It’s always exciting to me when something new opens downtown, especially in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. For one thing, it provides me with something to see and gives one more reason for tourists to visit. Such is the case at the National Aquarium in Baltimore
In early August the attraction offered us the new Blacktip Coral Reef exhibit. It’s located on pier three, level one at the Blue Wonders Experience sign. You’ll also see about a dozen tubes with bubbles. I’m told this fascinates the kids. It’s OK for adults to enjoy also.
The Blacktip Coral Reef exhibit replaces Wings in the Water that was there for a long time. I guess it was time for a change. What you’ll discover is a terrific display of marine life and coral. Actually there are about 3,000 replicated coral pieces and a little more than 700 animals from 65 species.
The main attraction are the Blacktip Reef Sharks – 20 in all. They are among the smaller sharks, growing to about six feet, but you wouldn’t want to encounter a hungry one in the wild. The huge tank holds 260,000 gallons of water. The project took about 11 months and cost in the neighborhood of $12.5 million. That’s a neighborhood I’m never in.
The sharks and other creatures are feed twice a day and the tank is cleaned twice a day. You can imagine the scope of that cleaning job. But the staff has the feeding and cleaning down to a smooth science. If you’re there at the right time you can watch the divers feed the animals and clean the tank. You can view the tank from five levels, but the lower you are the better the viewing. The biggest creature there, in terms of weight, is the turtle. He or she (can you tell the difference) weighs in at over 500 pounds.
About 1.4 million people visit the Aquarium every year. Adult admission is $34.95. There’s parking in many nearby lots. For more information and to see a live cam from the tank visit the National Aquarium website.
Eddie Applefeld is a Baltimore native and a graduate of Towson University. He has been in the broadcasting profession for over 30 years. Currently he is the Promotions Director of WCBM radio. Before that, he was part of the Rouse & Company show on WQSR, host of a cable TV show called Dining Out and adjunct instructor at Towson.
His past accomplishments include being named a finalist in Baltimore Tourism’s Employee of the Year Program and winner of Toastmaster’s Speaker of the Year contest. He was also twice a heartthrob for the American Heart Association’s gala fund raiser.