Saturday, July 02, 2022

Baltimore Adventure Day 3 - Art, Ice Cream and The Deep

Today was a real treat. Our friends Lauren and Nick and their three little ones joined us for a day of exploring Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

We started at the American Visionary Art Museum, where our group strolled through and took in the wide range of exhibits on display. From the massive hand attached to the side of the building (is it holding a booger?), to a series of busts imagining essential workers as saints to a massive rock wall that featured the emotional healing properties of each type of stone, to a cabinet full of Pez dispensers, there was something for everyone to see and get inspired by. The push-button kinetic sculptures in the sculpture barn captured everyone's attention. The clear winner among the kids, however, was the fart machine located in the basement.

I love that the kids got to see that art can come in so many forms and flavors.

After the museum we made our way to Ramen Utsuke for lunch. With the exception of J. and A., we were all interested in vegetarian options and Ramen Utsuke more than delivered. The Spicy Sesame Veggie Ramen was an absolute hit, with its creamy (thank you soy milk) and flavorful broth. J. was excited to see a ramen dish with the same name as one of his beloved managa characters, Naruto, and was excited to order it. Next time we're back in Baltimore, I'd seriously consider visiting Ramen Utsuke again, it was that good.

After lunch we made our way to the waterfront and a splash pad. The water feature checked the box, but wasn't anything particularly special. Then we got ice cream and did a bit of walking along the waterfront.

Finally, the kids and I toured the USS Torsk, a WWII era submarine that's docked at the harbor and open to visitors. I have fond memories as a kid of exploring the USS Little Rock, the USS Sullivans and the USS Croaker all located in Buffalo, NY. Also WWII era ships, they were the ultimate playground as a kid; a place where my imagination could run wild. As I've grown older, I still have an affinity for touring big boats ships. Step aside kid while I man this gun turret and then let's make our way below to oggle the cramped sleeping quarters and mess. I want to see everything! As an adult I appreciate that these massive vessels are an amazing opportunity to get a hands on experience with history and engineering.

So yeah, I had pretty high expectations for the Torsk. Would J. and A. feel the same magic I did?

As we descended in the Torsk A. had a moment of panic; what was this dark and cramped space all about? But by the time she made it down the ladder, all her anxiety disappeared. The three of us walked through the Torsk like three kids in a candy store. This relatively small vessel took us less than 20 minutes to tour, but the kids were (rightfully) blown away. The control room was especially cool as we both had it to ourselves and there were plenty of controls for the kids to (gently!) touch.

So yeah, the Torsk was a hit. There are a few other historic ships in the harbor you can tour, but alas, we didn't have time to visit them this trip. Next time!

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