We spent 5 hours in this place to see just about all that it had to offer.
There are many exhibits and rooms. They have a live dolphin show. Be careful of sitting in the first few rows because you might get splashed. and of course the optional 4D movie which you pay extra for. It is similar to disney land.
All areas are handicap accessible.
The National Aquarium is located right at the Inner Harbor and is a favorite place for adults and children. It is not just about the fish, but the aquarium has birds, snakes, reptiles and amphibians. The Australian animal exhibit is fascinating.
In the middle of summer the Aquarium is very crowded – I guess the term sardine would be appropriate here! Come early in the day to avoid the crowds. Tickets are not cheap (current prices are $25/adult and $20/child) and you will want to enjoy your time at the aquarium without getting bumped and moved along with the crush of people.
The Aquarium has a dolphin show (added fee) that runs 3-5 times a day (check the schedule online). You can see the dolphins without going to the show, but the show adds to the fun and education about these mammals.
It is highly recommended that you buy your tickets in advance online – that way you avoid the lines. Come early in the day or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds (and avoid the summer if at all possible!).
The Aquarium makes for a fun outing, especially with children. The air conditioned building also makes a nice break from Baltimore’s heat and humidity.
This is an awesome aquarium, and we've been to many. The 30 minute dolphin show is well worth the extra $3 admission. Divers were hand-feeding rays and a sea turtle. The jellyfish exhibit is amazing, and we really enjoyed the Australian exhibit, we've never viewed those types of animals in other aquariums. Strollers are not allowed inside for safety reasons, which is nice for people like me who get tired of dodging them but not so nice for people with small children. There are 2 places to grab a snack or a meal. We went on a Saturday and it was busy, but a very nice place to visit.
Don't be mis-led by the name "National" aquarium. It's not like the other free national museums in the DC area. This was costs a lot of money and time. Advertised internet price was different from actual price. Their website suggested we could actually pet the sting rays. They did not allow this. My daughter was very disappointed. We stood in a long long line for over an hour on a hot sweltering day prior to entering. Once inside, I got very claustrophobic in the narrowly laid out slow moving line that only went one way. Not a pleasant experience. One half of the short (less than 30 min.) dolphin show was watching them on a large tv. Overall, a very disappointing and over priced experience.
My girlfriend and her 2 girls and I went to this in the spring and had a blast---especially photographically wise.....Some of what I loved---the seals (check out the blind one in the photo!) the jellyfish (ooohh) and the penguins. It may seem crazy, but I just don't like dolphin shows---probably wouldn't like monkey shows or whale shows either.....just doesn't seem right, but who's to say that jellyfish shouldn't be treated the same way? I do not have the answer, but in any event, this is a cool place to visit for anyone, especially kids.
Dollar Days is a special rate weekend at the National Aquarium. They do this every year during the first weekend in December and its open to everyone. It is on a first come first served basis so come early, be prepared to be in line and yes its cold at that Baltimore harbor this time of year. Entrance is $1usd per person for general admission ( much lower then the normal $29.95 per adult and $19.95 per child) and $5usd for admission plus the 4D theater showing. The Dolphin show is closed but you can still see them in the normal viewing area. I suggest the $5 package because you get the same access as the $1 plus the movie and its included in the price. Also they have Dollar day discounts at the cafes inside so if the weather is bad you dont have to leave to eat for a lunch or dinner break. But being in the Inner Harbor you can plan to eat before or after. Just remember on Dollar Days they do not allow reentry, but once you are in you can stay as long as you like. Its truely Wonderful and no matter your age you will not regret your Dollar Day visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore!
Since its opening in 1981, the National Aquarium has been one of the major sights at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Its striking modern architecture of a pyramidal roof, colorful rectangles and cylindral sections are not what you may think an aquarium would look like, but once inside there is no doubt that the aquarium is all that you hoped it would be and more.
Visited only once until this trip at the end of June (2009), the aquarium much larger now. It is divided into pier pavilions, each housing unique eco systems such as "Animal Planet Australia," "Atlantic Coral Reef," "Upland Tropical Rain Forest," etc. We saw waterfalls, sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, dolphins, native Atlantic fish, birds, crocodiles, turtles--the list is endless.
Pier 4 Pavilion houses the large amphitheater where the Dolphin Show is performed and where you're likely to get splashed if you sit in the lower seating rows!! The 4-D Immersion Theater is located in the Glass Pavilion, also home to Animal Planet Australia. Both of these special attractions were included on our timed ticket, and we made sure we were at the designated spot for our prescheduled time to see both of these shows. The 4-D Immersion Show was a movie in 4-D as the name suggests---you experienced sights, sounds, smells and touch while watching a fascinating film about wildlife---was extremely well done and worth the time. Also while in Pavilion 4, take a minute to see "Jellies Invasion:Oceans Out of Balance." The upside-down jellyfish were little luminous beings I had not seen before.
It is worth spending at least 2 hours in the aquarium (maybe more). For the tired and hungry, each pavilion has a cafe of its own, and a souvenir shop relating to the eco-system on display in that pavilion. Some of the souvenirs are actually for grown-ups and are artistic.
Because we had a group ticket which included admission to the Aquarium, Dolphin Show, 4-D Theatre and our transportation to Baltimore for $25, it was an amazingly good bargain for us.
