As a child I visited the National Aquarium and the Inner Harbor multiple times and always felt I’d entered a magical world. I could really imagine the world of Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. However, since moving to Baltimore three years ago, I had not returned because in my mind there were still Baltimore attractions I hadn’t yet seen. How wrong I was!
When my brother came to visit me this summer, we spent a Saturday morning exploring the aquarium and discovered many exhibits had changed in the last 20 years. A favorite of ours, and all the children there that day, was a massive tank near the aquarium entrance that features a large, rescued sea turtle with three fins named Calypso as well as many sharks and tropical fish. Instead of watching them at eye level, you lean on the railing of an open pool and watch them swim below. With so many sea animals, feeding time is often and exciting to watch as they devour heads of lettuce and other delectable sea creature delights.
As visitors explore the exhibits winding up the four-story aquarium, many interactive exhibits created for children still enticed me as an adult, although children were not looking for the guppy Flounder (Ariel’s best friend from the Little Mermaid), but Nemo and Dory from Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Once visitors reach the fourth floor, they begin the decent along a winding ramp that lets them explore the sea life at different elevations of the ocean. The ramp ends with shark alley, where visitors can come face to face with several shark species.
Part of the National Aquarium’s work is spent conducting conservation efforts and educating their visitors on threats to marine life. The current conservation exhibit is on the role of jelly fish due to their multiplying numbers and the history of the different types of jelly fish’s movements in the ocean.
All in all, as an adult or child, the National Aquarium is a wonderful place to spend a morning or afternoon.