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Itching for an end-of-summer day trip? Try Baltimore

August 12, 2005|by LISA PREJEAN

We've been trying to squeeze in some day trips these last few weeks before school. It's almost as if we're grasping at time, afraid that it will slip through our fingers. Our children will be a year older before we know it, and we want to enjoy them as much as possible.

Well, the reality is that the kids are tired of Mom giving advice on how they can reconcile their differences. Mom will go stir crazy if she tries to organize one more drawer or corner. And Dad doesn't want to face his brown grass any longer.

A day trip cures all those ills plus many more.

Traveling into a city is always an adventure for our kids, and they were not disappointed on a recent day spent in Baltimore. The highlight of our trip was a performance of "The Lion King" at the Hippodrome Theatre. The tickets were a Christmas gift, and we truly cherished the matinee performance.

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We decided to make a day of it, catching lunch at a cafe that was a few blocks from the theater. While walking to the restaurant, my son was fascinated by a pigeon. He wondered out loud why we only have robins, cardinals and hummingbirds around our house.

"Pigeons mostly live in the cities," his father explained.

There were a few peanuts on the ground that the pigeons were trying to eat. My son cracked a shell with his heel so the pigeon could get at the nuts.

"Ah, makin' it easy for him, you are," a friendly voice said.

We turned to see a lady on a bench tossing peanuts to the birds. She smiled and nodded her head in approval.

My son looked down, a little embarrassed that his good deed had been noticed by a stranger. (See, there are friendly people in cities.)

As we ate our lunch, the kids were amazed to see a high-rise hotel right across the street from the little cafe. A little boy on about the 10th floor had climbed between the curtains and the window, and was bouncing on what we assumed was a bed. Then he stood spread eagle against the window looking down at the street. My kids thought that was hilarious. I breathed a prayer that the window was locked and that his mother would discover him soon.

She did. That was the end of that show.

Part of what makes a day trip so much fun are the experiences you share with your family.

My husband and I often remind each other that whatever activity we do with the kids, "It's all what you make of it."

Fun can be had doing just about anything, anywhere, anyplace. Most of the time, the least expensive things are the most enjoyable.

In his book "Baltimore with Children," Mike Strzelecki introduces families to unexpected adventures. The best part is that these adventures can be reached within two hours.

So if you are itching to get in one more day trip before the school year starts, here are some of Strzelecki's suggestions for a day of family fun:

n Fort McHenry National Monument on the Locust Point Peninsula - This is "one of the city's most scenic lairs, offering wide-lens views of the harbor," according to Strzelecki.

There is a paved walking and biking trail that loops its way along the waterfront. Wide, open spaces invite you to watch the boats on the water.

As you're relaxing by the waterfront, talk of the War of 1812 and how Francis Scott Key was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" during a battle fought on these waters.

For more information, go to www.nps.gov/fomc on the Web.

- Heritage walks - Three-mile walking loop featuring 20 historical landmarks. Walks begin at the Civil War-era U.S.S. Constellation, the centerpiece vessel of Inner Harbor. Featured areas include the Inner Harbor, Little Italy, historic Jonestown and City Center. For more information, go to www.baltimore.org/visitors/v_wt_heritage_walk.html.

We've been trying to squeeze in some day trips these last few weeks before school. It's almost as if we're grasping at time, afraid that it will slip through our fingers. Our children will be a year older before we know it, and we want to enjoy them as much as possible.

Well, the reality is that the kids are tired of Mom giving advice on how they can reconcile their differences. Mom will go stir crazy if she tries to organize one more drawer or corner. And Dad doesn't want to face his brown grass any longer.

A day trip cures all those ills plus many more.

Traveling into a city is always an adventure for our kids, and they were not disappointed on a recent day spent in Baltimore. The highlight of our trip was a performance of "The Lion King" at the Hippodrome Theatre. The tickets were a Christmas gift, and we truly cherished the matinee performance.

We decided to make a day of it, catching lunch at a cafe that was a few blocks from the theater. While walking to the restaurant, my son was fascinated by a pigeon. He wondered out loud why we only have robins, cardinals and hummingbirds around our house.

"Pigeons mostly live in the cities," his father explained.

There were a few peanuts on the ground that the pigeons were trying to eat. My son cracked a shell with his heel so the pigeon could get at the nuts.

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