On Christmas Eve 2020, we visited the National Aquarium for the first time. The National Aquarium is a very beautiful building with tons of species (freshwater, marine and terrestrial) that will catch any kids attention, and an amazing full view to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.
Here I share some tips and tricks I would have like a friend to tell me before going as they’ll help you prepare for the visit and even, maybe, save some money. I’m sure that tips might be slightly different during Pandemic times, but some #lifehacks are timeless. So, from the perspective of a mom that likes to get the most bang for her buck, consider the following information.
First things first:
Where? National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
How much? You can find the entrance fees here. Keep reading for Pro tips on how to save money.
Open/Closes: Schedule varies, so check their website.
Pets: I don’t think so. But if you have a service animal, I guess that it’s worth giving them a call.
At a Glance (review from my insta account)
Kid friendly ✅ Honestly, it was a godsend on a rainy day. I would rather gift my kids experiences instead of things and without planning, this turned out to be a great experience. My oldest son said “it was the best Christmas Eve ever”. They were mesmerized with the sharks, all the weird looking-emotionless fish stares, the reptiles and the eels that in our opinion look like a hand wearing a sock and of course, the jellyfish are so cool!
Stroller friendly❌They don’t allow strollers. If you bring one they have a space designated for you to park the stroller. If you have a baby, you can bring a baby carrier.
Wheelchair accessible ✅Yes! You can even borrow one free of charge. First-come, first-served!
Social distancing ✅ I have avoided indoor venues like the plague. But this time, the risk outweighed staying home depressed. And here are my two cents: it turned out better than expected.
It wasn’t crowded at all, at any point. But I know this could have been because it was on Christmas Eve. Even though, they have hand sanitizer stations throughout the place, the bathrooms have touch less soap and paper towels dispensers, water faucets, toilets, and hand dryer. They were only missing touch less toilet paper wiping.
Moreover, you move through the exhibits in one direction. That was perfect! We were able to take in all the exhibits without a mass of people blocking the view. This wasn’t our first aquarium visit and you know that these places tend to be frustrating because they are usually sold beyond capacity. This, solely, has made me think that from now on, museums, zoos and aquariums, should keep things this way. Maybe it’s not such a bad time to visit these places after all.
Pro tips 🚨
1. If you are local, consider a membership to get the most bang for your buck. We did and I’m definitely going to be visiting again through out this year. It’s also tax deductible. You do have to reserve in advance every time you plan to visit. We are a family of four, so it made a lot of sense for us to get the membership.
2. At the moment, every Friday from 5:00-8:00 PM tickets are $19.95, half the price of a regular ticket. One time visit. This is a great deal. The only caveat is that Fridays, probably, are more crowded. But that’s just me hypothesizing based on human behavior patterns. Let’s see if one of these days I use my membership on a Friday night and tell you all about it!
3. If you have kids, consider leaving the winter coats with the stroller at the stroller parking because if they are like mine and start taking off their clothes when they are in a heated building, you don’t want to be carrying all that stuff. An instagram commenter shared with me they also have lockers that you can rent!
4. Members get discounts at selected parking garages but if you don’t plan on getting a membership, check out parking panda to find cheap parking in the Inner Harbor Area.
5. Before you go, it’s always a good idea to check websites like Groupon. You never know if there’s something there.
6. Also, always check their website Events section to find out what promos they have.
More details of Our Experience
The National Aquarium is at the heart of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.
The tour starts with a magnificent view of a tropical rainforest waterfall and lots of green vegetation instantly setting the tone for an experience that will make you forget you are in a city. Check out my insta story highlights labeled National Aquarium to see it on video!
Because we are living in social distancing times, there’s only one way to move throughout the exhibits. I though this was amazing and wish it stays like this because it made the experience a lot more enjoyable. Zoos, museums and aquariums tend to get crowded and you barely have time to take in the exhibits.
I am not going to list all the species you will see (you can visit the Aquarium’s website for that info) or better, you can visit my instagram account and watch the videos I shared in my stories, but I assure you that kids can get close and personal with most of the animals. The exhibits are beautiful and well maintained. Animals look very healthy and having fun!
If you have kids that really like sharks, they will have a great time looking at them at The Shark Alley!
I do have to point out that at the moment, the ray and jellyfish touch pool are closed (but you can still see them, you are just not allowed to touch them). There aren’t any dolphin shows offered and masks are required at all times!
I hope you have a great time visiting this beautiful place. Being in contact with nature is proven to make you feel better and happier. Let me know if you go how it goes and remember that the easiest way to stay posted and in touch is to follow me on insta, where I also share videos of the places in my stories/highlights!