The first thing we did on this trip was head to Fort McHenry. We went straight from the airport, as it’s not too far from BWI. After flying all night, we were exhausted, but I didn’t want anyone to sleep yet (best way to deal with the jet lag/time change). We’ve been here many times, so it was a good stop when slightly sleepy! The kids were able to get a Junior Ranger badge too. You can also get your Star Spangled Banner Trail Junior Ranger here as well (or mail it in)
If you think you’ve never heard of Fort McHenry, you’re wrong. I guarantee everyone knows something about Fort McHenry! Do you sing the National Anthem? Well, guess where it was written? Yep, Francis Scott Key wrote it at Fort McHenry! Old Glory was here – and is now in the American History Smithsonian (which we visited later in the trip. See how I weave all this together?)
We started in the visitors center, which has a few fun exhibits. The junior ranger booklet makes it more fun for the kids. If you watch the video, it ends with the screen rolling up, with a big picture window view of the flag and Fort McHenry- pretty cool!
You can tour the fort. My kids enjoy the jail area and the cannons. They love to climb on cannons for some reason! The fort also has a spectacular view of the bay. We enjoy walking all the way around the top of the fort, which is in the shape of a star.
Along with the jail, you can explore the storage areas and different bunk houses. This time, we were able to see a gun demonstration, where they shot gun powder guns. My boys thought it was pretty cool! They let them look at the guns after the demonstration too.
Fort McHenry is a great stop for your DC/Baltimore adventures. Your kids can run around and explore the fort and the areas within the fort. The views are wonderful and a fun experience to see where the Star spangled banner was inspired! 2 hours is probably more than enough time to explore this site – 3 if you really want to read/see every single thing there is to offer (which my kids would get bored of quickly!)