So yesterday, I took The Spud to Baltimore. Fort McHenry and the USS Torsk are always good for kids to see, and the Aquarium looked like a good bet, too. I also figured he'd like the water taxis, and we'd try some decent seafood since I know that he's never had that opportunity before.
The drive into Baltimore was good, but once downtown, I overshot my turn point and wound up down on Broadway, where I was surprised to observe literally hundreds of working-age hispanic males just sitting around in a couple of parks and on many of the stoops. Where the hell did these guys come from? It's 9:30 in the morning and many are drinking already. None are apparently working, and I can't help but wonder why ICE isn't down here with big nets. Seriously--it looked like they were waiting for a parade to start, there were so many of them. Maryland, you need to clean up your mess; it's no wonder that Casa de Maryland--a state taxpayer-funded illegal alien advocacy group--has so much power in your legislature. If all of these layabouts and their compatriots in the state ever get the right to vote en masse like Obama and his labor union cronies want to see happen, it'll be all over for the working people in your state.
After that brief detour, we wound up down at the Inner Harbor, where I got gouged $20.00 to park for the day. Then we wandered over to the aquarium where I got hit with an admission price that made me forget all about the parking fee. I would have walked off right there had it been just me, but this was for the kid. So...
We saw exhibits on Australian wildlife, rays, turtles, and the dolphin show. While not up to Sea World standards, the dolphin show was amusing even discounting the strong emphasis on environmentalist propaganda.
My only real critique is that the three girls working with the dolphins--and dressed in skin-tight wetsuits--could clearly all use a gym membership as part of their compensation package. Hot chicks in wetsuits would have made this an A+ show, but that's just me being incorrigibly sexist again. Still--for the money those tickets cost...
After a couple of hours there, we saw pretty much everything from jellyfish to sharks. We grabbed a quick (and overpriced) lunch nearby and dropped in on the USS Torsk (SS423), moored next to the aquarium.
And here's Spud up next to the sail. WHY can't kids ever just stand up straight?
I'll do another post on Torsk later, but suffice it to say that Spud enjoyed this exploration about as much as he did last year's visit to USS Cod in Cleveland. Here he is in the sub's enlisted mess, as close to his native habitat as any place on the boat.
Next, we took a water taxi out to Fort McHenry. It was Spud's first time out on a real boat and he was just going crazy watching the other boats and the sea birds.
Here I explained to Spud how the British tried to capture Baltimore in 1814, only to fail in their efforts to reduce or bypass this fort. It was here that Francis Scott Key found the inspiration for the Star Spangled Banner as he watched the bombardment of the fort by the British Navy.
Here's Spud, directing the batteries against the British ships...or the cement freighter across the river.As purists can surely tell, the 1812-era guns are gone, replaced by Civil-War-era Rodman guns, the largest of which weighed 50,000lbs and hurled a 440-pound shell several miles. If the fort had had these back in 1814, the British would have gotten a fine comeuppance for attacking and burning our capital just a few weeks prior.
As you can see, the boy takes his devotion to the defense of our nation seriously.
After checking out the fort, we took another water taxi back to Fell's Point, had dinner followed by ice cream, and called it a day.
Spud really enjoyed himself, and as I write this, he's still chattering on about all the things he saw and did, which is about the only thing that makes the expense of the day worth it. I never realized how expensive kids can be...I mean, it's like ponying up for a good date, only without the expected prize at the end of it.
But he had fun and did a lot of things that he's never done before, so it was worth it.