National Aquarium in Baltimore

#11 in Best Things To Do in Baltimore
National Aquarium in Baltimore picture
Courtesy Visit Baltimore

Key Info

501 East Pratt St.

Details

Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.8scorecard
  • 3.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

One of the most well-known attractions in Baltimore, the National Aquarium houses more than 20,000 animals. The aquarium revolves around a bottom-level, open pool, which is filled with stingrays and fish. Continue upstairs and you'll discover a wide variety of marine animals, before you encounter the humidity of the rainforest replica at the top of the building. Visitors can return to the first floor down a spiraling path, which is enclosed by a giant shark tank.

A very popular attraction at the aquarium is the "Blacktip Reef" exhibit, a $12.5 million space designed to model the elaborate Indo-Pacific reef system that displays 20 blacktip reef sharks along with 60 distinct species of fish, including zebra sharks, clown triggerfish and a 500-pound green sea turtle named Calypso. "Dolphin Discovery" – the aquarium's largest exhibit – is another highlight thanks to the seven resident dolphins that provide a glimpse into how these animals play and interact.

Brace yourself for thick crowds, especially if you're here on a weekend. For a little more breathing room, consider stopping by on a weekday or before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Though recent visitors raved about the aquarium's accessibility and up-close encounters with underwater creatures, many caution that it's best to plan ahead to get the most out of your trip. Still, most reviewers called the attraction a must-do in Baltimore.

The aquarium is conveniently located on the Inner Harbor, and is easily accessible with the free Charm City Circulator. (Parking is also available at nearby garages.) Adult admission costs $39.95; admission for children costs $24.95; and entry for seniors costs $34.95. Museum visiting hours vary, but generally the aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 or 8 p.m. Consult the National Aquarium's official website for current hours and exhibit openings.

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Time to Spend
#1 Baltimore Museum of Art

Situated in Charles Village, just north of the downtown area, the Baltimore Museum of Art claims the title of largest art museum in Maryland. Filled with more 95,000 art pieces, including an impressive Matisse collection, donated by Baltimore natives Claribel and Etta Cone, the museum draws art enthusiasts from across the globe. An entire Cone Wing of the museum is devoted to the sisters' spectacular repertoire of paintings from distinguished artists like Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne. Recent visitors praised the extensive collection, citing free admission to the world-class museum as a major perk.

The museum is also home to one of the largest Andy Warhol collections in the world and features European sculptures, African and Asian arts, and decorative arts. The Contemporary Wing, which showcases works by women and artists of color, among others, and the sculpture garden, which hosts jazz sessions during the summer, are two main museum highlights. If you're interested in discovering what else is on display, check out its official website.

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Courtesy Visit Baltimore
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