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National Aquarium In Baltimore

Pier 3 - 501 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland

Phone: 410-576-3800 --
TTY: 410 625-0720

Statement of Purpose:

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is a world-class aquatic museum dedicated to education, conservation and environmertal improvement. Its diverse collection of more than 9,000 animals representing more than 600 species of fishes, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine mammals, live in recreated habitats from all over the world.

Highlights & Collections:


BALTIMORE, MD -- Dramatic architecture and bright outdoor graphics invite tourists to investigate further the jewel of the City's vital Inner Harbor area, the National Aquarium in Baltimore. One of the world's largest and most sophisticated aquatic museums, the City's premier tourist attraction re-creates habitats from all over the world to house more than 5,000 animais in over two million gallons of water. Strange and exotic fish are just the beginning. Visitors will encounter tropical and sub- Arctic birds, endangered turtles, venomous snakes, rare poison dart frogs - and Homo Sapiens in scuba gear, feeding the world's largest collection of stingrays.

Even before entering the Aquarium, visitors can enjoy the antics of gray and harbor seals - some of them, originally stranded animals - in the 70,000 gallon outdoor Seal Pool. Regular "seal watchers" can cali all of the Atlantic animals by name, but everybody's favorite is 750-pound Ike, a 21-year-old gray seal who has been a resident of the Aquarium since it opened in 1981. Seal feedings twice daily are accompanied by an informative narration and question-and-answer session.

Visitors entering the lobby first notice 16 gurgling "bubble tubes," a just for fun introduction to the worid of water. Children gravitate to the floor-to-ceiling tubes, dart between them, hug them, listen to them. Embarking on the "one-way-street" route through the Main Aquarium Building, Aquarium-goers first look down upon Wings in the Water, the world's largest collection of stingrays, silently and gracefully swimming among several species of small sharks. Several times daily, divers feed the rays and entertain tl ,e public with an educational presentation both above and under water. (The rays and sharks may also be enjoyed through large underwater viewing windows.)

Escalators and movealators carry people from level to level. Maryland: Mountains to the Sea on Level Two traces the water cycle from the mountain pond (where it might be raining!) through a tidal marsh and coastal beach, and out to the deeper water of the continental shelf. Bullfrogs, Maryland blue crabs, turtles, and kilideer--birds which sometimes lay eggs and hatch them right in the exhibit--as well as many species of fishes found locally, live here.

On the Third or Adaptations Level, everyone finds a favorite spot to linger. It might be with the giant Pacific octopus, African mouth-brooding cichlids, the electric eel from the Amazon, clownfish hiding in anemones, or the rare living coral display with its giant clams, featherduster worms and pencil urchins.

Visitors take a trip from the North Atlantic to the Pacific on the fourth level. Puffins, razorbills, and guillemots, sub-Arctic birds, swim and play in the frosty Sea Cliffs re-creation. Brilliant colors and unusual patterns characterize fishes of the sunlit Pacific Cora/ Reef, and children of all ages gather 'round the Children's Cove: Atlantic and Pacific Tide Pools to touch the shell of a horseshoe crab or gently hold a sea star.

Exhibits & Special Events:


Free to the public, a 70,000-gallon outdoor rock pool provides a home for harbor and gray seals. Mammalogists train and feed seals daily.

Dozens of stingrays, a Hawksbill sea turtle and many small sharks can be seen from the surface or through the underwater viewing windows of this 260,000 gallon pool, home of the largest ray collection in the country. Divers feed rays underwater, and offer narrations above water daily.

Four exhibits depict Maryland habitats. The water cycle is traced from an Allegheny pond through a Tidal Marsh and Coastal Beach, out to the Continental shelf. Bullfrogs, diamondback terrapin and sea robins show the diversity of Maryland's aquatic life.

In a darkened gallery with other-worldly ambience, seven species of jellyfish, from thumbtack size to saucer size, are highlighted. Visitors depart with a new appreciation for the beauty and fragility of these ocean drifters.

