|Under the Sea at the National Aquarium in Baltimore
A variety of animals, people and programs make the Aquarium a unique place to visit.
If you want to stay dry while experiencing an underwater adventure, then the National Aquarium in Baltimore is the place for you. More than 1.6 million visitors come annually to the Aquarium to admire the 10,500 creatures on display in more than 1 million gallons of water.
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Five levels of exhibits include an Amazon River rainforest, in the Aquarium’s main building, which opened in August 1981 at a cost of $21.3 million. The Marine Mammal Pavilion was later constructed to house dolphins and a hospital pool. Not only are exhibit animals treated in the pool, but so are animals that require rehabilitation through the Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP). The program was started more than 10 years ago to respond to, rescue and rehabilitate stranded animals, according to Director of Conservation Glenn Page.
Volunteers have been an integral part of Aquarium operations since it opened. Six hundred volunteers have contributed more than $1 million worth of labor and time, according to Leslie Landsman, Manager of Volunteer Programs. A variety of positions from office assistants to divers and exhibit guides are available.
The Aquarium is “like a family,” Marie Tillman, a volunteer for 22 years, said. “Volunteers are ever and always learning.”
The Aquarium’s mission is to “stimulate interest in, develop knowledge about and inspire stewardship of aquatic environments,” according to its Web site. As a place of learning, the Aquarium offers numerous educational programs. Many teacher-led school groups visit the institution daily to learn about and view the exhibits.
The Aquarium is located at 501 East Pratt Street in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Admission is $17.50 for adults, $9.50 for children 3 to 11 years of age and $14.50 for adults 60 years and older. Children under 3 are admitted free. For hours, directions and other general information, call (410) 576-3800 or visit the Aquarium’s Web site.