The National Aquarium is a public aquarium located on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. At over 1.3 million visitors per year, it ranks as Maryland’s most popular paid tourist attraction. Boasting nearly 20,000 animals from 700 species, visitors will see fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians both great and small, from the huge sand tiger sharks to tiny poison dart frogs. People of all ages will enjoy learning about the strange and mysterious wonders of underwater life, as well as related conservation efforts to preserve their habitats. Touch pools bring an interactive dimension to the experience.
Here’s my video showing a sample of what you’ll see:
The National Aquarium is a group of three interconnected, angular-shaped buildings that stretch across Piers 3 and 4 on the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
Visitors walk into the glass-faced entrance to the sound of splashing water pouring down a 35-foot waterfall. Its top level houses the open Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit where birds fly freely over the water tanks containing fish and amphibians.
The main Pier 3 Pavilion contains five levels, each exhibiting a different set of habitats.
Level 1 contains the Blacktip Reef exhibit, an open pool with sharks, rays, sea turtles and variety of fish that remains visible as you continue rising to the upper floors on moving walkways.
Level 2 is the Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit, which displays the fish and wildlife found in local habitats.
Level 3 contains the popular, interactive Living Seashore touch pools, where you can dip your hand into the water and feel skates and jellies glide underneath your fingers. Assistants are on-hand to help and answer questions. You’ll also find a strange and beautiful creatures in the Surviving Through Adaption exhibit, like the octopus and blood shrimp. If you’re lucky, you might get to see the male seahorse giving birth!
Level 4 includes the Sea Cliffs exhibit with the adorable puffins, and the Pacific Coral Reef exhibit with plant-like anemones, which are really animals!
Level 5 is enclosed in a glass atrium to prevent the winged creatures of the Tropical Rain Forest from escaping the exhibit.
After you’ve explored the rain forest, you’ll begin your descent down ramps through Atlantic Coral Reef and Shark Alley exhibits. The lower you go, the more ominous the creatures get.
Cross an indoor walkway to the Pier 4 Pavilion featuring the Dolphin Discovery exhibit, a cafeteria, and the very popular Jellies Invasion exhibit. See these strange and delicate creature pulse through the water like transparent dancing mushrooms. Some have long tails like streamers in a parade. Their vibrant colors dazzle through the bubbling, underwater haze.
Other features include guest services, gift shops, snack booths, cafeterias, a 4D theater and overlooks onto the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
There are many other ways to enjoy the aquarium. Enjoy a special tour, encounter or sleepover. For education, they offer field trips, homeschooling programs and other educational resources. The Aquarium can also be rented as a unique venue for weddings or events. Check out the website for more details.
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