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Baltimore’s Wild Side: Exploring Nature in the City

Gleaming skyscrapers, rushing traffic, bustling streets, and… nature? Of course! From the city’s famed parks to its world-famous aquarium, Baltimore has lots of ways to experience nature without leaving the city’s boundaries.
 

  • A landmark of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium has been transporting visitors to the depths of the ocean for more than 30 years. Explore a coral reef and see its inhabitants at the aquarium’s Black Tip Reef exhibit, or get face-to-face with a sand tiger shark in Shark Alley. After plunging through the depths, go “down under” and explore the plants and animals of Australia in the Animal Planet Australia exhibit. To see what’s just outside the aquarium’s doors, visit the Maryland: Mountains to the Sea to discover the bullfrogs, diamondback terrapins, and striped bass that call the state’s rivers and marshes home.
  • Feed the giraffes, watch the elephants, and ride a camel at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Maryland’s animals are highlighted in the Maryland Wilderness, which features the award-winning Children’s Zoo. Imagine traveling on safari at the African Journey exhibit and spotting the elephants, lions, and leopards. And don’t forget to chill out at the Polar Bear Watch.
  • Baltimore’s Druid Hil Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country, boasting more than 700 acres. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore located in the park, as is one of the oldest glass conservatories in the country. The Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens is a Baltimore gem. Built in 1888, the conservatory’s Palm House is home to a number of soaring palm tree species and tropical plants that stay a bit closer to the ground. The walls of the Orchid Room are literally covered in a rainbow of blooms. Visitors can wander through three greenhouses that contain plants from the Mediterranean, desert locales, and the tropics.
  • Located along the Jones Falls, the Cylburn Arboretum is a 207-acre park with themed gardens, forest areas, and more than three miles of wooded trails. A visitor center and nature museum help visitors plan their exploration of this beloved Baltimore natural resource.
  • The Gwynns Falls Trail is a 15-mile urban hiking and biking trail along a scenic and historic greenway stream valley in the heart of Baltimore City. The trail connects over 30 neighborhoods and winds through three city parks: Leakin Park, Gwynns Falls Park, and Carroll Park. In addition to hiking and biking, visitors and residents can fish in the stream and watch for birds and other wildlife.  
  • Just a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown are several city parks. Take in the view from Federal Hill Park, a literal highpoint at the Inner Harbor. Riverside Park boasts walking paths, a public pool, several athletic fields, and a playground. Patterson Park, northeast of Fell’s Point, has two playgrounds, a public pool, and an Audubon Center with public programs.
  • The Maryland Science Center at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor offers lots of exhibits on the natural world. The Follow the Blue Crab exhibit takes a look at one of the Chesapeake most famous (and delicious) residents, as well as neighbors such as diamondback terrapins and native fish. The Wildlife Rescue exhibit explores the health of habitats and the ecosystems of the planet and the people helping to bring endangered species back from the brink.  
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