First up was mass at the Basilica ("Basiwka!" John Paul loudly exclaimed all through mass. Not his best behavior, by far...), where I saw perhaps the highest percentage of people in shorts/jeans/other completely inappropriate mass attire that I've ever seen at a Sunday mass. And that includes college masses and Saturday vigils. I was rather confused... Maybe there were lots of tourists who absolutely couldn't fit anything else in their suitcases?
It was pretty though, and John Paul loved talking about the flowers on the dome.
We headed to lunch, and then we were off to the aquarium!
I think we saw the best exhibit first, so I really expected a lot once we finished with the Australia section. John Paul loved the turtles.
He kept talking about how the turtles were going to cracks... I'm not sure why, but he loved it. It felt a lot like parts of the National Zoo.
Then we got to see lots of colorful fish in another display. This is my favorite picture from the whole experience:
John Paul was getting pretty restless and he was OBSESSED with the escalators and moving walkways. They don't allow strollers (too many escalators and moving walkways) and he isn't willing to ride on my back for long, so we missed a fair amount of quite a few exhibits because he ran to the escalator once it was in view.
Luckily we reached the children's area once the restlessness hit its peak. Here was his favorite part of the whole aquarium:
A sand table with shells. Pretty sure we could buy one of those for less than the cost of admission for two adults.
Cecilia spent most of the time in a carrier either on my back or Andrew's front. We let her out in the children's area and she had fun playing with a water bottle. The best part for her? A footstool. She LOVED it.
John Paul's second favorite part of the whole aquarium?
The letters in the jellyfish exhibit. He freaked out when we told him it was time to leave.
Overall, it was an underwhelming experience. We finished the jellyfish exhibit and thought there must be more. Nope. I don't think we'll be going back anytime soon. I was expecting it to be as awesome as the Shedd Aquarium, but it left a lot to be desired. Thankfully we were there primarily to see friends, so it was a worthwhile experience. If it hadn't been for them, I think we would have been much more disappointed.
We timed it so that Cecilia would fall asleep on the way home. Surprisingly, John Paul decided to sleep as well. I suppose that was to be expected, given the lack of stroller.
So the kids had fun, we had fun, and John Paul is still talking about it:
"BasIWka!" "Yes, we went to the Basilica" "Shews and sand. SHEWS AND SAND!" "And then we played with shells and sand at the aquarium." "Matt. MATT MATT MATT MATT!" "Yes, we saw Matt." "Pweeeeeeeeeeeeez!" "And Margaret?" "Mawgwit. Mawgwit. MAWGWIT! Fish song!" And then I had to sing the goldfish song over and over... Glad that's what sticks with him about our visit to Baltimore.