Photography, travel

Visiting the Fishes

For our final spring break adventure, we took a day trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Located at the Inner Harbor, we visited on a cold, overcast spring day.

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Rescued near Long Island, this turtle only has one flipper. You could say he’s “all right” (Shout out, Arrested Development fans!) No word on if he’s named Buster or not.
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A stingray in Blacktip Reef

The Aquarium is divided into three main sections. The reef is the largest exhibit. Visitors walk through, starting at the surface with rays and turtles and then trailing into the depths to see the sharks. Other fish exhibits are studded throughout.

A second area is devoted to Dolphin Discovery. The aquarium has five female dolphins and two young males. We stayed through feeding time, which Fox loved.

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Downstairs, in that same section, there is a small cafe and a lovely and surprisingly peaceful display of jellyfish.

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Super proud that I took this shot on my iPhone!

There is a third section that houses a rotating exhibit by Animal Planet. Currently, it’s the wildlife of Australia. When I heard about all the snakes on display, I fled so I didn’t see the exhibit. Fox and The Pilot seemed to like it though.

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I remember these bubble tubes from going to the Aquarium with my sister as a kid. They look like something out of Star Trek to me.
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I loved that they had quotes on the walls throughout the exhibits. This one says “With every drop you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea.” Sylvia Earle.

There is also a big gift shop and a spacious cafe, with lots of healthy options. We had a great time and Fox can’t wait to go back.

Photography, travel

Chips and Caverns

Here’s another of our spring break adventures. We took another day trip to Shenandoah Caverns and the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory.

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We hit the potato chip factory first (hey—gotta have your priorities straight!) Route 11 is a small company, local to the area. I especially love their sweet potato chips. Yum!

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Through the glass of their small showroom, we got to see the whole potato chip process from frying to seasoning to bagging. We also learned that they remove the skins from the potatoes with sandpaper. Kinda neat. There are samples to try as well as bags of chips to buy. That day, we got to sample salt and pepper chips. Pretty tasty.

Tea Garden
Tea Garden

Around the corner from that, we went to Shenandoah Caverns. Though Luray Caverns is more well-known, Shenandoah is a lot of fun too. They also have a tiny 1931 elevator to access the caverns.

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Cascade Hall

During our about one mile walking tour, we saw hanging strips of bacon, the Grotto of the Gods, and the Capitol Dome, among others. Fox really enjoyed his time in “the caves.” He learned how to distinguish stalactites from stalagmites—stalactites come from the top.

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Capitol Dome

Photography, travel

Visiting with Mr. Jefferson

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During Fox’s recent spring break, we took him on several adventures. We took a day trip to Charlottesville, Virginia to visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson started Monticello at 26 and honed it for over 50 years, seeking to create his version of the ideal home.

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In a time before refrigeration, Jefferson stored fresh fish for the table in this pond.

Fox knows Jefferson as the 1-2-3 president. He was the first Secretary of State, the second Vice President, and the third president. Much as The Pilot and I remembered from our own school trips there, Fox loved the clock on the wall of the entryway the best (it tells the days of the week)—though they had to cut a hole into the basement for the last three days.

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We were there in very early spring so most of the grounds weren’t quite in bloom. They have a gorgeous new visitors center and buses that carry you to the top of the hill to walk around and see the grounds. (Back in my day, we had to hike from the parking lot 🙂

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View toward Mulberry Row and the vegetable gardens beyond.

Even at six, Fox really seemed to enjoy his glimpse into history. Monticello is definitely worth a visit, if you happen to be nearby.

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A fun perspective shot of the back of the nickel Monticello with the real thing (my mom is holding the coin 🙂