|501 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
|9AM–5PM 9AM–5PM 9AM–5PM 9AM–5PM 9AM–8PM 9AM–6PM 9AM–5PM
A Private User
Ive been to this aquarium more times than I can count, and I still love going. Its clean, its well maintained, and theres so much to be learned there. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the volunteers have a lot of interesting information to share. Even if you have just a slight interest in ocean life, youll really appreciate this aquarium. Ive seen some negative comments about the aquarium and thought Id respond to some of them. 1- Too expensive. Yes, the aquarium is an expensive place to visit - but most aquariums are. They rely on a lot of donor-based money to keep their doors open, and their operating costs Im sure are huge, huge, huge. It isnt over priced compared to other aquariums, so I dont think its fair to knock the Baltimore aquarium because of the price. 2- Too dark inside. It is a little dark inside, but its dark for a reason. Fish dont live out in the sunshine on land. They live in water, and its always a little darker (sometimes a lot darker) in the water. The aquarium has done an excellent job of creating natural, healthy environments for the fish they take care of. The whole point of going to an aquarium is to try to see fish in simulated habitats. So give your eyes a few moments to adjust and stop whining. 3- Too crowded. Yes, the aquarium can be a very crowded place. This can mean waiting to get in, waiting to see the dophin show, and waiting to see every single exhibit. But like most attractions, you can avoid the crowds by planning your visit during certain times. 4- Not enough exotic fish / too many fish native to the surrounding area. I dont understand this argument at all. First off, the Baltimore aquarium sits at the edge of the LARGEST BAY (Chesapeake) in the United States of America. And yes, parts of the exhibits focus on the types of fish that you could find in the bay and its tributaries. If you think about it, an aquarium sitting on the Chesapeake Bay that didnt have any exhibits about the bay would be absurd, not the other way around. Secondly, the aquarium has LOTS of exotic fish / aquatic life. To name just a few -- puffins (Northern Europe), cardinal tetras (Brazil), crocodiles (South America), wolf eels (northern pacific), poison dart frogs (South America), mandarin fish (Western Pacific), piranhas (South America/Amazon), purple-stripped jellyfish (California coast), archer fish (Australia).... so that argument just doesnt hold any water. :) The bottom line is that anyone who likes fish, even the slightest bit, will love the aquarium. It may not be worth it for most people to visit multiple times, but I know lots of people, myself included, who could go there once a week and love every visit.
It seems these reviewers either love it or hate it and that can be pretty confusing. Let me try to clear up what I can. First off, it is rather expensive to go. IF you live anywhere nearby, spend the extra $10 a person and become a member. Even if you only go one extra time, you will have saved yourself money. If you dont, consider WHY you are going. Are you an aquarium person? Do you like to visit them? If so, this is an adequate place, bigger than some, smaller than others. It does have dolphins, and unlike some places you can go watch them swim all day if you want. The shows are short and small, but often and the staff is always around and extremely friendly. They answer all kinds of questions. I would like to also point out that any review that complains about the kid factor and crowds is not really a review of this aquarium, but anyplace that is enclosed and may have two schools visiting at a time. Sorry, but the Aquarium does NOT actually stock children to put in your way. If you go from June - August, expect crowds - expect families and expect some Rec Dept field trips. Other Reviewers have it right, go off season, go weekdays, go early and expect to stay late. Give yourself time and be patient. You can make the most of this aquarium if you try. I read a few reviews here that suggest that its not as nice as the one in Atlanta. I agree, wholeheartedly, but I would love to point out, Atlanta is not only Newer, but THE LARGEST in the WORLD. Kinda hard to live up to that. This isnt Atlanta. Its not Shedd or Monterey. That would be like comparing Applebees to a 5 star restaurant. But it IS a nice aquarium, it does have lots of things to see, plently of levels and some really different exhibits. The bathrooms are clean, the food is equal to that in the neighborhood (actually, we saved money eating in the aquarium than walking around) the employees Ive encountered are friendly and helpful. There is some construction going on now that should be done this summer, so keep that in mind. And it is dark, enclosed and prone to being overcrowded if its at the peak times, but thats normal for most aquariums. Do you homework, read some reviews, do a budget, look at the website map, plan ahead. If you live in Atlanta, or around there, maybe you dont bother. I made a trip to Atlanta on purpose. It was a bucket list must. Still, I have a membership to the National Aquarium and I am not upset that I do.
A Private User
I have been to the Baltimore Inner Harbor many times and 9 times out of 10, we go to the Aquarium. If you go to the inner Harbor in general, it is quite pricey, whether it be the aquarium, restaurants, hotels or what have you. It is a major touristy city. There is a no stroller policy because, unfortunately, kids and people trip over them whether it is because they arent looking or the adults pushing the strollers at your ankles. The best time to go to the Aquarium is NOT the weekend. You need to go on an off-peak day. If you cant see the exhibits all you have to say is, "Excuse me, do you mind if my son/daughter or I can just see the exhibit a little bit?" If you say it with sincerity, chances are highly likely they will give you room. You paid $ 30.00 for the aquarium and whether you are an adult or child, no one should be left out for not seeing the exhibits. I have been to the dolphin show twice. Yes, it is not very impressive but as an aquarium, they are an educational tool and of course would promote conservation. Should it be in the show? In my opinion no but then again it is not Sea World. Like any other major site in a city like this, the food on location is pricey. You can always call the aquarium and find out if there are certain days school class trips are there. Go on the days they are NOT there. Stay away from a la carte restaurants there. If you look at a persons review on major review sites you see they spend big money whether the food is outstanding or not. It is consistent. If you have children you will definitely spend big money. There are other things like Walters Art Museum and Port Discovery Childrens museum. I have to disagree with the person that there is not a lot to do there. It may not be in the harbor but if you venture in more, you will see them. We make a simple itinerary. If you overwhelm yourself to see so many things, you will wind up disappointed. Remember, if you dont see that one thing on your trip, believe me, Baltimore is not going to leave the planet. I was born and raised in NYC and now live in NJ so believe me when I tell you I like good entertainment and I find Baltimore Aquarium to be one of the best sites out there. Have fun folks!!