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  • Overview

    The east coast state of Maryland has hundreds miles of coastline, thanks to it encompassing the vast estuary of Chesapeake Bay. Unsurprisingly, Maryland is a maritime state, filled with historic nautical towns such as Saint Michaels and Crisfield, renowned for its delicious blue crabs and sailboat cruises out of Annapolis.

    Its main resort town, Ocean City, sports miles of sandy beaches and vacationers pack the lively boardwalk each summer. The state has plenty to offer inland too. Its western regions offer spectacular scenery to delight outdoor enthusiasts, in addition to a few ski resorts and challenging waterways from the mountains to tempt kayakers and rafts.

    Maryland is an important heritage destination for those exploring United States history. Back in 1634, a small group of Europeans came ashore in the southern part of the state and established a colony at the current city of St Mary's City. Also known as Historic St Mary's City, it's now preserved as a state-run, living history museum.

    The US national anthem was composed in Maryland following Britain's failed attempt to take the state's strategic shipbuilding centre of Baltimore in the Revolutionary War. The flag stayed flying over the city, inspiring the writing of 'The Star-Spangled Banner'. The Civil War also left its mark in Maryland, with one of the bloodiest battles fought at Antietam in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

    In 1791, the state donated the land on which Washington, D.C., and the state's counties of Montgomery, Frederick, and Prince George now border on the capital territory, providing dormitory suburbs.

    Maryland Science Center

    Housed within the striking glass, steel, and concrete structure on Inner Harbor, the Maryland Science Center contains five storeys of interactive exhibits, an IMAX, the world-famous Davis Planetarium, and an observatory. Dating back to 1797, the Maryland Academy of Sciences is one of the USA's oldest scientific institutions and remains focused on education. There are imaginative and hands-on displays ranging from astronomy and space travel, to dinosaurs and general science experiments. The planetarium runs programs with stargazing at night and studying the sun during the day through the observatory telescope. Other popular attractions include The Kids Room and the National Touring Exhibit.

    Address: 601 Light Street, Inner Harbor
    Maryland Science Center Maryland Science Center Fritz Geller-Grimm
    National Aquarium

    The National Aquarium is Maryland's leading tourist attraction and one of the best aquariums in the world. Recently voted as one of the top ten family destinations in the USA, visitors can tour the tidewaters of Maryland, the Pacific coastland, or a tropical rainforest without leaving Baltimore. The aquarium offers more than just marine life. There are several special exhibits like the Amazon Rainforest display with poison dart frogs, dwarf caiman, anacondas, sloths, colourful birds, and conehead lizards, as well as plants and fish. A sea cliffs habitat features puffins and other sea birds, while the Coral Reefs and Open Ocean tanks are walkthrough displays bringing visitors face to face with sharks and exotic fish. Permanent residents include seahorses, turtles, stingrays, and octopuses. In addition to the permanent exhibits, dolphins jump, wave, and flip in regularly scheduled shows at Dolphin Discovery. People can catch an underwater view from an atrium below the pool or watch the tricks from the stands. The aquarium also offers 4D films to immerse viewers in fascinating marine worlds. These shows have additional in-theatre sensory effects, such as smell, water spray, and moving seats. Films shown range from popular cartoons to documentaries, usually lasting for 15 minutes.

    Address: Pier 3, Inner Harbor, 501 East Pratt Street
    National Aquarium National Aquarium AndrewHorne
    Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad Museum

    The B&O Railroad Museum's roster of rolling stock, historic railway buildings, and assortment of memorabilia from stations and trains makes it a must-visit for train enthusiasts. But even for those who are not railroad fanatics, this is one of the best sights in Baltimore and a fascinating place for the whole family. Housed in the huge Roundhouse is an enormous collection of locomotives, passenger cars, classic heritage trains, mail cars, and Pullman sleepers. A full-scale model of the first locomotive, Tom Thumb, is on display along with a red caboose from 1907. Other exhibits include posters, historic photographs, and newspaper cuttings, as well as a superb model railway and numerous interactive and entertaining exhibits. Some recreate experiments from the 1830s such as sail-powered carriages, hand cranks, and propulsion using dogs or horses. The B&O was the first railroad in the US, dating from 1827, and the museum is located on the site of the first station in America.

    Address: 901 West Pratt Street
    B&O Railroad Museum B&O Railroad Museum Barry Eagel
    Fort McHenry

    The Fort McHenry National Monument is forever associated with the US national anthem, written by poet Francis Scott Key while watching the British attack Baltimore during the War of 1812. After more than 25 hours of constant bombing by British naval forces, the fort stood with the flag flying high. Interestingly, it was the only action the brick fort had seen in more than 100 years of guarding the waters approach to Baltimore. A visit includes a short historical film and a guided tour, with exhibits recalling the siege as well as the fort's Civil War service. On summer weekends there are military ceremonies and drills, as well as a living history program simulating the daily activities during the battle. There is also a daily changing of the flag ceremony, with about 20 people required to fold the enormous Star-Spangled Banner. A short talk about the fort, flag, and anthem concludes the ceremony. The monument and its grounds are a national park and visits to the parklands are free. From the fort, there are fine views down the Patapsco River to Inner Harbor and towards Chesapeake Bay.

