Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baltimore Aquarium


Road trip!

My friend Dawn and I decided to take our boys on a road trip to Baltimore last week to visit the Baltimore Aquarium.  It has the reputation of being a fantastic aquarium and overall great place to visit both with or without children.  Neither Nick nor I had ever been there and I was ecstatic to show him all that I had heard about.  Dawn had received a season pass from her in-laws last year and had taken them, but said that at such a young age it was a little overwhelming for them.

Fast forward a year and our boys are almost 3.  We thought for sure they would be ready to enjoy the aquarium and appreciate it on a level they couldn't possibly last year as almost 2 year olds.  And did they ever have a blast (and so did I)!  I would highly recommend to anyone anywhere remotely close to Baltimore to make the trip because it is worth it (both the drive and the admission).

Preparation and Hype
Both Dawn and I, AND our husbands are teachers.  And this is what happens when your parents are teachers.  You have lessons, okay, maybe not lessons, but rather activities (Read- enrichment.  Ha, ha.  Actually, I'm only partially kidding) leading up to the trip to the aquarium.

This was actually a Montessori lesson on wind and wind gusts, and how to make them by waving a folded newspaper.  I photocopied the fish from the book in which I found the activity, we colored them in, cut them out, and began.   Oh, and Nick also loved the fish because it reminded him of one of his favorite books Rainbow Fish.

It was such a simple activity that entertained Nick for about 30 minutes from start to finish!
This is an eternity for a toddler.  I was both shocked and happy. 

And the wind gust carries the fish away.  (See the blurry fish to the left?)

Then we purchased the sea turtle below for $2.  It is one of those things that grows gradually in the water over time.  When we started, about 4 days before our trip, the turtle fit in the palm of my hand.  When we left it was HUGE.
It quickly expanded and no longer fit in the container.
  This was somewhere in the middle.  Day 2, I think.

He's upside down, but Nick is holding a whale shark,
 or, as Nick will proudly tell you:
the largest fish in the sea.

I forgot to take a picture but I also gathered all of the sea animal books that we have in our house (and we have a lot) and a bucket of plastic sea animals, like the whale shark above, for the drive up.  They enjoyed being read to (Curious George goes to the Aquarium), and "reading" the pop up books.  And loved holding the sea animal figurines.  

Now, before you make fun of me, or feel sorry for our poor children (lol), I think it really got the boys excited about the journey up there, and that they got more out of visiting the aquarium, because they were so well acquainted with so much of what they saw there.

Of course, you know there had to be some sort of baking involved.  I went for cookies this time as a special treat for our ride home.  You know that I don't really do cookies that often, not this kind anyway.  I keep wanting to try my hand at piping and flooding, and I am excited to say I think they turned out pretty darn well.  I used a glaze and not royal icing which is the standard for this kind of cookie.  Royal icing is primarily egg whites to which my son is allergic, so needless to say I can't use it, but in all honesty, the glaze tastes better and was easier for me to work with.  At any rate,  see below the orcas and clown fish I made for the little men.
Clown fish a.k.a. Nemo

Orcas.  Yeah, killer whales were more interesting to me than dolphins.

Very cool, if I do say so myself.
The boys studied their names
when they were given their cookies on the ride home.
Then they said the letters out loud.
 It was fun to see them process their names being on the fish.
  You could just see the wheels turning.

The Aquarium
Without further ado, here are our adventures at the aquarium.  Much fun was had by all, and as you can see by the closing photo we were pooped in the end.  What an amazing time.
Leopard shark and a ray.

Well, hello there.

Nick and Auntie Clare (who was able to meet us there, yay!) get pumped for the dolphin show.

Striking jelly

Cal gets a closer look.

Pretty awesome

Mother-son portrait

Lion fish

Clark among the ever popular bubble tubes

And we're outta here.
 What a day!

Dawn posted a blog about our trip too.  Check it out here.


  1. Love it! Very cool cookies Aimee!

    1. Thank you friend :-). You forgot to leave your name though.

  2. Thank you for sharing! I can relate to the teacher aspect and agree - Baltimore Aquarium is really cool. The cookies are gorgeous and I love the mother/son portrait. Love ya! Adrian

    1. Adrian- thank you for your sweet comments and shout out on your blog by the way. All I can say is I cannot wait for you to bring Milo home so we can create lessons and take him on adventures to cool place with themed baked goods.
      I heart you!

  3. That's so awesome. I think it's great that you made it a learning experience...those boys are very lucky :-) Can't wait to bring Addison along when she's a little bigger....maybe Nick can teach her a thing or two haha. LOVE the cookies, too!

  4. Ashley,
    I'm getting a lot more love on the leading lessons which I'm happy to hear. I thought for sure I'd be teased for torturing my two year old. Believe me I cannot wait for Nicholas to hold Addison's hand guiding her around his favorite museums describing the attractions to her. What a vision- lol.
    I miss you by the way. Need my newborn fix!

  5. Oh it seems like forever away, but I'm sure the time will fly by! I can't wait :-)