Sharks are star attraction: Pitt, Jolie visit Charm City

Glam couple take kids to aquarium

September 14, 2005|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Can you blame us for feeling a twinge of Brangelina envy?

After all, Angelina Jolie and her rumored squeeze, Brad Pitt, have been spotted just about everywhere over the last month or so. They played pool in a New York City bar a couple of Fridays ago. They visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, to see the dinosaurs. They even ate pancakes and Vive La French Toast at an IHOP in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

We tried to feign indifference. We tried to act like we were beyond such common, starry-eyed celebrity gawking. We even tried to squelch our jealousy over Jolie's new movie, The Good Shepherd, shooting in oh-so-close-and-yet-so-far-away Washington next month.

Well, envy no more.

We're relieved to report that the megastar couple, with Jolie's 4-year-old son Maddox and baby girl Zahara in tow, made a helicopter and limo pit stop in Charm City on Sunday just to partake in a fun-filled, family afternoon with the sharks at the National Aquarium.

"The sharks were high on their list," Bill Minarik, the aquarium's well-informed senior director of visitor operations, said yesterday. "They loved the stingrays and frankly, as they were walking across the bridge, they were enamored with the harbor.

"Brad really loves animals. He is enamored of them. He wanted to show the sharks of Baltimore to his son [Maddox]. It was very much a family enjoying the aquarium."

The visit was supposed to be just a 20-minute pop-in, according to Minarik, but Pitt and the Jolies stayed an hour for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Still, the Sexiest Man and Woman Alive -- as if we needed any celebrity magazine to tell us that -- received no special treatment. Not that the aquarium didn't try.

Pitt, who had visited the aquatic wonderland a decade before with then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, had called ahead to say they were coming, Minarik said. But before aquarium officials could muster a welcome wagon for the foursome, Pitt and Jolie had already bought their tickets -- $19.50 for adults; $13.50 for children 3 to 11 -- and headed indoors.

Once inside, Jolie carried little Zahara in a front pack and Pitt chased after Maddox as they walked through the "Open Ocean" exhibit.

"The aquarium proper is pretty dark and intimate so they didn't really have much of a following," said Minarik, who was pleased to discover that Pitt remembered him from his previous visit. "But as soon as they walked over the bridge, into the light, and into the Marine Mammal Pavilion, a lot of people said, `Oh, my goodness. Is that who I think it is?' But no one walked up to them and asked for an autograph. People left them alone to enjoy themselves."

Once the tour was complete, the stars bought a plush shark toy for Maddox, graciously thanked their hosts and promised to visit again after the aquarium's Australian exhibit opens in December.

And just in case you were wondering if they're as beautiful up close as they look in pictures?

Minarik said without hesitation, "Absolutely."

Finally. Baltimore's very own Brangelina sighting.

Arizona's got nothing on us.

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