In this multi-exhibit gallery, diverse animals demonstrate how adaptations help them survive. A giant Pacific octopus devours a crab, green moray eels lurk in caves, seahorses slurp, jawfish burrow, and electric eels audibly generate electricity.

On this Aquarium "trip", visitors explore Atlantic sea cliffs (home to playful puffins and the only black guillemots on display in the country), an undersea kelp forest and a brilliant Pacific reef. In the Children's Cove, visitors of all ages can touch intertidal animals. A fiber optics exhibit reminds visitors of the fragility of rain forests, before they ascend to the Aquarium's Rain Forest Exhibit.

Tropical birds fly, poison dart frogs hop, piranhas swim, sloths hang, and tamarin monkeys scamper - among thousands of rainforest plants in this jungle habitat, under a towering glass pyramid.

Hundreds of colorful tropical fish swim and school on the most authentic reef ever fabricated in this newly renovated 335,000-gallon exhibit. As visitors descend the exhibit's ramps, they are surrounded by grunts, triggerfish, porcupine fish, hogfish, and many other species. Divers in the exhibit feed the reef's fish several times each day.

Large sharks and a smalltoothed sawfish slowly encircle the visitors inside this 225,000gallon, ring-shaped exhibit. In perfect safety, Aquarium-goers can come nose-to-nose with the inhabitants and live - and love - to tell the tale!

Bottlenose dolphins demonstrate their grace and agility in daily shows performed in a 1300-seat amphitheater. In Exploration Station, a collection of high-tech attractions, visitors can probe into the life and lore of marine mammals through participatory exhibits, videos, graphics, and innovative technology found nowhere else on the East Coast.

Ascending into the tropical Rain Forest, which is located on the top level under a glass pyramid, travelers are stunned by its beauty and diversity. In this naturalistic habitat - over, under and through the jungle-lush foliage - scarlet ibis and many other colorful birds swoop and call, iguanas sun themselves, golden lion tamarins (small, endangered monkeys) scamper, turtles climb from a pool onto the rocks, and two-toed sloths just "hang out." Tiny poison dart frogs, huge marine toads, and small lizards challenge visitors to spot them.

Behind the glass displays of the aptly named Hidden Life exhibit, sharp-eyed visitors discover one surprise after another. Many species of the small, jewel-colored poison dart frogs which the Aquarium is famous for breeding, hop about. Totally camouflaged vine snakes and brilliant emerald tree boas are coiled in the foliage. Fistsized horned frogs lurk in the substrate. Tree frogs, oddly resembling green peppers, cling to branches, and strange lizards remind visitors that all of the coneheads are not on late night TV.

Aquarium-goers descend ramps to the 335,000-gallon Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit, where they are surrounded by a daaling diversity of colorful tropical fish and the most authentic reef ever fabricated. Further down the ramps is the dark and mysterious-feeling Open Ocean Exhibit, where - if they dare - they come nose-to-nose with the lemon sharks, nurse sharks, sand tigers, and smalltooth sawfish encircling them.

On the glass-enclosed bridge, Aquarium visitors travel to the Marine Mammal Pavilion, opened in late 1990. Exploration Station is an absorbing collection of hi-tech, hands-on attractions which captivate old and young alike. Youngsters try to "catch" a 3- D hologram-like squid, compare their best whale-imitations to a real whale song, investigate baleen, and sample life from a whale's perspective. Everyone is mesmerized by the high-impact films of marine mammals feeding in the wild. In the Sound Theater, ocean darkness and marine mammal sounds surround, and in the 'Windows on the Wild'' Theater, seldom-seen courtship and reproduction rites of marine mammals are featured.

The highlight of this building is the dolphin show, "Dolphin Myths and Misconceptions," scheduled several times daily. Highlighting the grace, power, and agility of bottlenose dolphins, the show also teaches invaluable conservation lessons to visitors in the 1300 seat amphitheater.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is an aquatic museum dedicated to conservation and preservation of the environment.


Admission & Directions:



Check with us at a later date.

Key Personnel:

David M. Pittenger, Executive Director

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