National Aquarium in Baltimore

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The National Aquarium in Baltimore is a public aquarium located in the famous Inner Harbor area of Baltimore City, US. It was opened in 1981 and was constructed during the urban renewal period of Baltimore City. The aquarium has an annual attendance of 1.6 million to see its collection of 10,500 specimens of 560 different species.

As of 2004, the National Aquarium is the largest tourist attraction in the state of Maryland. As of October 22 2003, the Aquarium is currently undergoing renovation and expansion. The expanded portion will be 65,400 ft² (6,000 m²) and is scheduled to open in Spring of 2005.

When it opens, visitors can expect to see a glass-enclosed expanded portion of the aquarium and a waterfront park. This park will feature interactive and hands-on activities that will teach visitors about bayscaping, bird-box building, the nationally recognized National Aquarium in Baltimore's Marine Animal Rescue Program, water quality testing, marine debris issues, and wetland restoration.

Inside the expanded portion of the Aquarium directly in the main entrance, there will be a 35 ft (10 m) waterfall that was modeled from an actual waterfall in a Maryland state park. It will be visible from outside the Aquarium. Also inside the expanded portion, there will be a recreation of an Australian habitat. The Umbrawarra Gorge of Australia will be carefully depicted inside the upper portion of the expanded building, and the exhibit will depict lands of fire, drought, and flood. Aboriginal artwork will also be found in the recreation of the gorge and will be based on actual Aboriginal artwork that has been found in Australia. These images will depict aboriginal intepretations of the land that they live on.

On October 18, 2004, The Baltimore Sun released a story stating that delays in construction and the complexities of the $66 million expansion could push the opening back into Fall of 2005, missing out on the busiest part of the city's tourism season. The National Aquarium said they experienced a dip in attendance in the Summer 2004 but they expect a 200,000 increase when the expansion is completed. (Source: Complexity, construction delay aquarium addition (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.aquarium18oct18,1,4174929.story?coll=bal-local-headlines) Site Registration Required)


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