Animal Tuesday

May 13, 2003


As a new parent, one of the things you quickly notice is how family friendly your old hot spots are. For example, the wife and I were quite impressed with Don Pablos. They invited the three of us in and offered a cool little contraption that would cradle our child’s baby seat. Similarly, Texas Steaks offered us a booth. Our little child stayed perched atop that table, resting while mom and dad ate some shrimp and ribs. Today, I was surprised to find a place nestled in the heart of Baltimore that provided an experience quite the opposite. Unfortunately for us that place, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, was our destination.

It seems that the Aquarium, in all their wisdom, has decided that strollers are the bane of the universe. These evil little devices clog the hallways and generally make it difficult to get anywhere. Kids on wheels? I don’t think so. Park those suckers right by there by the door. They’ll be there when you return with tired arms and a struggling child against your chest. Trust us.

The cold wind of the inner harbor battered off the ticket window as I took this in. Let’s see. I took off today. We gathered our things and child into the car. We picked up a friend and their young child and drove to the inner harbor. We found a parking garage and made the trek to the Aquarium where the aforementioned wind was quickly turning the face of my friend’s daughter blue. I don’t think so.

Disappointed, we turned away.

I have to say, I was surprised. The Aquarium must certainly attract a family crowd. Asking me to leave my possessions behind and use (what I believe is a rented) public (almost assuredly disease carrying) carrier isn’t my idea of friendly. Maybe we should have read the fine print. Might I suggest a new sign, right next to the ticket prices:

Children are welcome, provided they can walk and walk the whole time. Otherwise, please stay home until you are three, in which case you can pay to get in.

We didn’t let this spoil our day, though. We found our aquarium in a new location: Outdoor World in Arundel Mills. It may not have had sharks but I saw fish. See? We took pictures. In my book, that counts.

We spent most of our morning up at the mall, letting the dreary weather swirl around outside. We had some lunch and visited the Children’s Place, a store I will likely return to for both shopping and playing. The center of their store is one big playground.

We might not have had the sights and sounds we expected but, as usual, the company was good. Cambell got some fresh air and I didn’t spend the day slumped over my keyboard (right now doesn’t count). I’ll just have to remember that next time I start thinking about fish, I better start thinking about bringing my backpack.

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