Important News Regarding the National Aquarium, Washington, DC

As members of our online community, we would like to share some important news with you regarding the National Aquarium, Washington, DC.

Due to necessary renovations in the Department of Commerce building, our DC facility will be closing on September 30, 2013. The General Services Administration (GSA) requires us to vacate our current space in the building by March 2014.

This September 30 closing date allows us to meet GSA’s March deadline using a timeline that accommodates our main priority: the needs of our animals and staff. Our collection of more than 1,500 animals will be transitioned to new homes at either National Aquarium, Baltimore, or at other accredited aquariums.

Here at the National Aquarium, we value our DC venue’s rich history as the nation’s first public aquarium, and we are committed to maintaining a presence in the capital, where a public aquarium has existed since the late 1800s. A task force of National Aquarium Board members is exploring opportunities and funding options that would support this goal. The closure of our DC venue will not impact the operation of National Aquarium, Baltimore.

Established in 1873, the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, first opened its doors to visitors in 1885 with a collection of 180 species of fish, reptiles and other aquatic animals.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at social@aqua.org.

We’d like to thank our amazing online community for their continued support of the National Aquarium and our mission.

7 Responses to “Important News Regarding the National Aquarium, Washington, DC”


  1. 1 Rusty Rednightbird May 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    How soon will you be moving animals out?

    • 2 National Aquarium May 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks for your interest, Rusty!

      Our DC facility is open until September 30. After that, we will begin our move. We’ll be sure to update you along the way!

  2. 3 David Gross May 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    As a former Director of The National Aquarium I am sad to learn that the aquarium will be closing. What is happening with the effort to build that new $50M facility in DC? How much has been raised towards that goal?

  3. 4 Mary M Hamilton May 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Sorry to learn the aquarium is closing. Will the animals be given or sold to other facilities? I ask because I know of 2 small, public aquariums that may be interested.
    Also, have you notified Bill Mott at The Ocean Project?
    For the Ocean,
    Mary M Hamilton, Executive Director
    SandyHook SeaLife Foundation

    • 5 National Aquarium June 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks for the note, Mary! The animals currently living in DC will either be coming to our location here in Baltimore or will be moving onto other accredited zoos and aquariums. We have been working over the last month to notify all our community members and stakeholders of our news.

  4. 6 LittleCrunchy (@LittleCrunchy) June 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Since 1885 has the national aquarium in DC always been in that building?

    • 7 National Aquarium June 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Thanks for the question. National Aquarium, Washington, DC has been in the Dept. of Commerce building since 1932. There has been a public aquarium in the nation’s capital since 1885.


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