your child's birthday party. See their website for further details. The museum will have special winter hours and limited weekend hours in September due to exhibit maintenance.
With over 300 acres (121 hectares) of lush greenery, this park runs through the Belair Edison neighborhood and straddles the Herring Run stream. With open fields, mature trees, tinkling stream nearby, and winding paved paths, this park is the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. The denizens of Baltimore can be found hiking, biking, dog walking or taking leisurely strolls. Two important sites within the park include monuments honoring Christopher Columbus and war veterans.