Tuesday, January 22, 2013

National Aquarium - Baltimore

The question in the morning was what to do with the dual holiday/inauguration day-off and two grandchildren. Obviously, hanging around the house and shooting baskets was not going to be a good answer--it wasn't going to be warm enough.
Leaf Scorpion Fish

After digging around in the bag of tricks, a trip to the National Aquarium was the chosen destination diversion.

Getting there was easy, parking was expensive--but that is true of almost everywhere in Baltimore, and the day was cold and beautiful. A perfect destination.

It has been a couple of years since I visited the aquarium and some things have changed. Entry remains easy--we decided on becoming members again--so that took a bit more time, but was still quick. There is a major renovation underway which has removed one of my favorite exhibits--the big ray tank is gone and is being replaced by a new reef shark tank. It is all boarded up and cannot be viewed and that has affected the walking through entry area.

I guess the decision to visit the aquarium was shared with many other people because the place was packed with small children. It made keeping track of two rambunctious boys difficult and Chris and I frequently had to change plays on the fly to assure constant coverage given the darkness in many exhibits and the people.

The aquarium has grown and it takes a full day to fully appreciate the varied exhibits--from Australia to the Rain Forest to the Dolphin training area.

I am still awed by the reef tank with its varied fish and animals as well as the current shark tank. It seems as if the number of animals has been reduced--as I know there were less sharks and with the closing of the ray tank, there certainly are fewer of those magnificent animals that seem to be sweeping effortlessly through the water.

Well worth the day, but not without its inherent problems of crowding; I recommend the National Aquarium as a great way to keep busy children entertained while also learning more about our complex and varied world.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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