Visiting the iconic National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
As a resident of Baltimore, I would be remiss in not writing about one of our biggest tourist draws, the National Aquarium. It’s hard to miss in the Inner Harbor with its bright colors, pyramid-shaped roofs, and neon-blue ocean waves. Growing up, it was where sixth-graders from across the Mid-Atlantic went on their first big out-of-state field trip, and now that we live here it often serves as a key milestone as we make our way over to points east such as Harbor East (to go see movies) and Fells Point (to enjoy the local food and drink).
The aquarium itself is absolutely beautiful to walk through, and if you have interest in (non-flash) photography you can have some fun working on your craft in several areas, like the first main habitat and the jellyfish exhibit, but frankly, if the thought of any of that bores you, skip the aquarium entirely. Tickets are not inexpensive--adult admission is $40 a person--and the only thing that’s more frustrating about being somewhere boring is being somewhere boring that you had to pay a good amount of money in order to enter.
It’s also important to note that during peak times--namely weekends in general, holiday/holiday weekends, and the like--you will likely have to wait to enter if you purchase your tickets at the box office. Your best bet is to order them online and choose your entry time because otherwise, your entry time will be chosen for you, and that can be upwards of 20-30 minutes to hours on high attendance days.
All that said, the experience is worth the hassle if you love marine life. They rescue and rehabilitate many animals and they become part of the exhibits as they heal and get ready to head back to the wild, and they have several touching tanks to let you gently pet rays and other animals. The shark tanks are particularly cool because they show silhouettes of each shark as you’re expected to encounter them in the shark area, making it much easier to identify each one. That particular area is dark and can be tough to photograph, but it’s a good opportunity to put down the camera and just enjoy the distinct sensation of being (safely) surrounded by these powerful creatures.