I’m a day late and probably more than on dollar short on this post, but oh, well!
The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland celebrated 35 years yesterday. As a child I spent from the ages of 4 until 10 in Baltimore. As we were getting ready to leave Baltimore, MD for New York, NY the aquarium was getting started. The architecture was novel and lots of folk hated it! It was unique and quirky, like the town that was going to house it. The inner harbour was not the hipster place that it is now, but it was the start of the shift to making it an area that would become the tourist draw of today. Most folk know of Baltimore firstly, because of the HBO series, “The Wire“. For better or worse, it was an incredibly popular show internationally. So, if I mention B’more folk recognise it. “Oh, ‘The Wire’ town. Cool! Is it really that bad?!?” The funny thing about shows is that usually they are finite in their description of the universe it is creating, and yet those watching begin to believe the whole place n be as corrupt or drug and gang filled. I am happy to say, that Baltimore is a town full of wonderful and welcoming people. And, NO, “The Wire” does not portray all of Baltimore, only a finite portion of a town rich in culture(s) and history. I mean, seriously. We’re also the home of Ft. McHenry that saw the War of 1812 and the creation of the National Anthem (USA) by Francis Scott Key. We’re the home of John Waters, father of “Hairspray” (1988 saw the original screenplay come to the silver screen, but in 2002 it was turned into a musical and found a new cult following) and other mind-blowing films. We’re the home of Cal Ripken, Jr. and the Orioles. We’re the home of the best crab cakes in the world! (my humble and outspoken opinion!) We’re the home of Edgar Allan Poe, or at least his last known residence and resting place. And the original hometown of Ira Glass, founder of “This American Life” most notably played on National Public Radio and Public Radio International. But back to the aquarium!
It’s a great place to visit. If you find yourself in the Washington, D.C. area it’s worth a trip up for a day. I usually feel sorry for foreign traveler who are used to trains that take you everywhere you might want to go, and mass transit in towns that cover everywhere you need to be. The USA put it’s money in a highway system rather than trains. We have Dwight Eisenhower to thank for that and his time running through Europe during the Second World War on the Autobahn. He fell in love with the roads and the speeds. So for those visiting it can be a nasty shock that you cannot always get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and easily as you might at home. However, getting from D.C. up to Baltimore and seeing what’s to be seen is pretty easy. The Maryland Marc train is fairly inexpensive and the Amtrak is too as a commuter between the cities.
Once you’re in the Inner Harbour the aquarium looms large over the other things down in that area of town. We love going and seeing what’s new. It is a bit pricey, but when you figure in all that they Aquarium does not only in terms of education, but conservation, I think it’s worth it to help support the good work that is being done by those working there.
Happy Birthday, Aquarium! We’ll come by and see you soon.