Posts Tagged 'blacktip reef update'

Happy Birthday to Us! We Celebrated Our 32nd Anniversary in a Big Way!

On this very day 32 years ago, the National Aquarium opened its doors to the public for the very first time. Since then, we’ve been honored to share the majestic beauty of our aquatic world with over 40 million visitors!

Today we celebrated another incredible milestone in the Aquarium’s history, the grand opening of our newest exhibit, Blacktip Reef! Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli for an aquatic ribbon cutting in the center of our Indo-Pacific reef!

It has been a long journey to opening day – filled with animal transports, exhibit demolition, habitat fabrication and new construction! We’ve documented the whole process, from start to finish, for our online community right here on the blog. If you haven’t yet, be sure to take a look!

Like everything here at the Aquarium, this new exhibit will continue to evolve and grow in the coming days, weeks, months and years! Stay tuned to the blog for updates and be sure to share any new memories made in the exhibit with us!

Thanks for 32 great years! Here’s to many, many more! 

Blacktip Reef Shark Cam: Watch Our New Exhibit In Action!

Twenty sleek, fast-moving blacktip reef sharks are now happily exploring their new home in Blacktip Reef!

Just as they are a vital element to coral reef ecosystems in nature, these sharks are one of the final and most important pieces of our new exhibit, the most comprehensive re-creation of an Indo-Pacific coral reef in the country.

Can’t make it to Baltimore to see Blacktip Reef in person? You can now virtually step into the exhibit and meet hundreds of aquatic animals by checking out our underwater Blacktip Reef Shark Cam!

shark week cam

Through a partnership with Discovery Channel and Shark Week, we’re excited to be able to share our exhibit virtually and hope to inspire conservation of these amazing animals AND their equally fragile habitats!

Meet the New Neighbors! Blacktip Reef Sharks Added to Exhibit!


Twelve blacktip reef sharks were introduced to their new home today!

The transportation and introduction process for these animals is carefully crafted by our Biological Programs team. Each shark is individually introduced by a team of divers into Blacktip Reef. After they feel that the newly introduced shark has begun acclimating to its new surroundings, the next shark is added. The process of introducing all 20 of our blacktip reef sharks will occur over two days.

Blacktips can grow to about 6 feet in length and bear distinctive black tips on their fins. Found in the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific, these sharks are sleek, beautiful and fast-moving and hunt cooperatively in groups.

These sharks are joining our 500-pound green sea turtle, Calypso, and hundreds of tropical fish recently introduced into the exhibit. Over the next few weeks, many other fascinating species – including zebra sharks, wobbegong sharks, a blotched fantail ray, a reticulate whipray and a Napoleon wrasse – will be introduced to Blacktip Reef! Some of these amazing animals were recently featured in this CBS This Morning piece!

Stay tuned for more updates as Blacktip Reef continues to come to life! 

Blacktip Reef Update: Hundreds of Fish Introduced to the Exhibit!


Hundreds of tropical fish have just been introduced to their new home, our Blacktip Reef exhibit!

Each of these fish plays an important role in making Blacktip Reef a complete and functional ecosystem. Guests will be able to see how species school together and interact with each other – some will connect through play while others will through important symbiotic behaviors like cleaning.

Over the next two weeks, the fish will be given time to settle into their new home. At the end of this month, larger animals including our blacktip reef sharks and rays will be introduced to the exhibit!

Stay tuned for more updates as Blacktip Reef continues to come to life! 

Turtle Tuesday: She’s Baaaaaacck!

Today marked another important milestone for our Aquarium family as we introduced the first animal, our 500+ pound green sea turtle Calypso, into our Blacktip Reef exhibit!

Calypso's introduction to Blacktip Reef

After a “mini-vacation” behind-the-scenes while our central exhibit space was being transformed into a vibrant Indo-Pacific reef, Calypso was excited to explore her new home.

