By Christian Kendzierski

Inner Harbor – Baltimore
East Pratt and Light Streets along Baltimore’s harbor

Photo Credit:

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, literally built on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, offers exciting fun and great food for every member of the family, from your eldest teen to your youngest toddler – and all within walking distance.

Baltimore or Charm City’s Inner Harbor sits on what used to be the city’s main port for commerce, shipping and water-fare activity. Now the vibrant and picturesque waterfront is home to many restaurants, national attractions, professional sporting events and arenas, concert halls, historical sites and naturally, some nautical adventure.

National Aquarium
501 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore
Hours: Mon. – Thu.: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri. & Sat.: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Ages 3-11: $19.95
Ages 12 -59: $24.95
Ages 60+: $23.95

Photo credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

You won’t feel like a fish out of water at the National Aquarium.  Providing naturalistic habitats for more than 16,000 creatures from the monstrous to the minute, at the National Aquarium you can experience everything from tropical fish, sharks, and lizards to jellyfish and dolphin shows; even explore a coral reef and a rainforest!  The National Aquarium also offers Behind the Scenes tours including Sleep Over With the Sharks, where kids ages 8 and up spend the night learning about sharks, feed them breakfast and if bold enough can catwalk atop the shark tank…whoah!  Check out its website for ticket prices.

Fort McHenry – National Monument and Historic Shrine
2400 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore
Park Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Ages 16+: $7
Under 16: Free Admission

(410) 962-4290

Reviews, Directions & More Info

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Fort McHenry, also the birthplace of the National Anthem, is a short water-taxi ride right into one of the major battles of the War of 1812.  Here you can learn about the Battle of Baltimore and our nation’s history and imagine the battle as it took place, one that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words we now sing in our National Anthem.  Experience the Enlistmen’s Quarters, the 1814 Guard House, uniform and weapons on display, as well as videos that help take you back in time. Make the Visitors Center your first stop.

Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Place, Baltimore
Hours: Mon. – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
(410) 727-8120

Ages 2+: $18.95

Reviews, Directions & More Info

Photo Credit: Port Discovery

Come climb, crawl and slide your way into exploration at Port Discovery Children’s Museum where hands-on learning and play is the way to teach and spark the imagination of little ones. With three floors of educational, interactive exhibits, constantly changing programs for kids ages 2-10 and a three story urban tree house, time is sure to fly by in the mecca of fun and discovery.

Baltimore Water Taxi
With stops located throughout the Baltimore Harbor
May-1 – Sept. 5

Mon-Sat 10am-11pm
Sun 10am-9pm

Photo Credit: Baltimore Water Taxi

What is the best way to experience Baltimore’s Inner Harbor…get in the HARBOR of course!  Locals and visitors alike take advantage of the water taxi that goes from Fort McHenry to the Inner Harbor connecting everything in between. Explore the unique waterfront neighborhoods one minute, and be shopping or dining the next. The Baltimore Water Taxi makes soaking up the Inner Harbor easy – and kids ride free on Wednesdays (June-October).

Baltimore Maritime Museum
Pier 1
301 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Hours vary

Photo Credit: Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

Unlike your typical indoor museum, the Baltimore Maritime Museum in the Inner Harbor is made of docked ships and a lighthouse that once served the Chesapeake Bay.  Imagine the history seen by these vessels …surviving an attack on Pearl Harbor, witnessing hostile confrontation during WWII, fighting the Transatlantic Slave Trade, – kids will love climbing aboard the polished wooden deck and imagining what life was like as they touch first hand the brass wheel of the Lightship Chesapeake, peek around the bunks, navigate the narrow passages and compare themselves to the towering anchor! The adventure is fun and affordable; admission prices, $8; $6 seniors; $4 children.

Christian Kendzierski spends most of his time as a media specialist at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.  He also works as a freelance writer and lives in Baltimore.  See what’s going in his world by following him at @ck1media.