A very special first date

Published February 09, 2011

Over the last 30 years we've witnessed plenty of couples enjoying a date at the Aquarium. And still today we hear stories upon stories of couples who chose the National Aquarium as their first date. While searching for stories to commemorate our 30-year legacy, we were able to track down what may have been the Aquarium's first "first date"! At a member event not too long ago, we caught up with a very special member couple who shared an important first date at the Aquarium in 1981.

“What do you consider a couple?” asked Roger Gabin. Without missing a beat, the Aquarium staff member replied, “Two consenting adults.”  “We officially became a ‘couple’ on our first date!” laughed Gabin.

On that morning in 1981, Gabin thought he was just taking a nice girl out to the newly opened Aquarium on their first date. With the intention of saving a little money on the admission price, he purchased an Aquarium membership as a "couple" for himself and Irva.

Nearly 30 years of marriage and two sons later, Roger and Irva are among the most recognizable of the Aquarium’s charter members, attending member events and reliving their first date and early courtship. They often bring their sons, Joe and Bernie, sharing tales about them as youngsters. Everything from tantrums in Aquarium elevators to Aquarium conservation events at Ft. McHenry, it’s easy to tell the Aquarium is a big part of the Gable family history. “As members, we got Watermarks in the mail. But Roger ensured it came to his address, so he could use it as an excuse to call me,” laughs Irva. “Yes, but my plan worked! By the time our membership expired, we were already engaged so we could renew as an ‘official couple,’” Roger quips back.

Have you shared a special date at the Aquarium? Share your story with us here! Wo knows, maybe you'll become the next famed Aquarium couple!

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