 A little bit about Calypso

After stranding off the shore of Long Island, New York, in 2000, a juvenile green sea turtle (only weighing about 6 pounds at the time) was transported to our Animal Care Center for rehabilitation in 2002. At the time of her rescue, Calypso’s left-front flipper had a severe infection, which required amputation. Because of her amputation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deemed Calypso “non-releasable.” She’s been a beloved member of our Aquarium family ever since!

We’re excited for Calypso to continue to explore her new digs and meet the neighbors, as we introduce hundreds of animals into Blacktip Reef over the next month!

Stay tuned for more updates as our newest exhibit continues to come to life!

Blacktip Reef Featured on “The List!”

The animals for our newest exhibit, Blacktip Reef, were featured on yesterday’s edition of national news program, The ListClick below to watch the clip: 

National Aquarium on The List

The hundreds of animals that will call Blacktip Reef  home have been living at our Animal Care Center for the past year. Since their arrival in Baltimore, staff members like Senior Aquarist Ashleigh Clews have been working with these animals to acclimate them to a variety of new experiences like interacting with divers!

From the new and fascinating blacktip reef sharks to Aquarium favorites like 500+ pound green sea turtle, Calypso, the inhabitants of this vibrant Indo-Pacific reef (opening July 10th) are sure to delight our guests. 

For more behind-the-scenes Blacktip Reef updates, click here

Blacktip Reef Update: One Month Left To Go!

We cannot wait for our new exhibit, Blacktip Reef, to open in summer of 2013! This coral-filled exhibit, replicating an Indo-Pacific ocean habitat, will feature 15 exciting species including blacktip reef sharks, reticulated whiptail rays and ornate wobbegong sharks. It will also be the new home for some of our most beloved animals, including our 400-pound green sea turtle Calypso and zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe. Guests will be able to experience this lively reef from many vantage points, including a new floor-to-ceiling pop-out viewing window that allows you to virtually step inside the exhibit.

It’s a long journey to opening day. Between animal transports, exhibit demolition, new construction and habitat fabrication, there are a lot of updates as we get closer to this summer. As we continue to build the future home of Blacktip Reef, get the latest on what’s new right here on our WATERblog!

It has been a very busy couple of months for our biological programs and exhibit teams as we continue to bring together all of the elements of our Blacktip Reef exhibit! Since our last video update, all of the coral pieces have been hand-installed into the exhibit. These coral pieces have each been carefully crafted to represent coral found in Indo-Pacific reefs. For more on how we created these pieces, check out “Aquarium Sculptors Create Coral For Conservation Awareness” – a piece that recently-aired on NPR’s All Things Considered.

blacktip reef coral installation

The design of our reef is truly unique in that it incorporates many micro-habitat areas that can be commonly found in wild reef ecosystems. These micro-habitats will be important homes for our smaller species of fish, which will naturally be looking for protection from larger fish and our blacktip reef sharks.

This wider shot depicts a greater portion of the reef, before water was added to the exhibit.

The deep dive portion of Blacktip Reef, before water was added to the exhibit.

In the last few weeks, salt water has been added to the exhibit space and the lid that was previously covering the construction area has been removed. Guests visiting the Aquarium can now get a sneak peek of Blacktip Reef and see our crews at work!

blacktip reef national aquarium

An aerial view of Blacktip Reef after the removal of the construction lid.

Divers are currently taking their first dips into the exhibit, familiarizing themselves with the space as well as checking our life-support and other critical systems for proper function. At the end of this month, our biological programs staff will begin introducing our animals into their new home, starting with the one and only Calypso (our 500+ pound green sea turtle)!

Calypso is enjoying plenty of brussel sprouts behind-the-scenes, but can't wait to explore her new home!

Calypso is enjoying plenty of brussel sprouts behind-the-scenes, but can’t wait to explore her new home!

Stay tuned for more updates on animal introductions and don’t forget to check out Blacktip Reef when it opens July 10th! 

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