Monthly Archives: July 2012

Experience 11 of 52: Butterfly Garden

Brookside Gardens is a 50-acre public display garden located in Montgomery County Maryland.  Although the park features a variety of gardens including an Aquatic Garden, an Azalea Garden and a Rain Garden (among others) we mainly visited the park for its renowned Butterfly Garden.  Unfortunately, the “Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit” closed early due to a heat advisory and we were unable to enjoy the exhibit.

Since we had made the trek to the gardens, we spent some time in the Visitor Center and we explored some of the garden grounds.

The center included a play area for young kids where we took a break for a few minutes while the girls dressed up in butterfly costumes.

We also learned about different cloud types:

  • Cumulus clouds: puffy, cotton-like in appearance that are often precursors of other types of clouds.
  • Cirrus clouds: thin, wispy strands that typically indicate that weather conditions may soon deteriorate with the arrival of precipitation
  • Stratus clouds: flat, hazy, featureless clouds that are essentially above-ground fog
  • Nimbus cloud is a cloud that produces precipitation in the form of rain, hail, snow or sleet

Cloud Types

After learning about the clouds, we made our way outside and checked out the frontier like replica houses.  These were also closed but the gals still enjoyed making their own short frontier time plays using the houses as props.

Overall, the experience was less than impressive but I think this was largely due to being unprepared for the visit.  We decided to do the outing at the last-minute after picking up one of the kids from summer camp.  After visiting the website and reviewing the options, Brookside Gardens looks intriguing and would be worth another visit.

Time Spent: about 2 hours
Cost: Free (although the “Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar” Exhibit would have had an entry fee if it was open)

Categories: Educational | Leave a comment

Experience 10 of 52: The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA)

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) includes “the largest holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world, as well as masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh.”  Although by no means art connoisseurs, we hope that visiting museums and becoming familiar with famous works of art will help to develop our children into well-rounded adults.

One of our favorite sculptures was “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin.  The BMA holds one of the original bronze casts of the sculpture (there are over 20 of them in the world).  This sculpture, depicting a man in deep thought and internal turmoil is one of my favorites, a copy of which sits in his my room.

We also saw this awesome, creative foot and shoe work.  I’m not sure what the artist was trying to say through this piece but it was creative and interesting nonetheless.


One of my favorite Greek myths involves the story of Theseus slaying the Minotaur in the Labyrinth built by Daedalus.  Here are 2 of my favorite gals with the sculpture at the BMA.

Another facet of the BMA is the Sunday Brunch served at Gertrude’s restaurant.  The brunch was quite delicious although a little more expensive than we’d typically spend on a breakfast.  I must admit, however, If I’m going to pay $20 per person for a meal, I’d want the food to taste like my meal at Gertrude’s.  Both the presentation and the taste were impeccable.

Overall, we enjoyed the visit and would visit again.  We hope each visit to an art museum will help us grow our knowledge just a little more than the time before.  Since this was our first introduction to the BMA we’ll need many more visits to increase our knowledge of the world of art.

Time Spent: About 3 hours (including brunch)
Cost: $79 for brunch for four, Free museum admission

Categories: Museum | 1 Comment

Experience 9 of 52: Fireworks

We Love Catonsville!

If you are looking for a Fourth of July celebration Catonsville, Maryland is the place to go!  Although the focus is less on Patriotism than perhaps some historical sites, we are partial to Catonsville since most of our extended family lives there.  There is so much energy throughout the day which started with the Catonsville parade.  This was the first year we skipped the parade in many years so that Paul could visit his aunt in Pennsylvania.  We did, however, manage to make it to two great cook out parties before the fireworks started.

Did you know these facts about the Catonsville Celebration:

  • Catonsville has been hosting a fireworks show for the past 65 years?
  • the fireworks are held rain or shine (but we had perfect weather this year)?
  • Catonsville holds a pre-fireworks fun fest with live music before the fireworks show?
  • each year there is a different theme to the parade/fireworks show?
  • volunteers raise over $100,000 per year to cover the costs of the event?

As always, Catonsville has shown us an awesome time with great events, crowds and great company!  I highly recommend spending the day in Catonsville on the Fourth of July where you can feel the unity of our countries citizens.  You may also get a glimpse of my-brother-in-law wearing a purple skirt as he walks with the Raven’s Roost!

Time spent: About 4 hours (we usually spend a good 10 hours there) – prepare to walk a lot

Cost:  Free (but donations are accepted)

Categories: Celebration | Leave a comment

Experience 8 of 52: The Sports Legend Museum

If you have even an inkling of interest in the Baltimore sports scene, the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore is a must do experience.  The museum is extensive – we expected to spend about an hour walking through the museum but 2 hours later we were still absorbing the hundred years of Baltimore sports history!

We learned that the Baltimore Orioles:

  • moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954
  • last won the World Series in 1983
  • have an “Orioles Hall of Fame” that includes former players such as Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, Earl Weaver, Brady Anderson, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Harold Baines
  • former third baseman Brooks Robinson was nicknamed “Hoover” because he scooped up everything that came his way – kind of like a vacuum cleaner
  • former shortstop Cal Ripken wore number 8 (which happens to be our family lucky number :)) and is known as the “Iron Man” because he played in 2,632 consecutive baseball games

We learned that the Baltimore Ravens:

  • moved to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996
  • won Super Bowl XXXV in January 2001
  • first 2 draft picks were Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis and both are considered Hall of Famers
  • the previous football team in Baltimore was the Baltimore Colts and they moved to Indianapolis in 1984
  • one of the greatest players in Baltimore football history was Johnny Unitas who was known as “The Golden Arm” and holds the record of 47 consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass

We enjoyed the various movies that were available to provide us with glimpses of Baltimore’s sports history. There was also a dress up room where the girls could put on baseball gear and football gear.

This museum is probably enjoyed most by an older generation who remembers the “good old days” of the Orioles or the Baltimore football teams but we were able to introduce G & K to the Baltimore sports history which may help them understand the passion that many people feel for their home town teams.

Time spent: About 2 hours (could have spent more time but we were all getting tired)
Cost: $32 ($20 for tickets (we used a coupon from an Entertainment Book), $12 for parking)

Categories: Museum, Sports | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at