It’s halfway through July and more than halfway through Evan’s summer vacation. The days I have left to cross items off our summer bucket list are growing shorter. But I refuse to pressure myself to have fun.
Wait. That sounds wrong.
I mean, that I don’t want to overplan and overschedule and never stop to enjoy how we are spending our time together whether it’s planned or unplanned. But last week, he was bored. I was bored. It was time to get out of the house.
With our Family membership to the National Aquarium in Baltimore expiring at the end of the month, I thought it would be a good time to take advantage of our free admission. Of course, nothing is actually free in Baltimore. The parking is an investment in itself. But using the Best Parking app, I found my trusty old low rate parking garage that was close to the aquarium and a new lunch spot in Baltimore I’ve been dying to make it to: Shake Shack!
We fueled up on tasty burgers and cheese fries and washed it down with a chocolate shake (well, HE did; I stuck to a Diet Coke) and even Periscoped it all. Then, after many weird stares (what? why?) we headed across the street to one of our favorite spots: the National Aquarium in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.
We’ve been there many times so I wasn’t sure how much of a discovery experience this would be for him. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at what the day held in store for us.
Starting with a photography lesson. Evan is just starting to take an interest in video and photography (he’s even learned how to use iMovie on his iPad this summer!) so I took a moment to teach him a valuable lesson about lighting. I showed him the before and after and – lesson learned. Next!We stopped by the fairly new Black Tip Reef Shark exhibit which I still find amazing from any level or angle. And we waved hello to the three-flipper tortoise, Calypso.
Then we headed upstairs to see the various fish exhibits and wait a second… what is all this? We were pleasantly surprised by a new hands-on exhibit that not only allowed but encourage us to touch stingrays, horseshoe crabs, starfish, and even jellyfish. And we did it all! It was well-supervised, well-maintained, and educational.
But our amazement and delight wasn’t over yet. Next topic was camouflage. Can you see the fish on top and on the left? Can you see the seahorse on the right?
Yes, the camouflage is definitely one of my favorite parts. Until this.
I’ve seen the octopus many times there. Well, I’ve tried to see the octopus. She’s usually tucked away in the corner and you can maybe catch a glimpse of one of her tentacles. The day we went, it was as if she was putting on a show just for us. We both admitted that it made the entire trip worthwhile.
We finished the day by visiting the rainforest, spotting the poison frogs, and gawking at the colorful crustaceans.
And when the day was over, I only had one rule: NO SOUVENIRS. Evan is a notorious shopper (as am I) and we have a ridiculous amount of things that we don’t need. So I stuck to my guns and insisted there would be no souvenirs, especially since we’d been there multiple times. But I did want to stop in the gift shop “just to look.” And before I knew it, I walked out the proud owner of a new octopus. You call it spoiling him. I call it making memories.
Now go enjoy your Friday!
My mom got me a mug for Mother’s Day that says M.O.M. on it – Maker of Memories. So, there you have it. Total justification for the octopus!