In case you missed last week’s post, I’m attempting to have a field trip (re: adventure) with my son every week this summer. Work is important. And I still work. But I’m learning to rearrange my schedule and work smarter so that I can spend more time with Evan guilt-free.
Last week, I wrote about how I ended up taking him to a one-day conference with me in Philadelphia. I had grand plans to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and maybe even the Camden Aquarium. Instead, I ended up with $2000 in damage to my car and a long ride back.
(Side note: it was still worth it for the cheesesteak.)
This week, I invited my husband along on our next adventure. It may or may not have had something to do with knowing parking in a parking garage would be required.
By the way, if you ever go in and out of the city, you HAVE use this website called BestParking.com. It is absolutely the best at finding you the cheapest parking rates near the area or attraction you pick. Because I am willing to walk a few extra blocks to save $3. They also have apps for lots of mobile devices so check it out (I use it exclusively on my iPhone).
After finding fantastic parking for cheap, we took a quick stroll down Gay Street and got to have a nice little conversation about architecture at the United States Custom House.
Oh, this field trip was off to a good start.
As we approached our true destination, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, we whipped out our membership card and walked right in. For attractions that we love and want to support, we think nothing of buying the membership. You get access to members-only events, discounts on food and shopping, and you’re supporting a nonprofit organization (see also: tax deductible).
Our field trip was on a Sunday and we got there just in time for a late lunch. I’d been wanting to try the Harbor Market Kitchen cafe because I’d heard there was a very good chef behind the scenes. And really, I felt good about the effort they put into their food (I loved the chicken salad special).
After lunch, we headed off directly to the jellyfish and dolphins. Until we got sidetracked. But could you not stop for a leopard gecko right in front of you?
But we did eventually head off and stopped to check out the dolphin show. Only this time, they told us that they don’t have “shows.” They just have various dolphin behaviors showcased throughout the day.
This is definitely a change from when we’ve been there before. And if this has anything to do with Blackfish, I’m more than happy to simply watch the dolphins swim around. The jellies, however, were floating around happily in captivity.
I still, however, need convincing that this creature is NOT from another planet.
… and taking our time wandering through the rainforest trying to identify all the colorful birds.
We finished in the usual way: a long way down through the “shark tank,” an aquarium that surrounds you with nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks, and sandbar sharks. I even saw a nurse shark with a loose tooth – just like Evan!
We finished in one of our new favorites: the Blacktip Reef, an extremely close replica of a real coral reef full of brightly colored fish, blacktip reef sharks, and, of course, Calypso, the three-legged green sea turtle.
And this is the coolest part. We can still watch them from the comfort of our home.
After I flat out refused to even entertain the notion of a souvenir, I agreed to “just look” in the gift shop. I ended up snatching a beautiful batik bag and caved when Evan asked me if he could get a stuffer hammerhead shark. Because hammerheads are cool, right?
With souvenirs in hand and a kid telling me, “Mommy, I had a great day,” I was tempted to end our trip right there. But I just couldn’t.
On our way back to our parking garage, we literally walked right past the Holocaust Memorial. Even at the tender age of 7, I wanted Evan to see it.
At the base: “Those who cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it.”
“On both sides of the track
rows of red and white lights appeared as far as the eye could see…
…with the rhythm of the wheels, with every human sound now silenced,
we awaited what was to happen.
…in an instant, our women, our parents, our children disappeared.
We saw them for a short while as an obscure mass at the other end of the platform.
Then we saw nothing more.”
– Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
We had a good conversation. We touched on the symbolism at the memorial. We talked about the fragments of train tracks on the grounds of the memorial. Then we headed back to our car to return home.
I’d say that for a field trip, it was a pretty good day of learning.