The National Aquarium opened in 1981 and played a key role in transforming Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from a blighted port area to a thriving attraction for tourists and residents. Expansions have followed as the Aquarium grew to offer more opportunity for transforming experiences: in December 1990, the Marine Mammal Pavilion opened on the pier adjacent to the main building and became home to the Aquarium’s beloved Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, as well as an eatery, gift shop and several educational interactive stations. Guests can now watch training, feeding and play times with the dolphins as well as interact with our dolphin experts in Dolphin Discovery.
In late 2005, the Baltimore location opened its largest expansion to date, to house the award-winning Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit, highlighting Australia’s Northern Territory; the Aquarium Cafe and Aquarium Shop. Other recent additions include the 4D Immersion Theater and the return of jellies in a temporary exhibit, Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance.
Today the National Aquarium, Baltimore, is one of the most-visited destinations in Maryland.
MISSION & VISION
The National Aquarium’s mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.
The National Aquarium’s vision is to inspire visitors and partners to celebrate and nurture the world’s aquatic habitats from tropical rain forests to coral reefs; from the Chesapeake Bay to the world’s oceans.
Through pioneering science, conservation, and educational programming, the National Aquarium will confront the pressing issues facing global aquatic habitats. Our legacy to future generations is a world in which aquatic habitats are preserved and restored.
These transforming experiences reach well beyond the Aquariums’ walls. Education teams reach thousands of students each year with activities in schools and in the field; Conservation crews and volunteers restore habitats and preserve species around the Chesapeake Bay and around the world; and the National Aquarium venues continues to serve as an economic engine for tourism in the Mid-Atlantic region. Through all of its work the Aquarium maintains its long-time commitment to serving the communities that surround it.