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National Aquarium, Baltimore
Based on 2306 traveler reviews
Aug 21, 2014 by: sunrisegsd from Conowingo, MD
Planned a day at the National Aquarium with our grandson as a treat before he goes to pre-k. Promised him that this aquarium was even better than the very nice aquarium he loved at Chattanooga TN where we took him last summer. WOW, what an underwhelming letdown. Baltimore aquarium pales in comparison to Chattanooga aquarium and even our 4 year old could see that.. Very shocked and a bit angered at how this aquarium has declined. What is going on? This was THE go to aquarium in the country, now it is a joke. I saw much more attention by staff around planning a catered lunch rather than exhibits. We will most likely never go back to our "hometown" aquarium. No dolphin exhibit!! What in the world happened to the great dolphins? Big deal here are the Blacktip reef sharks. Yes, they are cool but then what? The rest of the aquarium is sadly lacking. Prices don't reflect the value given. You are going to spend $120.00 with parking for only three admissions, Not worth it. I honestly felt like asking for a refund. Even if I wasn't comparing it to the superior Chattanooga aquarium (we live in Maryland) I still think this aquarium is in need of serious help. Small things like scratched up and distorted aquarium glass are inexcusable. Yes, the new reef exhibit even has some scratched up "glass" In a few years it too will be a mess. The lack of anything tangible in the dolphin area is deplorable. I told my grandson he was going to see dolphins. Be aware, you won't really see much dolphin activity to speak of. Not worth the money. At half the price I still wouldn't take the drive into the city and pay $24 to park to see this again. Sorry to be so negative but it is an honest assessment.
Such a fun way to speand a few hours
Aug 21, 2014 by: R E from White Plains, New York
I am a bit of a "fish geek" so any opportunity to go to an aquarium I jump at. The layout was easy to maneuver, and they have a great collection. I will definitely stop in if I find myself in the neighborhood again.
Great Aquarium - With planning a spectacular experience
Aug 21, 2014 by: NSL14 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The National Aquarium (NA) in Baltimore is one of the best in the US, and in my opinion, the best on the East Coast. The NA is much more than an aquarium, as it shows off more than a few living birds, snakes, frogs and other animals. There is really too much to see for a simple day trip, and over time a repeat visit(s) is really in order. That said the NA has some warts and to see the Aquarium at its best, you must plan your visit well. I've been there in almost every season. I've found the best time to go to the NA, if possible, is not in the summer on weekends or weekdays. In the summer, especially hot days, the NA is packed with kids, and their parents who want to take their children to an amazing attraction, as well as beat the heat. I find the best time to go is fall through spring (not during holidays nor when schools aren't in session), and if you're not taking kids with you, go during the week. No matter when you go, be there as early as possible, before the crowds, or in the afternoon, when the crowds generally thin out. If you're visiting during the summer, go on a weekday. When you purchase your tickets, consider purchasing a "Behind the Scenes" tour, but not if you're with kids 10 or younger. I went with a group of friends (adults) and we all loved our "behind the scenes" tour. There are other "Immersion Tours" available and while nothing is inexpensive at the NA, these tours are worth it. If you are considering one, and will have kids with you, pay attention to the suggested age for these tours as children who are too young for them will be bored and a pain in the next to be with during the tour. Don't overestimate the precociousness of your child. You'll be sorry if you do. They have some movies at the NA too, but we've skipped them on all our visits as there is nothing like seeing the animals directly, which is our preference. Buy your tickets online, including tours, etc. to lock in your entry time and place in tours which fill fast. (Don't forget to take your receipt with you, printed from your computer, as you'll need it to pickup your tickets at the windows outside the NA. It will be fast most of the time, but allow 15minutes for the pickup. The NA is spread out to a large extent, but many of the exhibits aren't large and when the museum is filled, they will be hard to see, however, the higher you go, more often than not, the more open they will be. Use the NA website to plan your path through the museum, otherwise you might miss some of its best sights such as the Tropical Rain Forest, Animal Planet Australia, and the Jellies Invasion. When seeing the Aquarium's main tank, it's best to go to the top and work your way down slowly. When you first get to any of the exhibits, you'll likely be on the first level and at the large Blacktip Reef, and it will often be packed with visitors. Don't let that get you down, as the crowd disperses as you go up, or move out to other areas of the NA. We got to the NA early, and there were already many there. We had our route in the museum planned and found we had to rework our visit of the exhibits above the Blacktip Reef to a later time in the day, so we headed to the Glass Pavilion and Australia first, then over to the Dolphins and Jellyfish, then went back to the other exhibits when the crowd was thin enough to get close to the glass and see the exhibits well. We had a blast seeing everything. If you're going to eat lunch at the NA cafeteria, avoid being their from noon to 12:45pm as it's wall to wall much of the time. We've gone there at about 11:45am and can get food easily and quickly, and we've gone there at 1pm with no problem then too. It saves time to eat there, but if you have a little more time, get your hand stamped for reentry to the NA, and eat elsewhere in the Inner Harbor. The food will be better tasting and you'll have much better choices. To me, if you're in the Baltimore area, this is a "not to miss" place which won't disappoint you if you plan your visit well, and take advantage of the tours at the NA. It's not inexpensive, but what is these days if it's good.
Could spend the entire day here
Aug 21, 2014 by: Trish H from Centreville, Maryland, United States
Fantastic way to spend the day in Baltimore. Especially enjoyed the shark exhibit but its hard to choose a favorite part of this aquarium.
Aug 21, 2014 by: Mdp from PA
My family visited this museum this past weekend and enjoyed it very much. However, we were disappointed that they have dolphins and a great area to have shows for them but no shows were offered. This aquarium is pricey and it would have been nice to see the dolphins do tricks or some type of show be offered included in the price of the ticket because my kids really loved them!
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