Last weekend we headed to DC for the Cherry Blossom festival and on the way home we stopped at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. To clear up any confusion, there was a very small (the size of one floor of my house) aquarium in DC, but it closed in 2013. The National Aquarium has a lot to see and I love how it’s organized so visitors know exactly which way to “flow” and therefore everyone isn’t crowded around at each exhibit. There are dolphin shows throughout the day, which are included in your ticket price! What’s nice about those shows is that they are varied so if your kids really like dolphins you can see a couple of shows and it won’t be exactly the same. There is also a 4D theater show, which is an add-on to your ticket.
Upstairs by the dolphin exhibit there is a children’s are with a few things to explore and learn about the ocean, as well as a puppet show theater the kids can play with and put on their own show! Carter got a little too into it and was going around pretending the shark puppet was biting everyone, including strangers! Oops.
The jellies are on the first floor by the dolphin exhibit and there is also a snack bar over there if you need a pit stop. Something cool I noticed is that the water fountains have a special feature that allows you to fill up your water bottles! So bring a water bottle and you can refill it easily! To get to this part of the aquarium you have to go strait through when you enter, past the 4D theater and then over an enclosed bridge.
Good to Know:
- Because of all the escalators and moving walkways you are not allowed to bring strollers into the aquarium. If you come in with your stroller they will stow it for you and give you a backpack kind of holder to carry your kids in. (Wheelchairs are, of course, allowed and they do have elevators so you can access every floor of the aquarium if you are in a wheelchair.)
- Buy your tickets online ahead of time and you don’t have to wait in line when you get there! You just go strait in and they can scan the tickets on your phone!
- Some of the exhibits are pretty dark, so just keep that in mind if your kids are scared of the dark. Normally Carter isn’t, but about halfway through he decided he was scared and did not want to look at any of the fish until we went to the rainforest room!
- They have food for sale, but there are also a ton of restaurants outside the aquarium in the harbor area! You can get your hands stamped (Carter loved this!) and go out to get lunch and come back in later!
- Parking is kind of expensive in the area, but if you park in the Lockwood Place Garage you can bring your parking garage ticket for a discount from the aquarium!
- Watch your kids in the harbor area, there aren’t any guardrails by the water, except on the bridges!
- There is a large sculpture thing near the aquarium outside with a grassy area kids can run around in if you need a running around break.
Overall I love the aquarium and I do think its a fun place for kids of all ages! If you go before 11 or after 3 they say it is less crowded, so those would be the best times to go so your kids can fully see everything and enjoy it. They are also building a new exhibit which I heard is going to be a touch tank for sting rays! I guess we’ll find out soon if that’s true or not!
Have you been to the National Aquarium in Baltimore? What’s your favorite aquarium to visit?