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“worth visiting”

National Aquarium, Baltimore
Ranked #4 of 226 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 older children, Activities for young children
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
59 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“worth visiting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2011

I had visited the national aquarium at Baltimore with my family.My daughter loved the various exhibits there.We enjoyed the dolphin show and also watched the 3-d movie.
The aquarium is a one day visit and has a variety of aquatic animals kept in hygienic conditions. The tropical rainforests are also worth visiting. Overall a pleasant experience for everyone.

Visited November 2010
Helpful?
Thank julie0773
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Annandale, Virginia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Just Okay - much of the same.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2011

I went to Baltimore for a day trip with some friends and decided to go the aquarium. Having been to quite a few other aquariums, I was quite unimpressed. It felt like it hadn't been updated since they built it. It was pretty much fish tank after fish tank after fish tank- many of the same fish with the occasional shark tank and frog area. It wasn't very interactive (they had some touch screens which were interesting). It didn't have many other types of animals (otters, penguins, etc) that you see in better aquariums. For the price, I was expecting more. The jelly fish exhibit was neat - but too small and the big open tank full of sting rays and turtles was cool.

The dolphin show was also just okay - it lasted 20 minutes, of which maybe 5 minutes was the dolphins doing tricks. The other 15 was speeches about saving the planet and talking about dolphins and their senses.

Visited January 2011
Helpful?
Thank macman07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delaware
Level Contributor
1,102 reviews
445 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,747 helpful votes
“Nice Aquarium at the Inner Harbor--BUT a little PRICEY $$$”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2011

My husband and I had both been to the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore as kids, but it had been years since either one of us had been back. So, we decided to make it a point to get back to the Aquarium one day together. It was a cold day in January and I thought it would be a great way to spend the better part of an afternoon.

We arrived on a Saturday around 2:45pm. The aquarium was open until 5pm, but they actually stay open until 6:30pm for guests who are already admitted. We purchased 2 adult tickets to the aquarium & added the dolphin show ($3 each) to each of our passes. We decided not to purchased the 4-D Immersion Theater tickets. It still cost us around $56 for both of us to see the aquarium and dolphin show. We were handed our tickets and directed towards the entrance.

Once inside, we were standing in front of a huge waterfall. It was really pretty. Around the corner, we handed our tickets stubs to the greeter and were admitted. We were NOT given any printed maps. We were a little confused as to where to start & the lay out of the aquarium. We finally decided to start with the Glass Pavillion and the Australia Wild Extremes section. Here it s a nice open atmosphere. We saw turtles, fish, birds, lizards and a crocodile. It almost felt like being outdoors since it is a glass pavillion. It was really pretty inside and the atmosphere was designed to look like rocks, trees and nature. It maybe took us 15 minutes to walk through this section. Just outside this section is the Aquarium Cafe and Aquarium Gift Shop. We did not go to the Cafe, but we did stop at the Gift Shop on our way out.

After we exited this section we decided to go to the Pier 3 Pavillion. Here we walked past the large lighted bubble tubes. They were really pretty & it was neat how they reflected in the mirrored walls. The kids at the aquarium seemed really amused by them. Just past the bubble tubes, we saw the huge tank that had lots of stingrays, a few small sharks and a sea turtle in it. We even saw an employee diving with the fish. There were various types of stingrays in this aquarium--even an all white stingray. They were really neat and some of them were HUGE. From here we made our way up to the upper levels (2, 3 and 4). Most of these levels had various fish, anenomes, starfish, atlantic puffins (birds) and more. We saw some really funny fish on these levels. One fish in particular caught my eye since he had so much personality--this was the cowfish. He LOVED the cameras!! The puffins were really neat too, since you could hear them through the aquarium walls. I think they had microphones set inside so you could hear them & they were really talkative!

