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When Francis Scott Key saw the US flag flying above Fort McHenry as the Americans battled the British during the War of 1812, he was inspired to write The Star-Spangled Banner. Today's visitors to the fort on Baltimore's waterfront can spend a full day exploring the historic events.
Start by viewing the orientation film at Fort McHenry Visitors Center and tour the barracks. At the Star Fort Museum, you can check out the electric battle map, the Commander's and Enlisted Men's Quarters, and the restored flagpole. Flag changes take place twice daily. Rangers programs include a Flag Talk and a discussion about the Battle of Baltimore. Take time to visit the gift shop for a souvenir, too.
The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., with the grounds open until 6 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day and to 5 p.m. the rest of the year.