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A visit to The Baltimore Aquarium


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At the beginning of May, I went with my sister, BiL, the girls and Grandma (BiL’s mother) to visit The Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland.  I guess it’s actually now called The National Aquarium in Baltimore (okay, I know it’s called that), but not by me or anyone else I know.  I haven’t been there since I was in high school (so quite some time ago), and I was really looking forward to this visit.  I didn’t really remember anything about the aquarium, except it’s big and there are a LOT of fish there.

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According to the website, there are over 16,000 animals to be seen: fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.  The building itself is something to behold, with interesting architectural elements, beautiful photographs, attractive informational displays and a peaceful atmosphere.  It’s well laid out to guide you through the exhibits in such a way that you don’t miss anything.  Even so, it’s not a cattle walk; there is plenty of room to move about as you wish, and I never felt too overwhelmed or claustrophobic.  Of course, we went on a Thursday in May.  I would not recommend visiting on a Saturday in July, if you have a choice.

One of the most impressive exhibits is Open Ocean.  It starts on the bottom level with the shark walk, a 225,000-gallon, ring-shaped shark exhibit.  From there, you walk up through the center of this cylindrical display into the Atlantic Coral Reef.  This astounding exhibit holds 335,000 gallons and is 13 feet deep.  More than 500 exotic fish live in this “authentic fabricated reef”, and surrounded as you are, you do feel like you’re walking in the ocean.

For an awesome virtual tour, click HERE, where you’ll get an amazing 360 degree view of the aquarium. Click on View Map for a floor plan and quick access to other sections of the aquarium. Otherwise, just follow the arrows to “walk” through the various exhibit areas, just like I did in real life. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

Interacting with the virtual tour makes me want to go back again.  There’s just so very much to observe there!  I worried a bit that I was spending too much time attempting to get a good photograph, and not enough time enjoying what there was to be seen.  And getting a decent photograph at an aquarium is not so easy.  Low light wreaks its havoc, and those darn fish just won’t pose for you at all!  I have a lot of pictures of blurry fish.  Had I been alone, I’m sure I would have taken at least three or four times longer to do the tour, to photograph, take video and just watch.  I’d also like to take time to read the informational wall displays and sit down to watch the videos.  Maybe I’ll go back again in the fall.

Meanwhile, here is a little video I made:

Items of Interest:

National Aquarium in Baltimore 

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. My kids LOVE colourful fish. It’s the display that we stand the longest at when we visit the zoo. So many bright colours and possibilities.

    May 23, 2012
    • There were a few really colorful, vibrant and active displays of fish that I really liked and could have stood at for quite some time. I really liked the huge tank that surrounds you, with the Atlantic Reef display.

      May 26, 2012
  2. The ocean truly is another world. I love visiting aquariums. Cool photos!

    May 23, 2012
    • It is! I won’t go in the ocean, but I’ll visit the aquarium!

      May 26, 2012
      • I think the movie Jaws has damaged us all. How could we ever enjoy swimming in the ocean again after that?

        May 26, 2012
        • That darn movie! That is exactly why I won’t swim in the ocean.

          May 26, 2012
          • We are not alone. I had a friend in college who was there on a swimming scholarship who used to freak out in the swimming pool after seeing Jaws. Obviously, she got over it, but swore it was why she was such a strong swimmer. (Admit it: you think about Jaws in a swimming pool, too. I do!)

            May 27, 2012
  3. It is on my to do list to visit the aquarium in Baltimore. Or the “fish museum” as I like to call it.

    May 23, 2012
    • That’s funny! If you’ve never been, you definitely have to plan a trip – just keep it off the weekend, if possible. When I went as a teen, it was with a group on the weekend; you don’t get to see as much or enjoy it as much.

      May 26, 2012
  4. How did you get such spectacular photos underwater? You must have been viewing through some pretty awesome glass!

    Btw my favourites are: The parrotfish(?) that looks like it’s puckering up for a kiss, and the smiling turtles captured between some kind of bars. 🙂

    May 28, 2012
    • That pucker guy is my favorite, too! As for the glass, it was mediocre, but the camera is focused so far past the scratches and fingerprints that they disappear. I took hundreds of photos, but there are relatively few that turned out pretty good. The best ones were from tanks/displays with lots of light. Most of the displays, unfortunately for photo purposes, are pretty low light. So I have a lot of shots of blurry fish – not enough light for the camera to take a fast shot.

      May 29, 2012
    • Also, the turtles one did turn out pretty good, too. That was one where the glass didn’t go up all the way, so I held the camera up above it and zoomed in. The “bars” are actually greenery that I was looking through. I was trying to zoom past that to just get a shot of the turtles.

      May 29, 2012
      • I tried to take a photo of a squirrel through some windows once (through them because I was afraid that opening the windows would scare off the squirrel) but the glass must have been pretty dirty because I got some localized blurs in the photo, despite the focus being farther off.

        Yeah, aquariums (aquaria?) are usually just lit enough for us to see well. And you can’t even use a flash to rectify that!

        Your photos look like you were underground with the fish and other beings, they’re That good! Especially on the close-up of the jellyfish(?) 😀

        May 29, 2012
        • The glass at the aquarium seemed kind of scratched up to me, the kind of scratches you get from cleaning – big long scratches. But mostly it was okay. I’m thinking that the glass we have in our homes is different, especially that it’s thinner. I can tell you that my windows at home probably don’t get cleaned nearly as much as they probably do at the aquarium.

          Now that I think about it, I do remember thinking that, for all the people there, there weren’t that many prints on the displays. And I wondered if they had people clean all the displays every night, and I thought how much time that must take if they do.

          And just to let you know, my main technique is to take a LOT of photos and hope some of them come out. 🙂

          May 29, 2012
  5. cute pictures … sounds like you ahd lots of fun

    May 28, 2012
    • It was fun! I definitely recommend a trip to the aquarium.

      May 29, 2012
      • 🙂 don’t think we have one here in Dublin but then we are at the sea

        May 29, 2012

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