Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Exploring Baltimore

Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 After breakfast the Island Hopper Crew donned rain gear to greet the misty wet day. They boarded the water taxi for Fort McHenry. The star-shape fort is forever associated with Francis Scott Key and "The Star-Spangled Banner," which Key penned while watching the British bombardment of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Key had been detained onboard a truce ship, where he had been negotiating the release of one Dr. William Beanes, when the bombardment began; Key knew too much about the attack plan to be released. Through the next day and night, as the battle raged, Key strained be sure, through the smoke and the haze, that the flag still flew above Fort McHenry - indicating the Baltimore's defenders held firm. "By the dawn's early light" of September 14, 1814, he saw the 30 - foot by 42- foot "Star-Spangled Banner" still aloft and was inspired to pen the words to a poem. The flag that flew above Fort McHenry that day had 15 stars and 15 stripes, and was hand-sewn for the fort. A visit to the fort includes a
15 - minute history film, guided tour, and frequent living - history displays on summer weekends.
From the fort the dampened crew took a water taxi to a restaurant for lunch and then back on the water taxi to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
The aquarium is the most visited attraction in Maryland and has more than 10,000 fish, sharks, dolphins, and amphibians dwelling in 2 million gallons of water. The Animal Planet Australia; Wild Extremes exhibits mics a river running through a gorge. The aquarium also features reptiles, birds, plants, and mammals in its rain- forest environment, inside a glass pyramid 64 feet high. The design of the aquarium is amazing and the fish were beautiful to watch. After an action packed day the Island Hopper Crew stayed at Inner Harbor for dinner at the Rusty Scupper. The seafood dinners were wonderful.

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