When the National Aquarium in DC closed its doors on September 30, 2013, the Baltimore Aquarium stepped in to fill the shoes of the region’s premium location for all things fish-y. Undergoing renovations and expansions over the years, it has been a huge tourist draw for visitors to the Inner Harbor. Children of all ages will be in awe of the many wonderful sea creatures that call the National Aquarium home. Below are some of the highlights:
1. Shark Alley – Every Aquarium has its main attraction and for Baltimore, this is it. Guests walk their way down a circular ramp surrounded by the magnificent creatures as they slowly glide in the water. You get the feeling that you are being circled by these teeth-baring creatures that may range from the hammerhead kind or the saw-nosed variety.
2. Jellies Invasion – As you head towards the farther end of the aquarium complex (Pier 4 – where the dolphin show is held), head straight for the jellyfish exhibit. This is a sight that will enthrall and excite young and old. If you’ve never seen these many kinds of jellyfish in your life, then the many colors and tentacle displays will surely make this trip worthwhile.
3. Living Seashore – Can’t get enough of these pulsating blobs with delicate tendrils streaming down? Head to Level 3 for the touch pool where you can actually touch and feel the jellyfish for yourself. These will be the non-stinging kind and you will be cautioned to touch only the round top part of the jellyfish. Also in the same area, you can try to touch the elusive horseshoe crabs and stingrays. Little hands will be busy dipping into the water and there will be washing facilities right next to it.
4. Puffin Feeding – Birds that swim should have a place in an aquarium. Catch the feeding as they swim underwater to snag a bite of fish between their strong beaks. Besides, they are also very cute to look at. Check the schedule on the screen as you enter the main hall on the second floor for puffin-feeding time.
5. Blacktip Reef – Best exhibit in the aquarium where you can get a bird’s eye view of the reefs, the colorful clown
triggerfish, stingrays, and of course, the blacktip reef shark all living harmoniously in this recreation of their ecosystem. On a less-crowded day, you could probably just stay here and take in the tranquility of the scene. Sorely missed is the three-flippered green sea turtle, Calypso, who recently passed away.
If you live in the area, it is worth getting the annual membership. You get member nights which includes free screenings of their 4D movies which would normally be an extra paid activity during the day. The 4D films are a sure hit with the shaking of the seats and water sprays that are sure to produce giggles and laughter.
What’s your favorite part of the National Aquarium?