As of August, 2009, prices are:
Adult - ages 12 - 59, Aquarium only: $24.95; ticket with extras: $29.95
Senior - ages 60+ Aquarium only: $23.95; ticket with extras: $28.95
Child - ages 3-11 Aquarium only $14.95; ticket with extras: $19.95
Check website for hours, but for August, 2009:
Monday - Thursday: 9 - 5
Friday & Saturday: 9 - 8
Sunday: 9 - 6
This is a really cool aquarium. I must say they did such a wonderful job in how they display so many species of fish. The have a great Dolphin Show and a tropical rainforest that you can walk through. It does take some time to go through it, but everyone will enjoy it.
The National Aquarium do not allow strollers making it impossible to bring small children.
My three year old daughter could not wait to see the aquarium, however it was much to large for her to walk for 4 to 5 hours to see it all. The bathrooms are poorly marked, so she wet herself before we found one.
I had to carry my 25 pound 9 month old (she’s very tall) around for those 5 hours.
They rent germ ridden backpacks which are coming apart and look unsafe - and filthy looking front carriers which my child is to large to carry.
They use escalators and moving sidewalks which are unsafe for toddlers, the elderly and mothers carrying heavy loads. I almost fell down the escalator trying to assist my toddler, carry my baby and a diaper bag.
The aquarium does offer lockers, but a baby needs to be feed on demand. The lockers are on the first floor and until you reach the TOP of the aquarium there is no way to get back to the first floor. And God forbid you try and use an elevator those are only for people in wheelchairs, not for people like my mother in law how is scared to death of escalators or children in wet pants. The other children with us ranger from 5 – 10 years old also had medication that needed to be taken, items that they had purchased on the lower level, that they had to carry, which could have easily fit in the bottom of the stroller but served to make the day more difficult and less enjoyable for everyone.
If you ever visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, do it when your children are teenagers – it is NOT kid friendly.
On Friday evening I went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. I went there a few years ago also, but remember it being bigger and better for some reason. Maybe it's just awesome the first time you go. I was a little disappointed with it this time around. We made it through the whole of it in an hour and a half. To annoy me more, if I would've gone just an hour later at 1700, I could've saved about $10 in parking, and $13 off the entrance (normal tickets are like $22). I think the aquarium is open late only on Fridays tho, so if you are planning a trip. Go after 5 on Fridays. Oh, and don't forget to print out your parking coupon online.
This is one of the best aquariums that I've ever seen. And, as you can tell from my other pages, that's saying a lot. It rates second only to Sea World in San Diego.
Here is an enormous collection of sea creatures from around the world. There is a tropical rain forest, with an exhibit of river life; a very impressive collection of frogs, both tropical and temperate; several exhibits on the Atlantic coast, including the beach, tidal marshes, coral reefs, and upriver areas; and the largest display that I've seen of Australian creatures (no large mammals, but lots of small reptiles and fish).
The big favorite is, of course, the dolphins. They put on a magnificent show, with a variety of stunts and some audience interaction. Maybe you'll get to be a "volunteer."
The entry fee is $21.95, and three dollars more with the dolphin show. But if you have at least several hours, then it's worth it. You need that long to get your money's worth. There are three large buildings to explore.
The National Aquarium (1981) is the highlight of the Inner Harbor, so plan to tour this "must see" attraction.
You'll find several floors of immense aquariums, home to hundreds of species of sea creatures. The huge windows allow for easy viewing as you wind your way along ramps, which snake throughout the exhibits. As they swim in their strikingly beautiful habitat, you'll notice the staggering variety of fish. The aquarium is home to 11,000 creatures!
Important tips for visiting the Aquarium: Buy advance tickets if possible or before you begin touring the Inner Harbor and on busy times of the year visit either at the beginning of hours or towards the end.
When we purchased our tickets, we were given a specific time to arrive. We had to wait a couple of hours because there was quite a crowd, so while waiting for our turn we visited other sights. There was plenty to see!
Admission for adults is $21.95; seniors $20.95; children 3-11 $12.95 and under 3 free. Hours are seasonal.
If you haven't been to Baltimore's Inner Harbor in a few years, you have missed the big expansion of the National Aquarium. Always the centerpiece of the Inner Harbor rennaissance, the National Aquarium just keeps getting better and better. Is it the best aquarium in the United States? Arguably, it is.
The most recent addition is the Australia Exhibit, which takes a look at the world's driest continent from a hydro perspective. About 10 years ago, they added on a marine mammal pavillion that includes dolphin shows that come with the price of admission and are guaranteed to entertain. But my favorite place is still the tropical rainforest, located in a glass pyramid atop the building. Oh yeah, and being an aquarium, it does actually have tanks with fish in it , too, with a special focus on the Chesepeake Bay.
If you live locally, ask the aquarium staff about sleepovers for your kids.
We have no idea how much it costs because the last few times we visited, we were members.
The National Aquarium officially opened in August of 1981. It was the beginning of Baltimore's Inner Harbor redevelopement. It has gone through a myriad of changes of the last few decades, and recently they opened a "Rain Forrest" section that houses birds, reptiles and other indigenous species from the rain forrest areas. They also have an area at the aquarium:"Australian exhibit, Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes, depicts amazing stories of survival in an extreme environment." There's a frog exhibit as well as a Dolphin Amphitheater.
The all new NATIONAL AQUARIUM IN BALTIMORE in the Inner Harbour area, is a architectural masterpiece. It is just so overwhelmingly beautiful. There is a 35-foot cascading waterfall inside the Glass Pavilion. In the Pier 3 Pavilion, you can journey into the mysteries of water and the natural world. Interact with the dolphins and their trainers during the dolphin show "Play!".