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Phone: 410-576-3800 --
TTY: 410 625-0720
Even before entering the Aquarium, visitors can enjoy the antics of gray and harbor seals - some of them, originally stranded animals - in the 70,000 gallon outdoor Seal Pool. Regular "seal watchers" can cali all of the Atlantic animals by name, but everybody's favorite is 750-pound Ike, a 21-year-old gray seal who has been a resident of the Aquarium since it opened in 1981. Seal feedings twice daily are accompanied by an informative narration and question-and-answer session.
Visitors entering the lobby first notice 16 gurgling "bubble tubes," a just for fun introduction to the worid of water. Children gravitate to the floor-to-ceiling tubes, dart between them, hug them, listen to them. Embarking on the "one-way-street" route through the Main Aquarium Building, Aquarium-goers first look down upon Wings in the Water, the world's largest collection of stingrays, silently and gracefully swimming among several species of small sharks. Several times daily, divers feed the rays and entertain tl ,e public with an educational presentation both above and under water. (The rays and sharks may also be enjoyed through large underwater viewing windows.)
Escalators and movealators carry people from level to level. Maryland: Mountains to the Sea on Level Two traces the water cycle from the mountain pond (where it might be raining!) through a tidal marsh and coastal beach, and out to the deeper water of the continental shelf. Bullfrogs, Maryland blue crabs, turtles, and kilideer--birds which sometimes lay eggs and hatch them right in the exhibit--as well as many species of fishes found locally, live here.
On the Third or Adaptations Level, everyone finds a favorite spot to linger. It might be with the giant Pacific octopus, African mouth-brooding cichlids, the electric eel from the Amazon, clownfish hiding in anemones, or the rare living coral display with its giant clams, featherduster worms and pencil urchins.
Visitors take a trip from the North Atlantic to the Pacific on the fourth level. Puffins, razorbills, and guillemots, sub-Arctic birds, swim and play in the frosty Sea Cliffs re-creation. Brilliant colors and unusual patterns characterize fishes of the sunlit Pacific Cora/ Reef, and children of all ages gather 'round the Children's Cove: Atlantic and Pacific Tide Pools to touch the shell of a horseshoe crab or gently hold a sea star.
Ascending into the tropical Rain Forest, which is located on the top level under a glass pyramid, travelers are stunned by its beauty and diversity. In this naturalistic habitat - over, under and through the jungle-lush foliage - scarlet ibis and many other colorful birds swoop and call, iguanas sun themselves, golden lion tamarins (small, endangered monkeys) scamper, turtles climb from a pool onto the rocks, and two-toed sloths just "hang out." Tiny poison dart frogs, huge marine toads, and small lizards challenge visitors to spot them.
Behind the glass displays of the aptly named Hidden Life exhibit, sharp-eyed visitors discover one surprise after another. Many species of the small, jewel-colored poison dart frogs which the Aquarium is famous for breeding, hop about. Totally camouflaged vine snakes and brilliant emerald tree boas are coiled in the foliage. Fistsized horned frogs lurk in the substrate. Tree frogs, oddly resembling green peppers, cling to branches, and strange lizards remind visitors that all of the coneheads are not on late night TV.
Aquarium-goers descend ramps to the 335,000-gallon Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit, where they are surrounded by a daaling diversity of colorful tropical fish and the most authentic reef ever fabricated. Further down the ramps is the dark and mysterious-feeling Open Ocean Exhibit, where - if they dare - they come nose-to-nose with the lemon sharks, nurse sharks, sand tigers, and smalltooth sawfish encircling them.
On the glass-enclosed bridge, Aquarium visitors travel to the Marine Mammal Pavilion, opened in late 1990. Exploration Station is an absorbing collection of hi-tech, hands-on attractions which captivate old and young alike. Youngsters try to "catch" a 3- D hologram-like squid, compare their best whale-imitations to a real whale song, investigate baleen, and sample life from a whale's perspective. Everyone is mesmerized by the high-impact films of marine mammals feeding in the wild. In the Sound Theater, ocean darkness and marine mammal sounds surround, and in the 'Windows on the Wild'' Theater, seldom-seen courtship and reproduction rites of marine mammals are featured.
The highlight of this building is the dolphin show, "Dolphin Myths and Misconceptions," scheduled several times daily. Highlighting the grace, power, and agility of bottlenose dolphins, the show also teaches invaluable conservation lessons to visitors in the 1300 seat amphitheater.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is an aquatic museum dedicated to conservation and preservation of the environment.
Check with us at a later date.