A Visit To Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine - Baltimore, MD

Thursday, February 23, 2017

This year, we're on a mission to visit as many national parks as we can. Last month, we visited Fort Washington Park in Fort Washington, MD. This month, we ventured out to the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, MD. In the past, I've only associated Fort McHenry with the tunnel that runs under the Baltimore Harbor. I didn't even know there was a park by there with the same name until my husband told me. He had visited as a child and he thought it would be fun to take the kids one day.

We had a chance to go on Presidents' Day. Both my husband and my kids were off that day and admission to participating national parks was free. We chose to visit Fort McHenry since it wasn't too far -- only about an hour away.

Fort McHenry was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write the "Star Spangled Banner." During the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, Fort McHenry was able to defend Baltimore against the British. Seeing the flag flying overhead the morning after the attack inspired Key to write a poem that later became the national anthem.

We arrived at Fort McHenry around 10 AM. Even though it had only been open for an hour, the main parking lot was almost full. With it being a federal holiday, we were expecting it to be somewhat busy.

Visitors Center

We started in the Visitors Center. It houses the Gift Shop and features interactive exhibits and a movie. We looked around at a couple of the exhibits before heading outside towards the Star Fort. The kids didn't want to stick around for the next showing of the movie.


Back of the Visitors Center

After leaving the Visitors Center, we walked along the path towards the Star Fort.

The Star Fort

We walked along the perimeter of the fort, checking out the cannons and the magazines -- though, the kids thought they were jails because of the iron bars.

Next, we went inside to check out the barracks and the exhibits there. The kids really liked exploring all the little rooms and seeing how the soldiers lived in the fort.

They thought the bombproof was pretty cool.

Each of the buildings inside the fort had exhibits to see. I ended up just taking pictures of a lot of things because the kids kept going on ahead before I could read everything.

George Arminstead
Enlisted Men's Quarters
Commander's Quarters
Overall, the kids had fun. They liked how there was more to do than at Fort Washington Park. I think it would be fun to go back when they do demonstrations in the summer. Also, I think we'll participate in the Junior Ranger program the next time we visit.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230
Open 9 AM - 5 PM 

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