National Aquarium

The National Aquarium is located in Baltimore, Maryland. It opened on August 8, 1981, houses 2,200,000 US gallons of water and 17,000 specimens of 750 species. In 2003, the National Aquarium and the National Aquarium in Washington (this one was independent from the Baltimore one) joined each other as one National Aquarium. Their mission is to inspire conservation.

Rain forest exhibit, viewing from the outside at night.

The National Aquarium has a few exhibits: the Atlantic Coral Reef open ocean shark tank (our favorite), Tropical Rain Forest, and Australia.

We haven’t been to the aquarium in DC, we haven’t been to many in the north east. Our favorite aquariums are Monterey Bay Aquarium and California Academy of Science; their displays are huge. The National Aquarium is impressive and large but we felt they had a lot of small displays on average. The shark tank area was our favorite and we hung out there for a little while.

The jellyfish area was nice to look at. They always make great pics.

There’s a dolphin show to catch while you visit.

We spent the day here. It was really crowded and we think that also took away from the experience for us. It really is worth visiting. It’s fun for kids of all ages.

This is the place that made me realize I need to sign up for a swim class. We don’t have a picture of it but seeing the mantis shrimp made me realize I need to try to work on my fears. I have a fear of water. There was a time you wouldn’t see me go in the ocean water at the beach. We were crowding around the mantis shrimp tank and I overhead a tour. We heard the guide saying that the shrimp’s claw can punch so hard it can break the glass of the tank. We used to go to the Caribbean a lot and I would just sunbathe. Vic would swim back to beach with his camera showing me what he saw underwater. I still can’t swim after the classes. There’s only one pool I like and it’s two hours away from me. If I had easy access to a pool I’d work on my fear more. Even though I still can’t swim, I am trying to experience more like whale watching and clinging to the boat on Klein Curacao. Some friends laugh at me because I’m still scared and at one point had two swim instructors but at least I try while they don’t and they know how to swim. They would never jump in a small boat or snorkel. It’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to either work on your fears or not (it’s a personal choice), what I’m not okay with is making fun of someone for working on their fears. Maybe I’ll never get over my fears but it’s the trying that’s the most important to me. I thank my mantis shrimp friend and the National Aquarium for inspiring me to open up my world.

Megaloden, giant shark teeth.

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11 thoughts on “National Aquarium

    1. Thats does help. I’m comfy at the beach when I can stand in the water and if the water is super calm. When we book snorkeling tours we leave them for the last days of our trip so I can get a few days in the pool. It would help if I go to a pool more regularly but the pools by me have varying depths. The one I like is at West 145th St and 4 ft all the way around, takes me two hours to get there so I stopped. We are do for a Carribean trip. None in sight for the next two eyars. I told Vic that our side trips seeing nature are great but tasking beach breaks makes a difference for the water fear. One instructor was teaching me that I have to learn a new way of thinking. That really helped. He was saying to think of swimming like reading a book, brushing your teeth or riding a bike. One day when I was biking I realized I lean with my bike when I turn and it doesn’t freak me out but I freak out when I sway and bobble in the water.

      Lots of sea life too. We found as long as theres tons of fish I get distracted from my fear. I would have benefited from camp as a kid. I’m way too comfy living in an urban jungle.

  1. That looks like a great place to get close to sea animals and the tropical atmosphere together without being in there. The glass building get light from the real sun look great at night.

    I understand of one fears of water. I would say even some people who knows how to swim can still have fear of water as well especially at the large open sea.

    1. People who know how to swim yet have a fear of water help me a lot too. They made me feel less stupid for it. I have a bunch of friends that were making fun of me for taking swim classes. I would also get instructed by my friend who took a different class. Her instructor would advise me for free. He was passionate. I’m prone to anxiety, I have a mild disorder so it makes it harder to work on things but I’m getting there 🙂 Now I tell my friends that make fun of me, “Laugh all you want. I’m trying to work on my fears. You know how to swim and won’t even snorkel or get in the water.” I like talking about my fears in my blog hoping it helps other people who have them not to feel alone. Took me years to sign up for the swim class.

      1. My learning how to swim was not quite formal or convention. Mine was out of fear as well as I was tricked to get into the water 🙂 I am still not quite comfortable with water these days.

  2. Oh, now I really want to visit Baltimore! I love coral reef displays and tropical forest walks, even if they are indoors like a garden in a greenhouse. Sharks, not so much, though when I saw that one picture of the shark’s head up above, I was wondering what it was thinking about with that expression on its face. 🙂

    I absolutely hear ya on having a fear of water! I took swimming lessons as a kid, but the instructor made us jump off the high dive on our last day of class. My sister cried and refused to go up the ladder. I was scared to death, but I was also mad at the instructor: so when he took my hand and said, “Don’t be afraid!” I leaped off the board and dragged him down with me. But it left me with some complicated feelings about going into the water. I didn’t enjoy getting into a pool after that; I liked cooling off in a lake on a hot day, but I would never go in deeper than I could walk; and I would NEVER go into the ocean. (“What if I floated away and couldn’t get back to land? What if a shark got me?”) I find being pushed to do something doesn’t help; it can make things worse, emotionally. You have to really want to do something in order to overcome the fear of it. My husband made me take adult swim lessons because HE wanted to go kayaking, but during one class I slipped off of a boogie board and almost drowned because the so-called lifeguard and instructor weren’t paying attention. I was also angry because my husband kept criticizing me for not swimming and made me feel as if my phobia was my fault.

    So…don’t make yourself swim if you don’t think you’re ready. I think snorkeling is a good inducement to try swimming: a mask and fins make a lot of difference in your ability to see and move under water. As another commenter said above, you can also try snorkeling in shallow water, where you can easily stand up and put your head above the water if you’re feeling uncomfortable. Also, a good teacher cannot be overestimated in learning to love the water. Next time you go to the Caribbean or another seaside resort, look for an instructor who’s sympathetic to pre-beginners and aquaphobes. 🙂

    1. I’m okayish in water I can stand in but oceans freak me out. Pools I’m good in. I can climb on Vic’s back and have him swim to the deep end of a pool. Baltimore is a fun family trip. It’s a better aquarium than the ones we have in the NY area. Just stay in Inner Harbor and plenty of things for kids. I really liked the science museum and I’m not a science kind of person.

      One thing that helps me justify not snorkeling – someone has to watch the camera gear. We carry a lot of gear so I don’t like leaving it on the beach un attended. I’m much better in a life vest. If I went to a pool everyday it would help but I’m werid about pools. If i go myself it has to be a 4 ft deep pool all the way around. I love the pool on W 145th St but it takes me 2 hours to get there. What we do is leave the snorkeling tours till the very end of our trip so I get a few days in the pool first that helps too. Not going to the Caribbean hasn’t been helping either. We keep getting sidetracked by other trips.

    1. The one in Monterey and Cal Academy in SF blow this one away. They have really big tank displays. This one is good too. Kinda wish I read more about Baltimore before we went there. I read about a few years after we visited.

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