Cosmic Cocktail in 2 weeks: Get your ticket today before they sell out.


The Baltimore Sun

The "staycation" trend has been around since last summer and with the recent economic turmoil, it's probably here to stay. Even if the market rebounds quickly, there's still baggage fees, fewer flights and general travel weariness dragging down tourism.

There are a couple of bright spots in the recent patch of dreary financial news. One is the rising strength of the dollar against some foreign currencies, which could help you save a few bucks on a hotel in London or Quebec. Another is falling gas prices that make the quick weekend getaway a bit more tempting.

Still, if you live in or near Baltimore, there's plenty of temptation right under your nose. Consider that some Baltimore attractions have recently made "Top 10" travel lists or won awards that could lure others to our charming city. So shouldn't we see it first?

The National Aquarium in Baltimore's Australia-themed exhibit was named "Best Exhibit of 2008" by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, you can do so for just $8 as part of the aquarium's "Fridays After Five" program. Every Friday until March, visitors receive a discounted admission to the aquarium from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (The aquarium's open until 10 p.m.)

Across the Inner Harbor, the American Visionary Art Museum in Federal Hill topped Travel+Leisure's online list of the "10 Places to See Before You're 10" (see Page 3). If you're a little older and you've never visited the museum, that's OK - it's never too late to start.

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