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Home Archive 100 Days ARCHIVE MD Summer Fun: Take a picnic to Fort McHenry

MD Summer Fun: Take a picnic to Fort McHenry

FortMcHenryStarFort McHenry National Monument and Shrine is the perfect place to visit with the family on a warm spring day.

Sitting at the mouth of the Patapsco River near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine is both a history lesson and a great place for a picnic.

This is the site where, during the Battle of Baltimore in the war of 1812, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the patriotic poem that would later become our national anthem. A short 10-minute orientation film is shown at the Visitor Center two times per hour: on the hour and half-past the hour throughout the day. Plan to spend about one hour touring the fort — all self-guided. An entire visit usually requires two hours.

The summer months include daily ranger talks and weekend living history in the fort. The Fort McHenry Guard performs drill, musket and artillery demonstrations.

There are plenty of activities to keep the kids engaged, such as the Junior Ranger program, in which kids gather the answers to various questions about the fort’s history, beginning at the Visitor Center. After exploring the park and completing the Activity Booklet, kids earn a Junior Ranger badge. The program takes about two hours to complete.

Be sure to bring a picnic as the large green lawn and waterfront view on the grounds of the fort make it the perfect sport. There are flag change programs at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., where rangers raise or lower a reproduction of the Star-Spangled Banner flag.

The entrance fee is $7 for adults 16 and older and free for ages 15 and younger. The park is open 9 a.m. to 6 p..m. and the fort is open until 5:45 p.m.

For more family fun ideas, visit our complete events calendar.

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