    Address: 2400 East Fort Avenue
    Fort McHenry Fort McHenry Fredlyfish4
    Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame

    The origins of lacrosse lie within multiple Native American tribes, for whom the game had great significance in both religious observance and preparing men for war. The Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame showcases the history of this, America's oldest sport. It also displays the top male and female players of today's game, alongside coaches and contributors. More than 400,000 people in the eastern United States and Canada play the unique sport of lacrosse. Nowhere is it more popular than in Maryland, where 'LAX' stickers sit beside decals for posh private schools on fancy cars, furthering the sport's elite reputation. Since September 2016, the Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame relocated to a new location in Sparks, Maryland.

    Address: 2 Loveton Circle, Sparks
    Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of
Fame Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame Mark Goebel
    Baltimore Museum of Art

    Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the Baltimore Museum of Art sits in the leafy neighbourhood of Charles Village. Today, the BMA is home to an internationally renowned collection of European and American fine and decorative art pieces. These range from 15th through to 19th-century prints and drawings, works by established and emerging contemporary artists as well as objects from Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Its 90,000 works include the world's largest holding of pieces by Henri Matisse. Two beautifully landscaped gardens surround a grand museum building, designed by famous American architect John Russell Pope. Yoga classes and jazz concerts often take place upon the lawns in the early evening. Visitors can sample signature Chesapeake Bay cuisine on the lovely outdoor terrace of Gertrude's, the BMA's restaurant.

    Address: 10 Art Museum Drive, at North Charles and 31st Streets
    Baltimore Museum of Art Baltimore Museum of Art Iracaz
    Walters Art Museum

    During the 19th and early 20th centuries, two Baltimore men, William Walters and his son, Henry, amassed a diverse range of artwork. Drawn from all around the world, they then bequeathed it to their hometown. The 22,000 pieces they collected span 55 centuries, including ancient Egyptian art as well as late 19th-century European pieces and decorative objects. Some favourite works on display at the Walters include seven ancient Roman sarcophagi, judged to be among the finest in the world; a collection of Japanese arms and armour; a medieval ivory casket covered with scenes of jousting knights, one of only a dozen such items remaining; and 900 illuminated manuscripts as well as the letters of Catherine the Great and the diary of Napoleon.

    Address: 600 N. Charles Street
    Jar with Design of a Dragon Jar with Design of a Dragon Walters Art Museum

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Maryland's climate varies drastically throughout the year. Summers in Maryland vary from mild to hot, with the warmest month of July experiencing average temperatures of between 85°F (29°C) and 89°F (32°C).

    Summer is also the wettest season and thunderstorms peak in July and August bringing increased humidity between August and October, although nights are generally cooler. In Baltimore humidity averages about 60% between February and April and 75% from August to October. Winters are snowy and cold, January being the coldest month, averaging between 20°F (-7°C) and 25°F (-4°C).

    Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 10 miles (16km) south of Baltimore and 30 miles (48km) north of Washington.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4, from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
    Transfer Between Terminals: There are five concourses (A-E) within the large terminal building. All concourses are connected in the terminal by walkways, but time should be allowed in order to transfer from one concourse to another when catching a flight.
    Getting to the city: The MARC train station services both central Baltimore and Washington, D.C., connected to the terminal via shuttle buses. A light rail service is also available to downtown Baltimore, Timonium, and Hunt Valley. The BWI Marshall Light Rail Station is located immediately outside the lower level of the terminal building, adjacent to Concourse E. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has a bus service to the Greenbelt Metro Station, which connects to metro stations throughout Washington, D.C., Virginia, Montgomery, and Prince Georges Counties. There are two WMATA Bus Stops. One is located on the lower level of the International Concourse and the other stop is located on the lower level of Concourse A/B.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Alamo, Enterprise, Nextcar, Payless, and Thrifty.
    Airport Taxis: The taxi stand, BWI Airport Taxi, is located just outside of the baggage claim area of the lower level of the terminal. The journey to Baltimore takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes while the journey to Washington, D.C., will take around 45 minutes.
    Facilities: There are restaurants, bars, shops, duty-free, and ATMs throughout the airport. Other facilities include currency exchange desks, postal services, a meditation room, and the historical Benson Hammond House. Facilities for the disabled are good.
    Parking Short and long-term parking is available at the airport. The Hourly Garage charges $4 per hour, with a daily maximum of $22. The Daily Garage charges $12 per day; the Express Parking area charges $10 per day; and the Long-Term Parking area charges $8 per day. The long-term lots are served by shuttles.