This is a great place if you'd like to have your own aquarium in your house. They sell tropical fish in many colors, equipment (large tanks, coral, rocks, filters, cleaning supplies), and since tropical fish are much different than a goldfish, they have books and magazines on caring for them - afterall, your aquarium will need a fine-tuned hand. The staff is very knowledgeable and will help you get started by asking questions and offering suggestions. Excellent place to start your aquarium.
Once you go to the Baltimore National Aquarium, you'll want to return for multiple visits thereafter. This is the most impressive aquarium I've seen, and it deserves every ounce of the attention and glory it's received. You travel through glass walkways and are surrounded by gallons of water, dozens of sharks and sting rays, and an infinite amount of marine life - you're completely engolfed in this mysterious world. I've never seen anything quite like it.
CONS: Can be quite crowded; purchase tickets ahead of time
This aquarium is housed under the Commerce Dept. Building - a very obscure location for an aquarium! They have some rare fish - like a venomous lionfish. One spectacle worth noting is the feeding of hungry alligators, piranhas (those are some mean fish!!), and sharks, with some fun information about all of them. I love the colorful plants, coral, and marine species - this is a great way to spend a part of your day.
PROS: Up-close, Intimate
I spent months in my 8th grade Social Studies class learning about each war, and what particularly stood out was Antietam, the world's bloodiest battle. Here, you have the opportunity to see the actual battlefield where 23,000 were killed or injured gravely. You begin at the visitor's center, perusing some artwork, then receive an audio tape to listen to on the 8 mile drive around the battlefield, filled with historical information. There are hiking trails, and it's really quite scenic -and very insightful to where the most blood was shed on American soil.
CONS: Large - not meant for walking!!
This is a terrific museum that honors the African American soliders and troops who fought in the Civil War and contributed greatly to the North's victory. After the victory, however, none of the black troops were invited to celebrate and stand together strong after their combined efforts, and this museum now honors them as the heros that they are. The granite wall etched with names of soldiers is well-researched; it's amazing they were able to dig so far back into history and conjure a list of names to give the credit the soldiers deserve. A truly wonderful museum.
From a distance, Phillips Collection museum may look like somebody's home. However, don't be fooled - it's actually an extensive museum to one of my favorite styles of paintings: impressionism. It's here I got to see Renoirs "Le Dejuner des Canotiers" (Luncheon of the Boating Party) up-close and in person, after writing essays on it for my college French course. I got to experience Monet and Manet, and see for myself how blurry the paintings looked up-close, and see the individual dots, but how complete the images looked from afar. Absolutely incredible.
This is a great art museum to learn about American and European artists, and get a taste of their paintings. It shines light on fantastic painters of the past centuries who may not have had as much fame and glory as DiVinci, Monet, or Manet have had. From visiting, I learned a great deal about artists I'd never heard of and now have a newfound love for the works of Thomas Cole. As it shifts to the 21st century, there's interactive camera art and more modern artwork to view. Amazing collection of historical pieces and modern-day innovations.
This is one unique, relatively inexpensive ($14/adult) museum that showcases international espionnage. Its most recent feature is a simulated atom bomb that counts down from ten to one, then causes the whole ground to shake. The experience was really scary, but it made me appreciate the military for protecting our country. Another scary moment is the headphone room, which picks up on conversations captured at various places in the museum - a perfectly legal concept. Anyway, this is a very cool place to learn about espionnage and tactics we have to counter it.
PROS: Very unique
CONS: Lines can be long; purchase passes ahead of time!
Wow, this art gallery houses more than 100,000 artistic creations in two gigantic buildings, and will take weeks to see everything in great detail. The spawn of art work dates back to the Middle Ages, up until the present time, so you can see how art has developed over time. The gallery twists and turns from one exhibit to the next, and I'm always afraid I've missed something while navigating through!! The artwork is extensive: steel sculptures, marble creations, delicate portraits, life-sized carvings, and everything in between. For an art afficionado, this museum truly is like Heaven. I recommend bringing a friend - it's enjoyable to talk about what each piece symbolizes.
This museum offers the chance to learn about the history of space exploration. One notable section is the Milestone and Space, which houses five floating planes, two standing missles, and a moon rock which you can touch. It's impressive to see the light and fragile space shuttle John Glenn orbited in.
My other two favorite features were the IMAX cinema and the Albert Einstein Planetarium, which is undoubtedly the best and largest planetarium I've ever been to. It has crisp stars and constellations projected above - I can spend all day gazing at them!
In the gift shop, I got to taste some astronaut food - this is a real experience! The ice cream has the consistency of cardboard, but melts in your mouth and is warm, but good! The pizza isn't very good - it's very hard, not too tasty (don't expect it to taste like pizza) - but it is cool to see how astronauts eat!!!