The Bay and the Beach - Page 2

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The City by the Bay: Baltimore, MD  (Corbis)

Day 3: Annapolis to Baltimore (30 Miles)
Drive about 40 minutes north to Baltimore. With just a day, make the Inner Harbor your base. Start by visiting the National Aquarium (410.576.3800; www.aqua.org), which has a staggering collection of sea life, including a spectacular multi-leveled ramp with all sorts of marine life swimming around you. At the new section of the Aquarium entitled "Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes," see flying foxes, freshwater crocodiles, snake-necked turtles, pythons, and rainbow lorikeets. "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors," also new, showcases these grunting, chirping, hopping critters. Two-hour immersion tours (www.aqua.org/immersiontours.html; sign-up in advance) take you behind the scenes. The Dolphin Play Tour, for ages five and older, puts you in the marine mammal pavilion for a close-up look at the dolphins and how they learn to play with balls, hula hoops, and other toys.

For lunch, you can get burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe (410.347.ROCK; www.hardrock.com), where rock memorabilia from guitars to golden records rules, or convince your kids to go local and try the crab cakes at Obrycki's (410.732.6399), which opens for the season in mid March.

After lunch, tour the USS Constellation (410.539.1797; www.constellation.org), the only Civil War-era vessel still afloat. Explore the gun deck, where a replica 20-pound cannon is fired twice a day, and the berth deck, where the crew slept in hammocks.

At the Maryland Science Center (410.685.5225; www.mdsci.org), take in an IMAX movie or a planetarium show, then explore Dinosaur Mysteries, where you can touch a Triceratops skull, examine fossils, and ogle the life-size dino skeletons.

Little Italy, a neighborhood located between the Inner Harbor and Fell's Point, blooms with Italian restaurants. Sabatino's (410.727.2667; www.sabatinos.com), serving spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and other traditional dishes, is a good family choice.

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