After visiting the fish levels, we made our way back down to level 1 so we could walk over to the Pier 4 Pavilion. One of the dolphins shows was starting. From the main lobby, we followed the long hallway down to Pier 4. Here we immediately saw the dolphin show area. We showed our tickets and were admitted. Here it is stadium style seating, with the first few rows being marked as the SPLASH ZONE. It was a really nice ampitheater. The staff seemed like they really enjoyed working with the dolphins. They had HUGE tv's on the wall that showed us some videos on dolphins. Then we got to see the dolphins in the ampitheater perform. The show probably lasted about 1/2 an hour. We both enjoyed the dolphin show and felt it was really worth the extra $3 to see the show. It would have been nice IF it had been included in admisson--because I think IF you don't see it, you are missing out on one of the best features. BUT, I would highly recommend paying the extra few bucks to see the dolphin show! BUT, IF you don't pay to see the show, you can still catch a glimpse at the dolphins through a tank viewing window on Pier 4.

After we saw the dolphins, we made our way around the corner to the Atrium area. Here there was the Atrium Cafe and the Jellies Invasion section. The jellyfish area was really small and compact. There basically one way in and one way out. So, it made a bottleneck effect instead of making people continually flow past the exhibits. Some of the jellyfish were really pretty, but some of them were hard to see due to the crowding. This section could use some improvement to add to the enjoyment of seeing these "prehistoric creatures" . This section might take 15 minutes to see.

Once we had seen the Jellies Invasion, we made our way back around to the long hallway that connected Pier 4 to the main lobby. We decided to make our way back up through the levels of Pier 3 so we could see the Upland Tropical Rainforest that is on the top level. It too is an all glass level similar to the Australia Exhibit in the Glass Pavillion. It is really pretty and WARM inside the Rainforest. Here we saw various birds, turtles and frogs. There are supposed to be sloths in the rainforest section too, but the guide couldn't even spot them! However, there were some really pretty birds like the Scarlet Ibis. These brightly colored birds were beautiful. Just outside the rainforest section is a small area with various frogs. I really enjoyed this section. The poison dart frogs are really vibrant (rred, blue, green, orange, yellow) & so cute.

As you exit the Pier 3 Rainforest area, you will go down an escalator into the Atlantic Coral Reef. This is a basically an oval room with stairs that go down the levels in circular fashion. Here we saw lots of sharks and fish. The sharks here were really amazing.

On our way out, we stopped at the MAIN gift shop and used the restrooms (which were clean). The MAIN gift shop is really large. Note: There are smaller gift shops set throughout (shark shop, atrium shop, etc) in addition to the MAIN Aquarium Shop. The MAIN gift shop was nice, but we did not see anything we had to have. IF you have kids, you might want to beware because I saw lots of things kids would probably beg their parents to buy!

Overall, we had a nice time at the aquarium. We ended up spending around 2 & 1/2 hours here to see all the exhibits. The exhibits were all very nice & all seemed VERY clean. The animals and fish all seemed healthy and well cared for & this is important to me in choosing an aquarium or zoo! I would recommend a visit to this aquarium. It is really nice. I just wish it were not as expensive & so confusing in terms of layout. However, we did feel we got our money worth--especially with the dolphin show. IF we had just purchased regular aquarium tickets & not seen the dolphins--I might not feel we had gotten our FULL value! So, please please pay the extra few dollars and see the dolphin show. In my opinion, it alone is worth half the ticket price!! Also, try to grab a map from one of the visitor desks to ensure you don't miss out on any of the exhibits!

TIP: Go to the aquarium website to check out the promotions and discounts. You can find discounts on admission, parking, local restaurants, hotels & etc on their website.

Visited January 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank daisyferret1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A must see”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2011

My boyfriend and I were just in Baltimore for one day, and were looking for things to do. So, we decided to go to the National Aquarium and it was a great choice. I had been there over 7 years ago, but now it is even better. We kept thinking that it was great entertainment for $30. We walked around the aqaurium, enjoyed the Dolphin show, and watched a 4-D movie. This place is so big and amazingly designed. We loved the entire place, especially walking down the ramp while looking at all the different types of fish at each level through the glass. Of course, the dolphin show was amazing and we really enjoyed the 4-D movie experience, which is a 3-D movie that incorporates sensory aspects, such as wind, fake snow which really felt cold, trembling seats, water sprays, and more.

You must check it out if you are in Baltimore.

Visited January 2011
Helpful?
6 Thank nitawil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great for young kids!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2011

This place kept my kids (6 - 8 years old) interested for hours. They loved all the exhibits, especially the dolphin show. It was a great educational experience for them too. They've already asked when we can go back.

Visited January 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank emilyb71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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