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Five Reasons to Love the National Aquarium

Award-winning exhibits and more than 20,000 aquatic animals make this Inner Harbor destination Baltimore's most popular attraction.

Since 1981, the National Aquarium has been a can’t-miss destination in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and is consistently ranked as one of the best aquariums in the country. Come face-to-face with animals from all over the globe, including sharks, crocodiles, jellyfish and even two-toed sloths.

Besides the stunning habitats, you can also enjoy 4D immersion films about marine life and engage with some of the aquarium’s smaller animals like Australian bearded dragons, hyacinth macaws or tiger salamanders. Read on to learn why the National Aquarium is one of our favorite local attractions.

1. Pet a stingray

At the aquarium’s Living Seashore exhibit, you can view and even touch more than 150 sea creatures from the Mid-Atlantic, like an Atlantic stingray or a pulsing moon jelly. Feel sand dollars and shell fragments on the tactile discovery wall.

2. Watch dolphins play

Since 1991, the National Aquarium has been a model for dolphins in human care. Each day, visitors can watch volunteers take them through their enrichment activities and continue developing their intelligence. You can also learn about the natural seawater sanctuary the aquarium has established to give its colony a healthier long-term home, which will be the first of its kind in North America.

3. Surround yourself with sharks

The stunning award-winning Blacktip Reef exhibit gives you the experience of diving to the bottom of an Indo-Pacific reef. Follow the sloped walkways downward to get a multi-floor view of blacktip reef sharks, tasselled wobbegong sharks, clown triggerfish and reticulated whiptail rays.

4. Go behind the scenes

Get a closer look at the majestic creatures that live at the aquarium with behind-the-scenes tours and experiences, guided by on-site experts. Explore a reef, meet Australian reptiles and get up close and personal with a bottlenose dolphin. There are even aquarium sleepovers for the whole family (ages 8 and up). Plus, adults can dive in the Atlantic Coral Reef for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5. Contribute to conservation efforts

More than providing a fun place to learn about animals, the National Aquarium is also committed to environmental conservation, animal rescue and research. To help extend those efforts, the aquarium opened the Animal Care & Rescue Center in 2018 that houses sick or rescued animals and can be toured by the public on weekends.

The National Aquarium takes part in a variety of conservation initiatives, including animal rescue, protecting the Chesapeake and advocating for responsible seafood consumption and production. Learn more about the aquarium’s conservation efforts.

Plan Your Trip

Exterior view of The National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Exterior view of The National Aquarium in Baltimore.

The aquarium can be a half-day experience if you want it to be, so come early and plan to spend a few hours here.

Pro tip: to save money on admission, visit on a Friday after 5 p.m. for half-price tickets.

For more details and to buy tickets, visit the National Aquarium profile page.