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“Pricey, crowded and poorly maintained”
Review of National Aquarium

National Aquarium
Ranked #4 of 237 things to do in Baltimore
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Considered one of the world's best aquariums, the National Aquarium's mission is to inspire conservation of the world's aquatic treasures. It champions environmental initiatives by engaging with visitors, volunteers, education groups and schools to actively participate in the preservation of the world's natural resources and living systems. The National Aquarium delivers meaningful experiences through its living collection of more than 17,000 animals from more than 750 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, marine mammals and sharks, as well as through exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences like sleepovers and tours, science-based education programs and hands-on experiences in the field.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed November 18, 2012

Expensive and crowded

The Baltimore Aquarium in concept is a wonder. You are promised travel to an Australian river gorge, descend through an Atlantic coral reef, explore a tropical rain forest, discover dolphins and sharks, and interact with animal experts. In practice, on a Sunday afternoon, the crowds are such that it is an exercise not unlike dodge ball. The idea of a lovely stroll through an educational display of aquatic life does not exist. You cannot get close to the displays. Unable to see anything, the children run, scream, cry and are uncontrollable. Much of the building is under repair. The escalators and elevators are dysfunctional and the aquarium help, no doubt frazzled by the crowds, are surly and almost rude. Save the thirty dollars and walk around the fish tanks at Petco.

Thank kmsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colleen D, Public Relations Representative at National Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded November 26, 2012

Yikes! We take our mission to inspire conservation of the world's aquatic treasures very seriously - and for that reason, we are alarmed to hear that your vist rivaled a trip to a pet shop. We apologize if we failed in inspiring you and we appreciate your feedback.

We offer only timed admission so as to manage crowd control. That said, we are grateful to be a popular destination for families and young conservationalists-in-the-making on weekends. We hope that you'll consider visiting us on a weekday for more of the private experience that you may be seeking. We are indeed preparing to open a brand new and exciting exhibit in 2013 and we have worked with experience specialists to guarantee this it does not have a negative impact on our visitors. We apologize if you felt that this wasn't the case and we will let our specialists know.

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We do hope that you'll come back to see us again soon and allow us to show you a more typical visitor experience.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,535 - 4,539 of 5,822 reviews

Reviewed November 18, 2012

After hearing about the Baltimore Aquarium for years we finally got an opportunity to visit. Despite some ongoing construction for a new exhibit we managed to walk around the different areas viewing what was available from the dolphin shows to the shark tank to the Australian exhibit. Staff was very friendly and helpful.


The Dolphin show is fun adding some thrill for children and adults. Though the show is short you can comeback to different shows during the day.

The Australian exhibit is interesting especially with the birds and bats flying around.


We were surprised how small the aquarium was. We managed to see everything in little over an hour.

The overall design is a bit confusing. There isn't a clear path to start and end with. At the end we were wondering if we missed something. Perhaps this was due to the construction.

The Shark tank was interesting but we weren't so sure the stairwell layout was good. We can see how this might help out with crowds but it's an awkward way to view the sea life.

Having visited many aquariums over the years (The amazing Aqua-Marine Fukushima and Aqua World in Japan, Waikiki Aquarium, Downtown Aquarium in Denver & Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey. Read our reviews on these!) the National Aquarium was the least impressive.

However, that being said if you're in Baltimore with children the Baltimore National Aquarium is a fun experience. Plan your schedule around the crowds!

Thank bcmwk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2012

Although a little pricey, this is an amasing place, where you can see gian mantas, huge sharks and green turtles through the glass walls as you spiral down through three floors. Do not forget a dolfins show!

Thank borismail01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2012

As frequent visitors, we also wish the prices were lower. We've been patrons as resident Marylanders for many years. We would visit more often if the prices were not so high, especially since our children now have to pay for tickets... The facility itself is lovely, high tech and well maintained. Exhibits are wonderful and the dolphin show is a real treat. We are considering purchasing an annual membership next year which is cost effective now that we have preschool age kids who want to visit more often. One note to parents with infants... You MUST park you strollers. So walk with a baby carrier or you can borrow one for free; they offer basic soft carriers that are very clean (each time i used one it smelled freshly laundered).

1  Thank TeamJJJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Went on reduced price night. Enjoyed myself. So much to see. So much to do. To sum it up in one word, Spectacular!

Thank Bmoresunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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