We got up this morning and got a bit of a late start… I guess that’s just normal for us Solars. Our friend Jen made us a yummy breakfast of pancakes (!) and sausage. Then we loaded up the car and headed to Baltimore. We had plans to go to the National Aquarium. We found the parking garage and parked our car. Then at the last minute, we decided to go on a pirate cruise instead. We booked the pirate cruise and then realized it was in Annapolis and not Baltimore.
We had a few hours before the pirate cruise, so we decided to walk around and check out downtown Baltimore. We walked down to the bay and the kids immediately spotted dragon paddleboats in the water. We decided to walk over and check them out. They wouldn’t let all five us ride in one boat, so we had to rent two. We opted for the cheaper, regular boats (because I didn’t want to spend $36 to rent dragon boats for 30 minutes!). Wouldn’t you know our luck… they gave us dragon boats anyway (and I was happy because I saved $14!). We paddled around in the bay for about 20 minutes and then called it quits… it wasn’t really hot today, but it was SO humid out on the water.
After the paddle boats, we walked around for a bit and looked for somewhere to eat. The kids were getting kind of grumpy and all the places we wanted to go weren’t within walking distance. We decided to just pack it up and head to Annapolis. We grabbed sandwiches at Panera on the way into Annapolis. The kids were still pretty grumpy on the car ride in, so we decided to stop for ice cream once we got to Annapolis.
We headed for Storm Brothers Ice Cream Factory and got 4 scoops to share. (Wouldn’t you know my picky little boy didn’t like ANY of the flavors we got, so I had to go back and buy him a vanilla soft serve.) By that time, it was almost 3 pm and time for our pirate cruise! We drove over to Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake.
I knew immediately that this was a great decision. We walked in and they had already made name tags for the kids: Mad Dog Max, Atlantic Ava, and Lighthouse Lia…. all fabulous pirate names! The face painting area was in a sand box, so Max couldn’t go in with his cast. One of the pirates ran in and grabbed a stool for him, then gave him a piggy back ride through the sand. We picked out pirate vests and sashes and the kids got face paintings… well, Ava got a pink sparkly mustache, Max got a pirate skull on his arm, and Lia got a starfish on her arm. Since it cost money for the adults to ride the ship too, there was NO WAY we weren’t getting in on the action. Josh got a pink pirate mustache and I got a black curly pirate mustache. Then we both picked out vests and sashes too. We got a lot of funny looks from the other parents, but I wanted to make sure I got my $19 worth!
After the kids got pirated up, we went into the gift shop and bought them some pirate hat bandanas for the boat ride. The pirate leaders taught the kids how to talk like a pirate and then we loaded up on the boat. It was SO fun and very well done. All the people running it were young, fun people who clearly LOVE their job. So, we got on the boat and they showed the kids some different things, talked about treasure hunting, and search for the treasure map. Then we found a message in a bottle floating in the bay that said Pirate Pete stole the keys to the treasure box. We had to battle Pirate Pete with water cannons to recover the keys, then find the X floating in the water.  Cross off Go on a Treasure that was on our Summer Bucket List 🙂
The kids found the X and pulled the treasure chest up onto the boat. After quite a show, they used the keys to unlock the treasure chest and all the kids got a bag full of pirate treasure! On the way back to the bay, they found another “treasure”… pirate grog (aka 7up). (Sidenote: my kids don’t drink pop, but I gave them some “pirate water” and they loved it ;). After that, we headed back to the dock.
After our pirating adventure, we headed back to Baltimore to meet up with some new friends, Sara and John Waire. They cooked up a bag full (literally!!) of crabs for dinner (and chicken for Josh who doesn’t eat seafood). We chatted and ate crabs while the kids played for a couple hours. It got late quick (how does that always happen?!) and we had to say goodbye and head back to Jen’s house (also an awesome host, she had brownies on the table for us when we arrived!). We had such a great night with our new friends (they are the best hosts ever!). Sara even made a skirt for my girls and then they gave us a pair of engraved crab mallets… they are AWESOME people!! Headed to the beach tomorrow… yay!
Storm Brothers Ice Cream Factory, Annapolis MD – 5 stars: Yum! We LOVE ice cream and this place didn’t disappoint! A great place to stop in downtown Annapolis.
Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake, Annapolis MD – 5 stars: Absolutely fabulous!!! I can’t say enough great things about the people and the whole experience! They were SO great with my kids (and especially thoughtful of Max’s cast… it started raining right before we got on the boat and they ran to grab bags for his cast… they didn’t know it was waterproof). SO SO SO fun! I only hope they change the adventure every couple years so we can do it again next time we’re out this way.
Remember: We’re giving away a Road Trip in a Box at the end of our DC trip, and to enter the giveaway, you have to click on the little rewards tab and share away.  Look around for any little red ribbon for more chances to earn more points (you’ll see it next to the tweet button at the end of each post, for example). Happy sharing and thanks for following along!



  • The pirate adventure looks sooooo sweet! Max has the best serious face 🙂 I have ever seen. Josh you sporting a pink mustache….couldn’t be cooler!

  • Next time I’m visiting family in MD, I know where we’re going! I think a trip to Anapolis is in order! And I forgot about how cool those dragon paddle boats were. My little dragon aficionado would love them!

  • Josh, I like the pink, but where is your glitter? I love the dragon boats. I would have wanted to ride one too! And yay for the family portrait! Looks like a super fun time! How cool was that treasure hunt to cross off your list?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *