The National Aquarium today announced plans to reimagine their campus through the creation of a model urban waterfront. In alignment with Inner Harbor 2.0, the National Aquarium will establish a free and accessible environmental district that will create a welcoming and engaging space for all ages.
“As a key component of the first phase of our BLUEprint master plan, this waterfront revitalization will strive to be a model for the nation, fostering community engagement, encouraging new guest experiences and inspiring conservation action,” said Bob Carter, Chair of the National Aquarium Board of Directors. “This project is about being more than an attraction; it’s really showing not only how we live our mission, but how we can share our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures with all who visit the Inner Harbor.”
The new campus vision is to connect people to the water. The model urban waterfront campus plan will make the area more inviting and educational for both Aquarium visitors and those enjoying the Inner Harbor. It will create terraced edges to allow individuals to get closer to the water’s edge and provide engaging activities to educate guests about the importance of the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, guests will learn about urban habitat restoration through the re-creation of a variety of wetland and bay habitats planned for the area of water between Piers 3 and 4.
“This exciting project is a complement to the work we’ve been doing with Inner Harbor 2.0 and will increase the Baltimore waterfront experience,” said Laurie Schwartz, president of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore. “Together, we are creating a model for what a thriving urban waterfront can be.”
Other project goals include establishing a research effort in collaboration with partners to work on harbor quality and Chesapeake Bay restoration challenges as well as stewarding a community resource initiative for environmental education programming. Prototyping will start at the end of 2016. Installation and construction will gradually roll out until completion in 2019.
“Baltimore is a waterfront city like no other, and investing in our outdoor campus is investing in our city’s future,” said John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium. “At its core, this revitalization is about re-connecting Baltimoreans with their waterfront as a place for exploration and discovery. We plan to show the nation how an urban waterfront can also be a healthy one.”
The National Aquarium is funding this project through a combination of Aquarium, public and private funds, a process that will continue over the next one to three years.