Say goodbye to one of the country's oldest merchant marine ships. Launched in 1944 at Sparrows Point, the Texas Clipper returned this week and will be open for tours today only. Since 1965 it has been a training ship for students of Texas A&M; University at Galveston. Before that, it served as a passenger-cargo ship for 17 years for American Export Lines and even earlier was the USS Queens, a Navy troop-transport ship. This is its last summer training cruise; the ship leaves for Galveston tomorrow. Visit it at the Locust Point Marine Terminal at Fort McHenry from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.
And, lest you forget, the Dutch replica-ship Half Moon and Argentine tall-ship Libertad are still here. Hours for the Libertad (at the Inner Harbor's West Wall) are 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The Half Moon is docked between the Maryland Science Center and Harborplace's Light Street Pavilion. It is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Both the Libertad and Half Moon depart Monday.
Satisfy your passion for things Italian at Patterson Park at this weekend's Italian Festival -- only a few blocks east from the Inner Harbor. Pasta, cannoli and Italian peppers and sausage are just a few of the delicacies featured, and you'll hear, see or find ethnic music, dancing and crafts. Crushing Day, Off Limits and the Amici Dancers will perform throughout the weekend, and a celebrity pizza-eating contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. tomorrow. Hours: noon to 10 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. RTC tomorrow and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $2 for adults, $1 for children, infants free. Information: 837-6500 or 837-4636.
Have your kids run out of things to do this summer? Send them on a historical journey where they can play 18th century lawn games at the Homewood Museum, become cannery workers at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, and make flags at the Flag House. A consortium of area history museums is sponsoring the history day camp for children ages 8 to 12. The two sessions are Aug. 2-6 and Aug. 9-13. The cost per session is $50 and includes transportation to the museums and daily snacks. Parents drop youngsters off at the Museum of Industry at 8:30 a.m.; pick-up is at 4 p.m. Information or to register: 727-4808, Ext. 111.
FUN AND FROLIC
Children under 12 can play games, win prizes and have an all-around good time at the city's free Kids' Day Celebration from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at Broadway Market Square in Fells Point. The city recreation department's Office of Adventures in Fun runs this annual event. Information: 396-9177. Grab a seat for the Pumpkin Theater's rendition of "Winnie the Pooh" from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. On Thursday -- same time -- the Creative Opera Ensemble will act out the classic tale, "Hansel and Gretel." Both events are part of the Kids' Stuff
entertainment series at Rash Field's Kaufman Pavilion. Free.
The season's third and final tattoo ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Sunday (Francis Scott Key's 214th birthday, by the way) at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, Color Guard and Silent Drill Platoon join the Fort McHenry Guard in a program of drill routines and patriotic music. Program and parking are free. Information: 962-4299.