Hello, blog! I missed you.
Want to visit the National Aquarium? To start with I want to point out that the National Aquarium is in Baltimore, not DC. I’ve run across quite a few people who were unaware of this. There USED TO BE a national aquarium in DC, but it closed in 2013 for renovations, and many of the exhibits were moved to Baltimore, which isn’t much further away.
Big J, Little J and I visited the aquarium a couple of months ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting about our visit. I’ve been so busy with work. My new job is going very well, but before I was considered a “qualified” instructor who could teach on her own, I had to personalize more than 30 master lesson plans (each lesson plan ranges from 1 lecture to 11 lectures) and pass two performance evaluations. Normally, new instructors will have three performance evaluations, but because of my previous teaching experience and skill, my department head decided I didn’t need the middle one…woohoo! Anyway, I’m now qualified, so I’m not bringing work home at night and on the weekends quite as much. I have time to blog!
So back to the aquarium… We visited a couple of weeks before the infamous Baltimore riots, but from what I understand, things are back to usual in the Inner Harbor, and the aquarium wasn’t damaged.
Things to know: Tickets to the aquarium aren’t cheap. If you live in the area and plan on going a few times a year, I recommend looking into a membership. Ticket also sell out, and the aquarium has a timed entry system, so I’d buy tickets ahead of time online. Currently, tickets for kids 3-11 are $24.95, and tickets for kids/adults 12-64 are $39.95. Senior tickets are $3 off the regular admission price. As you can see, the aquarium can be a little expensive!
You also need to factor in parking. There are parking garages and lots all over the Inner Harbor, and the prices vary wildly too. I would expect to pay anywhere from $15-25 in parking for your aquarium visit, but it’s possible you could find a cheaper rate, depending on the season and day of the week. We chose the aquarium’s official parking partner, Lockwood Place, because of its proximity. It’s about half a block away from the aquarium. The parking garage offers a small discount (I believe it was $2 or $3 for us) to aquarium visitors. You need to take your parking ticket with you and get it validated at the aquarium, after you park.
Once you get inside the aquarium, it’s important to note that strollers aren’t allowed. I did see one stroller, but it had a handicap tag fixed to it. The aquarium is designed in a way that people stand on conveyor belts that move you up and in between the tanks. I’ve read elsewhere that the aquarium offers a limited number of baby carriers, but I’ve never needed to take advantage of this. There is a stroller check when you first come in.
This was actually our second time at the aquarium. The first time we visited, Little J was Baby J…only about two months old. I had a baby carrier with already, so we just checked the stroller downstairs, and I carried him through the exhibits. This time, I just let him walk around, since he’s a “big boy” (almost 3).
There is a small cafe, but we haven’t had issues bringing in a few snacks and water.
About the aquarium: It’s awesome! Okay, I have to admit that Hubby is not impressed, but I really don’t understand why. I love the layout. It’s a tall building, and you just keep going up and up and up, and looking down into the tanks. The view is fantastic. Then when you get to the top, you can take a spiraling ramp all the way down, and the ramp is surrounded by a circular shark tank that is stories high. How is that not cool??
Little J LOVED it. I thought he would get tired, but he didn’t. I guess it’s really not too much walking for a little guy. Just a couple of weeks after our last visit, a new interactive exhibit was opened, so I’m planning on going back later this year. I think Little J would love to pet a crab!
I think the pictures speak for themselves, but the architecture and set up of this place is amazing. If you’re in the area and have a chance, I recommend visiting the National Aquarium!
What is your favorite aquarium to visit? Have you been to the National Aquarium?