Civil War Turns 150 and Baltimore Celebrates Big Time - My Family Travels

Historians will be heading south to Baltimore in April to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Several of this maritime city’s facilities will be looking back at the momentous event, which coincides with the 30th anniversaries of both The National Aquarium and the Artscape festival, which get celebrated too.

And in addition to these one-of-a-kind activities, Family Travel Forum families share their pick of Baltimore’s Top Family Activities for an any time of year visit. So, no matter your interests or the relatives you choose to travel with, there’s something to like and participate in this spring.

Most of the Civil War Anniversary events take place the weekend of April 15-17, 2011. It was 150 years ago that date that the war’s first blood was shed in Baltimore.

The city will host events that include a procession down Pratt Street, living history presentations, a symposium hosted by the National Park Service and a living history encampment at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, whose new Visitor Center is debuting on March 3rd. This fort, traditionally the first place to fly any new United States’ flag, is what’s referred to in the Star Spangled Banner’s “o’er the ramparts we watched” lyric.  During the civil war, Fort McHenry was used as a military prison from 1861 to 1865. Missing any relatives from the family tree? Records of prisoners from that era can be searched online.

The city will also host a number of exhibitions honoring Baltimore’s role within the Civil War. Key events for families include:

“Riots, Railroads and the Coming of Mr. Lincoln” at the Camden Yards
February 23 – December 2011
The museum, full of history’s greatest sports stars, has decided to honor Baltimore’s history by marking the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s first visit to the station while exploring Civil War events and American Railroading.

“The War Came By Train” at the B&O Railroad Museum
April 16, 2011 – May 15, 2015
The Railroad Museum’s main attraction for the commemoration of the War’s sesquicentennial is the largest collection of Civil War railroad equipment in the World. It features locomotives and rail cars that served during the war and military and personal artifacts. Each year, the items will change to depict the 5-year battle. Guests will also participate in a narrated train ride to the original site of Camp Carroll, the largest Union encampment in Baltimore.

Getting to Baltimore is easy because Amtrak has joined the party by offering a 30% companion rail fare discount with any purchase of a full-fare adult ticket. This offer is valid for travel from January 4 through December 20, 2011. There are also top value buses that ply this route from major northeast gateway cities.

The Hilton Garden Inn Baltimore Inner Harbor (410/234-0065) at 625 S. President Street, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21202 is just one choice of the many places to stay, but we like its Inner Harbor location. They have a Bed ‘N Breakfast deal including breakfast for up to four adults staying in the same room – plus with this package, kids 12 and under get it free — and it runs $267/N, while advance booking rates without breakfast drop to $219/N.

For more information on the many other activities, public performances and museum specials that will mark this milestone, check out the Baltimore Tourist Office site, which also lists hotel packages, restaurant and sightseeing deals and discounts.

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