Posts Tagged 'new exhibit'

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

Blog-Header---Blacktip

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! 

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 Update: A Reef Comes to Life!

blacktip reef update

We’ve been working diligently on our new exhibit, Blacktip Reefand are excited to announce that you can now join us for its final stage and watch the reef come to life!

blacktip reef coral national aquarium

After months of construction, guests are now able to pass through the entire exhibit space and view the new Blue Wonders: Reefs to Rainforests experience, which includes the Aquarium’s iconic bubble tubes! They’re BACK! 

National Aquarium Bubble Tubes

Throughout Blue Wonders, guests are encouraged to explore their connection to water, starting with a stunning video wall installation created by award-winning photographer/videographer, Bob Talbot, and ending with an interactive word and photo wall.

Blue Wonders Wall National Aquarium

national aquarium interactive photo wall

Blue Wonders also introduces guests to our brand new Blacktip Reef exhibit, a 260,000 gallon habitat featuring a colorful Indo-Pacific reef landscape. Guests are 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!

blacktip reef bump out window national aquarium

Over the next several weeks, visitors will be able to watch Blacktip Reef come to life as we introduce 1,200 animals from 75 species, including our blacktip reef sharks by the end of July. During this time, our education team will also be on-hand, giving presentations on what it takes to bring an exhibit of this magnitude to Baltimore.

education presentation in Blacktip Reef National Aquarium

We’re excited to have you continue this amazing journey with us!

For real-time updates on Blacktip Reef, continue to visit our WATERblog!  

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! 

Blacktip Reef Update: Habitat Creation

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!

While our construction crew is busy renovating the 200,000-gallon exhibit space for Blacktip Reef, designers and contractors are hard at work creating exact replicas of corals found in the Indo-Pacific. Their primary goal is to ensure that everything from habitat fabrication to assembly and installation is held to the highest standard of authenticity. Watch this video to see the team in action:

The process of designing and building an expansive reef habitat for our animals is both a science and an art! Exhibitors spent months researching the species of coral found in Indo-Pacific reefs, then creating molds and hand-sculpting each piece of rock coral. Our team has to create corals that look real and are also completely safe for our animals.

Why not use real corals for our new exhibit?

Live corals require constant and intense amounts of light and take years to grow. Artificial corals are easier to maintain and repair over the years. Additionally, by crafting each piece of coral that will go into our new exhibit, designers have complete control over the look and shape of Blacktip Reef.

The end product will be a colorful and rich marine habitat perfect for both our animals and our guests to explore and enjoy!

Stay tuned for more Blacktip Reef updates! 


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