Yesterday was a beautiful early Spring day here in Baltimore so I took my girls to spend an afternoon at Fort McHenry. If you're ever in Baltimore, Fort McHenry is just a short drive from the Inner Harbor, Maryland Science Center, and American Visionary Art Museum. It's the perfect place to learn a little history and get out a little bit of extra energy outdoors.
Check out our visit...
As a little history refresher, Fort McHenry is best known for its role in successfully defending the city of Baltimore during the War of 1812. It was the morning after the British attack in September 1814, when Francis Scott Key saw the U.S. flag being raised above the fort, that the Star Spangled Banner was written.
My girls enjoyed our afternoon...
Fort McHenry is part of the National Park Service and has its own Junior Ranger Program. If you're ever at the fort, or any of the other NPS sites that have this program, definitely let your kids participate. (check their website for a list of participating sites)
The girls got a list of questions about the fort and the War of 1812. All the answers could be found in the Visitor Center and on the grounds. It was almost like a scavenger hunt for them, as they ran from exhibit to exhibit reading signs to find information. (Pretty fun way to sneak in lots of learning, don't you think?)
After all the questions were answered, they took their completed papers back to the ranger station to be checked. The ranger determined that everything looked good and they were sworn in as Junior Park Rangers. They got certificates and fun little badges.
As I mentioned, Fort McHenry is just a short drive from Baltimore's Inner Harbor and it's just off of I-95. There's also a water taxi service that can take you from the Inner Harbor to the the Fort (which is a fun boat ride for the kids). I'd definitely recommend it as part of your Baltimore visit and it's would be a good side trip from a visit to Washington DC. Kids can learn some history and just run around on the grounds ~ there's a great path all along the water around the fort. It's a great spot for a picnic lunch as you watch the boats go in and out of the Harbor.