If you love aquatics n gills, you need to check out the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland! Super thankful that my best friend and his wife mentioned this place!
Heads up: purchase your tickets ahead of time! It saves you money and it helps keep you on schedule. BUT when you buy your tickets, you purchase them for a specific time-frame. (You are not timed once you arrive, but your ticket will be based upon arrival time.) We called ahead to see what their busiest time of the day was and then based our ticket time on the least busy time of day <<< we is smart!
As soon as you walk in to the aquarium, they have you stand in front of a green screen to get your picture taken with your group. Once you leave the aquarium, you will have options on what is on your photo – I was holding a puffin!!! Cute as the dickens!!!
Throughout the day, the aquarium had a couple different shows that you could attend. The dolphin show was phenomenal! Jumping, diving, dancing, fetching.. you name it, they were doing it! The only thing was, you had to plan ahead for this because they only do the shows at certain times of the day!
We were given the option to sit in certain sections of the show because of the “splash zones”. If you sat near the front of the show, you would get splashed by the dolphins (and yes… intentionally. Plus, I swear I heard them giggle when they flipped their tails!)
Thankfully, right outside the dolphin show was the concession stand. Soft pretzels and soda was the way to go for this show 😀 They didn’t even have signs that said “don’t feed the dolphins, which shocked me because I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one that wanted to share my pretzel with a dolphin! Talk about a bucket-list addition! Although, I’m sure that the dolphins need to watch their figures and carbs aren’t the way to keep them in tip-top shape for jumping through hoops.. poor things would get stuck.
Aside from the food, the show itself was great! Some of the dolphins would swim in teams and some would swim on their own. Flipping through the air (those shots weren’t easy to get), as well as swimming up onto the platform to high-five the instructor with their noses.
It’s amazing how much a dolphin can do when they’re trained! I mean, if I were fed every time I did a trick, I’d probably be able to come up with some pretty neat acts myself! 🙂
Inside the aquarium, there were actually areas where you could touch the fish. It gave me chills, (which is odd because when I was a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist), but I figured I was there and I was going to do everything that I was allowed to do!! Soooo, I don’t recommend touching the jellies (because… ew), but if you’re adventurous and look at it as an opportunity, then do it! You won’t regret it! (Plus, they have hand-washing stations in close proximity!! #winning)
One of my favorite areas was the HUGE sea turtle that they rescued and gave a home. She was absolutely beautiful to watch when she moved.
The scuba diver kept feeding her large leaf lettuce and she gobbled that right up!! I could totally be a turtle!! (especially if they put that leafy lettuce on a large juicy cheeseburger… with fries… and maybe a milk shake!)
Walking through some of the exhibits was a task in itself because of the amount of people that were there, but it was nice because we could hear the “oohh”s and “aahhh”s from the crowd which kind of told us where we needed to be to see the good stuff!! (use your resources people!!)
This guy here definitely gave me the creeps. Mainly because it took me a minute to realize he was there and then it was too late to back away from the glass case.. talk about a wake-up-call!
When you walk into the aquarium this is one of the first things you will see. She basically stands around the shark tank telling you random facts about them. It took everything in my not to yell “don’t jump!” Hehe!
In the shark tank there was also an assortment of fish swimming. Dory (Finding Nemo) was even in here! So they obviously shot Finding Dory after this aquarium was built because they needed her to find her family. (If you haven’t watched Finding Dory, I highly recommend it, btw!)
The jellies were absolutely mesmerizing! If you haven’t seen a jellyfish in real life, you gotta!! It was one of the most relaxing things ever to watch.
In the bottom of the aquarium are the shark infested tanks! You basically walk down a spiral walkway and the further down you go, the bigger the sharks got! It was incredible! They just swim in circles all day long (basically like the shark version of NASCAR racing!)
It wasn’t easy to get pictures of the sharks because of the terrible lighting in the tanks.. but then I realized that they didn’t create the tank for photo opportunities.. even though they should have. But I was able to get a good photo of this guy 🙂 He an I became good friends. I named him Teddy.
THEN – on a whole other floor, the aquarium turns into a rain forest! That was pretty neat, but it was extremely warm in there! In addition to the heated environment, they have misters running non-stop. So, if you like hot n humid weather, this is the place to be!
All in all, it was a great way to spend a weekend day. Plus, right outside of the aquarium, you have your choice of a gazillion places to eat, including a Hard Rock Cafe (win win)!!
Then, not even a block away is the Top of the World observation deck. It’s a 360-degree panoramic view of Baltimore, located on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center (the word’s tallest pentagonal building). That was an awesome view! Tickets were only $6 and you didn’t have to purchase them ahead of time!
If anyone else has been to the aquarium, I would love to hear about what else you did while you were in Baltimore! It’s a nice little city to visit when you’re looking for a day trip! And the people were super nice too! 🙂