Editorial note: I am writing this post a number of months past the fact and then post-dating it.
I had wanted for a long time to visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore with the kids. The price of admission for our family, however, was crazy expensive. Given their age and attention spans, I really couldn't justify the cost. Thankfully, they have a homeschool program. Twice a month they hold an hour-long class for the homeschool student on varying themes. In addition to the class, the child and up to two chaperones receive a reduced admission ticket. This cut the cost of admission for our family in half which made it much more affordable.
Even after finding out the homeschool details, I put off going. I thought it would be a good late winter/early spring activity--something to do indoors while the weather was less than ideal for outside exploring. However, with our sudden change of plans including a new job and a cross-country move, I placed the visit on high priority. For a while there, it looked like my procrastination meant we would not be able to go at all. Luckily, it all worked out.
Finn had a short class on the water cycle, and then we met up with Mr. F. and Enna to check out the dolphins who were practicing. Later we took a gander through the aquarium. The sharks were the most fascinating but also the most scary (made even more so by the dimly lit room and the sinister music playing in the background.) I expected the kids to be more blown away by the whole experience than they were, but on the whole, it was a fun family outing.
We were able to find a place to eat that touted an extremely "allergy friendly" menu for lunch. Unfortunately, the food was mediocre at best, and the gluten-free grilled cheese that Finn ordered had to be the saddest grilled cheese that I have ever encountered. A more accurate description would be: droopy, room-temperature, sliced cheese placed on stale gluten-free cardboard-bread. Poor guy deserved a lot better. Honestly though, the kids just enjoyed being in a new city and experiencing new things which just goes to show how it pays to set the bar low.
More pictures can be found on my flickr photostream.