We started our day at the Riverbanks Zoo. Let me just say I LOVE this zoo!! It is probably not the best zoo for the animals but it is the best zoo for visitors.  We got in free with our aquarium pass but I wish I had splurged and gotten the unlimited ride bracelet. Next time we will stay longer and get the bracelet for the kids at least. Claire loved feeding the giraffe where they ate out of her hand. It is not like the NC Zoo where you hold out a long stick and they may come and get a bite. She also loved feeding the birds. They were all over her including on her head. The zoo had two movies, ride the pony,  a train, a carousel, and a climbing wall that we did not do that are all on the ride bracelet. They also have a ropes course that is extra.  We saw the Aquarium Diving Demo and it was awesome. I have seen several divers at other aquariums but this one was by far the best.  They have a different show about every half our so you could spend a day doing that. There were very low crowds and not a huge amount of walking for a zoo. We will be back and plan to spend the day!!



Next stop was Edventure, the Children’s Museum. We had been several years ago but the kids barely remember. They loved Ed and climbing in his brain and stomach. Claire liked playing in the Vet of course. Cobey liked being the weatherman and tearing down his building with the bulldozer. I wish we had spent more time at the zoo and less time here. Two hours would have been enough here but they had a good time. Cobey got a little bored but Claire stayed entertained.

We then went across the parking lot to the night at the museum at SC State Museum with Carolina Homeschoolers. We had to wait for the museum to close and for our group to be allowed in so we read some while we waited. When we got in they showed us to our sleeping spots where we dropped off our stuff.  The second floor is a bad natural science museum. The third floor has some cool space and interactive science exhibits. The fourth floor has some cool history exhibits. Claire liked the Hunley and schoolhouse exhibit. Cobey liked the Revolutionary and Civil War exhibits. Big surprise. They had special activities on each floor. They had a star lab which was the best activity. They had a station with colonial games, tasting station with hard tack, grits and coffee and a station to make butter. We had gone to bed last night at 10:30 but it was hard to get to sleep because the exhibit we were next time had an African slave song playing over and over. They did not know how to turn it out off and it was not exactly lullaby music. Many people were very upset and most moved to another area. Our group took it in stride. Do you really expect to go to a museum to sleep and think it will be perfectly quite? Anyway, it went off around midnight. It was neat to explore the museum after hours with so few people. The next morning we got to tour the traveling BodyWorks exhibit which was AWESOME!! It was my favorite part by far. I am glad we had the experience of sleeping in the museum.  I am glad we did it but I don’t know if I would pay the money to do it again. I thought many times during the nights for the amount I paid I could be sleeping in a  nice hotel right now.

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Baltimore- Day Two

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Saturday Oct 8, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Military Museums, National Parks, Travel

We had a rough start to the day. No one had slept well. We stayed at Hilton Garden and the hotel was fine except Claire did not get her french toast which is her favorite thing there. And they don’t know how to cook grits this far north. Cobey and Bruce haves colds so the first stop was the CVS. We then tried to find our way to Fort McHenry. We were very close but it took almost an hour. There was first a VERY long VERY slow train that came to a stop. We then try to find our way around the train when we find a bridge out that we had to navigate around. We were only a few miles from the fort but it took forever.

Cobey loved the visitor center. His favorite part was the interactive time line. He liked how “modern” it was. The visitor center is small but has a great movie and some interesting exhibits. The fort is well preserved and has displays in most of the buildings.  You could also walk around the outside and top of the fort. The kids did the Junior Ranger program which was okay but not a stand out at all.

The fort is famous for the battle during the War 1812 where Frances Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. The fort was also used during the civil was as a prison and World War I as a hospital. Bruce and Cobey said the fort was their favorite part of the day.

We then headed back to Inner Harbor for the Star Spangled Banner Museum and the Flag Museum.  They have a small museum with a film. The film was interesting but was hard to hear and understand. We then got a guided tour of the house where the flag that flew over Fort McHenry was made. This was my favorite part of the day. I learned the flag at that time had 15 stripes and that it was put together in a brewery across the street. The tour guide was interesting and informative. The picture is showing how big the actual flag would have been. Amazing!! Claire loved the room inside the museum where she got to dress up and pretend to cook by the fire.

We finally made it to what Cobey had been asking for the Historic Ships We first went into the USS Torsk a submarine. There is no guide, no audio and very little printed information. It is interesting to walk thru and get a size perspective. I really liked the USS Constellation. There is a great audio tour – one version for adults and one for kids. I listened to the kid one and it was very good at teaching about the boat and what life would be like on the boat. It did not get into what kind of action the ship saw. You get to see all four levels of the ship and Cobey even got to try out the sleeping arrangements.  This tour turned out really good.

The last stop was the dragon paddle boats for Claire. She had been asking to go on the them for two days. We decided we enjoyed the Sawn boats in Boston better. You got to relax more and the scenery was nicer.

We ended up getting the museum membership for the Historic Ships. It is better than a Go Card!  Our membership will last till Dec 2012 and gets us in free to over 15 Baltimore History Museums and over 30 Maritime Museums.  Some of the museums are already free so look carefully to see if it will pay off for you.  As much as we travel I know it will pay for itself very soon!

We at at Denny’s because Saturday is Kids Eat Free! We are at the Embassy Suites tonight and the kids had a great time at the pool. Now for a good nights sleep.

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