ARKS:Shipwrecks inspire mystery and...

TWO OF NOAA'S

April 30, 1993|By Karen Zeiler

TWO OF NOAA'S ARKS:

Shipwrecks inspire mystery and fascination, but they can be hazardous, too -- which is why there are ships like the Whiting, a 163-foot survey and research vessel open for free tours this weekend at the Inner Harbor's West Wall.

The ship's high-tech sonar systems obtain images of wrecks, rocks and other navigational hazards by reflecting sounds off the sea floor.

The Whiting is the first official visiting ship of Operation Sail '93, which will bring a number of vessels to Baltimore this spring and summer. Operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the ship is staffed by eight officers and a crew of 30. It departs at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Public tours: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

If the Whiting interests you, you may want to check out another NOAA research vessel docked at Pier 3 near the National Aquarium. The Ferrell, which does environmental research along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico, is open for public tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Strike a pose -- inside the jaws of a gigantic shark. Get your picture taken standing inside the gaping mouth of a megalodon at Shark Fest '93. The National Aquarium's program of exhibits, displays, games and films is scheduled weekends through May 30 and daily from May 31 to July 3. Visitors can attend feeding demonstrations (twice daily) and touch artifacts.

BIRTHDAY AT THE B&O:

Celebrate your son's or daughter's birthday inside a vintage 1940s dining car at the B&O Museum, 901 W. Pratt St. You bring the refreshments and the museum provides the party favors (a train whistle, crayons and coloring books). The kids will love the trains and you will, too. The day includes a short train ride on the Mount Clare Express (three miles round-trip, weekends only) and a tour of the museum. A film on railroad history is featured. Information or reservations: 752-2463.

FIRST THURSDAYS:

On Thursday, take a walk along Charles Street in downtown Baltimore -- where shops and galleries stay open later one day each month for "First Thursdays," a program of special events and art exhibits. Roving street musicians will entertain crowds and original works of art will be on display at The Roxx Ltd., the Artshowcase Gallery and the C. Grimaldis Gallery, among others. Also participating are Cafe Mon Tage, Zooks and Co. and Sascha's Catering. Hours are from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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