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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Cost - The cost of the tickets themselves ($40 per adult) were rather off-putting but the reviews online are generally great so we spent the time and money to go to the National Aquarium. As a side note, be prepared to pay around $30 for parking in a garage and walk to the aquarium.

Children - When we got there, we had to check our stroller. I knew we would have to, but the coat check/stroller area was a logistical nightmare and was understaffed. We didn’t check coats but be prepared to pay additional money for that service.

Bathrooms – This was a huge issue. The bathrooms did not account for the number of visitors. They were unkempt and, in some cases, downright dirty. Instead of a plethora of family bathrooms with changing areas, there were almost no bathrooms that would easily accommodate changing small children.

Café area – The price gouging continued on here. It is disgusting to pay $40 per ticket and then be expected to shell out something like $8.00 for a hot dog or over $2.00 for a can of soda. Our party of six adults and three children decided to skip it all together even though we were starving. Stop pretending Baltimore is the Lower Mid-Atlantic’s Manhattan—that it most certainly is NOT.

Building construction limitations – Clearly the designer/architects did not understand the accessibility needs of those with children or those with physical disabilities. There were plenty of narrow walkways, steep stairs, escalators that go up on an incline but not on an actual step, turnstiles etc. There were also many areas that were too dark. It almost felt like a haunted house at some points.

Crowded – This was the number one issue at the aquarium. Aside from our 6’ 2” adult, NONE OF US COULD ACTUALLY SEE ANYTHING. People were crammed into the exhibits like sardines and it was nearly impossible to get up front and get a good look at anything. Of course, the lack of social awareness of many of the visitors who wouldn’t even move to accommodate small children and stayed in the very front (almost touching the glass) for extended periods of time didn't help matters. Unless you’re comfortable with being extremely rude and self-obsessed enough to ram through people and steal areas, be prepared to spend 90% of the trip staring at the back of people’s heads. This was a completely preventable problem and required only that the aquarium half the number of visitors at any given time. There was ZERO enjoyment here, only pure frustration. I have been to museums, aquariums, and zoos all over the world and have never once had such a poor experience.

Noise – When you shove double the amount of people you should into small spaces, this is inevitable isn’t it? You cannot possibly enjoy this aquarium if you actually value having a conversation with the individuals you came with. It was so crowded we couldn’t even stay together most of the time.

The last time I visited the National Aquarium was in the ‘90s, and my experience was wonderful. Unfortunately, today’s experience was the worst I have ever had. I generally come to TripAdvisor to rave about wonderful establishments, but this was purely unacceptable. Shame on the National Aquarium.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank skdphe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaurenH3778, Public Relations Manager at National Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Hi skdphe. Thank you for sharing your feedback. I am very disheartened to hear this reflection on your recent experience. In addition to our commitment to provide an engaging and valuable experience for each and every one of our guests, we strive for the highest standard in service and facility maintenance. It appears your time with us did not reflect that and I would welcome hearing more about your visit, so our internal teams can address and continually improve in these areas. If you are willing to provide additional details, you can connect with me directly at social@aqua.org.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This is a really nice aquarium and I have been several times over the years. The price has risen quite a bit, but the habitats are really well done. It does get quite crowded and it is sometimes difficult to see the exhibits really well. They stack visitors into time slots and it can make it feel a bit rushed when it is crowded.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank Greta T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2019

One of the great places in Maryland for families to visit. Like many other places for families to visit, pricing could be alot better, especially!

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank jacquelinej924
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2019

We've been fortunate to visit quite a few aquariums in the past few years and this one is a bit of a disappointment. It's really expensive and there are no discounts to be had. The exhibits and the facility in general are getting pretty dated and it looked like they were having trouble keeping the bathrooms maintained. When this place opened it was a showcase, but it no longer has the wow factor.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank VictoriaM1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaurenH3778, Public Relations Manager at National Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded February 13, 2019

Hi VictoriaM1. Thank you for sharing your feedback. I’m disheartened to hear your visit did not match your expectations. We aim to keep our facility in top shape, updating our exhibits and building often. With 20,000 animals and immersive daily programming, it is our goal to provide an enjoyable, engaging and educational experience for all of our guests. As a nonprofit organization, your entry fee helps us feed and care for our animals and continue our conservation and education programs and more—we thank you for your support! If you have any additional feedback on how your experience could have been more valuable, you can reach me directly at social@aqua.org.

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Reviewed February 12, 2019

Awesome.. me and my family loved every bit of it and will be visiting again sometimes in the near future.

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank evejob500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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