One more checked off The List: Baltimore's National Aquarium

For years and years he has been saying to me, "I'd like to visit the National Aquarium and Inner Harbor in Baltimore."  Well, I'm being kind here.  He actually says something more like, "I've never been to the Baltimore Aquarium!!"  Translation:  I really want to go!  Okay.  Okay!!  It only took us 23+ years to check this one off Kurt's bucket list, but, hey, we did it!  With Kurt's 50th birthday to celebrate, we decided to finally visit and plan a weekend getaway for the four of us!  It was well worth the adventuring for all!  

The aquarium is set up as a tiered system of tanks seemingly filled with every imaginable aquatic creature known to humankind.  This works well to keep traffic moving through in order to see everything.  There's even a tropical rainforest at the top of the triangular-looking glass building, where we discovered a hungry sloth (they move quick when their bellies rumble!) and some amazing Scarlet Ibis birds (bright red) while they enjoyed a snack.   

We viewed the "Jellies Invasion" exhibit (strangely alien-like ~ way cool!) and watched the dolphins perform their signature cuteness as they put on a playful show.  They had everyone in the audience smiling!  :)  Once we made it to the tippy-top of the aquarium and viewed most everything they had to offer, we found our way to the harbor view lookout point, where we took a break and watched the comings and goings of the boats in the harbor, including the sea-monster paddle boats.      

After a long day of traveling and exploring the aquarium, it was time to make our way to the hotel where we stayed, The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore.  But not before I got a shot of Kurt and the girls on this sculpture (thanks family!)!  Okay... Time to head to the hotel, get cleaned up and head out for dinner.  

We cannot say enough glowing, wonderful things about this boutique hotel.  Utmost in quality, cleanliness, friendliness, amenitiness (oh, I guess that's not a word, is it?).  My point being, they've thought of every detail, including putting families on the top floor - where it tends to be quieter (thank you!!!).  The hotel is a clever mix of ornate grandeur, chandelier lighting and marbled walls and staircases upon entering to quickly changing over to contemporary chic, with a tad of groovy funk.  I could have had fun all day just photographing all the unique quirks, the details and surprising stylized rooms!  When in Baltimore, definitely look up the Kimpton to meet your accommodation needs.   

We looked at the menus and local restaurants and are so glad we chose to dine at Maisy's Restaurant for the BEST lump crab cakes in town!  Having grown up with family roots from Maryland, boating on the Chesapeake as a young girl and eating fresh crab meat (pulling up the traps on the dock of my grandfather's Chris-Craft boat) and my grandmother's authentic crab cakes, I can safely say Maisy's knows what they're doing!  Superb!  

I think Emmy and I successfully threw Kurt way off when we conveniently went for a bathroom break and quietly spoke to our waiter, CJ about surprising the birthday boy with happy birthday cake for dessert!!  It worked like a charm!!  He had no idea and turned 3 shades of red!!!  Yes!  Happy Birthday again, my love!   

Sunday morning, we had some time after breakfast to relax in the Kimpton's lobby area before checking out.  We didn't have a lot of time to stick around Baltimore and do more sight-seeing, but we made the most of our weekend getaway!  It was a memorable, fun time with the family celebrating Kurt's 50th!!  Great eats, company and loads of new sights and experiences to take in and explore = happiness!!!  :)  We'll take it!