Check this page for the latest updates surrounding the future of the National Aquarium, Washington, DC.
October 25, 2013
Earlier today, our Baltimore facility welcomed loggerhead turtle, Brownie, from Washington, DC!
October 4, 2013
The first of our transport trips from DC to Baltimore included the move of 38 animals: a giant Pacific octopus, seven plumose anemones, a peacock wolf eel, rockfish and much more! However, on any given day in the next two months, we may be transporting 20 to 400 animals.
October 1, 2013
The first animals moved out of their DC home. Two juvenile American Alligators left the National Aquarium early Tuesday morning to fly south to Louisiana. They will be released into the wild upon their return to their native state.
Stay tuned for more updates on animal moves.
Update From the CEO: Our Future in Washington, DC
As a friend or follower of the National Aquarium, you probably know about the nation’s original aquarium, located since 1932 in the U.S. Department of Commerce headquarters in Washington, DC... Read More
Official Press Release
Renovations to Impact National Aquarium, Washington, DC
The Board of Directors of the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, has announced that, due to necessary renovations in the Department of Commerce building, the facility will be closing on September 30, 2013. The General Services Administration (GSA) requires National Aquarium to vacate its current space in the building by March 2014.
This September 30 closing date allows National Aquarium, Washington, DC, to meet GSA’s March deadline using a timeline that accommodates its main priority: the needs of its animals and staff. The collection of more than 2,500 animals will be transitioned to new homes at either National Aquarium, Baltimore, or at other accredited aquariums.
“Here at the National Aquarium, we value our DC venue’s rich history as the nation’s first public aquarium, and we are committed to maintaining a presence in the capital, where a public aquarium has existed since the late 1800s,” said Tamika Langley Tremaglio, National Aquarium, Washington, DC, Board Chair.
A task force of National Aquarium Board members is exploring opportunities and funding options that would support this goal. The closure will not impact the operation of National Aquarium, Baltimore, one of the nation’s leading aquariums.
The National Aquarium, Washington, DC, is the nation’s first public Aquarium. It was established in 1873 in Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts, as a federal entity under the Federal Fish Commission. In 1878, it was moved to the site of the Washington Monument and consisted of holding ponds known to locals as the “Carp Ponds.” By 1903, the Federal Fish Commission became the Bureau of Fisheries under the Department of Commerce. In 1932, the National Aquarium was incorporated into the lower level of the Commerce Building. It still inhabits that space today as a private, nonprofit museum.
In 1982, federal funds were eliminated from the operating budget for the National Aquarium. Threatened with closing, the National Aquarium Society was formed to keep the National Aquarium operating. In 2003, the National Aquarium Society Board of Directors signed an alliance agreement with the Board of Directors of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, enabling the two aquariums to work together to strengthen the animal collection and educational impact of the Aquarium.
In 2004, initial planning for the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, renovation project took place with receipt of two grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The first and most critical undertaking was to address water quality issues and the condition of the exhibits and the back areas. In 2005, life support and back-of-house processes were revamped and our laboratory was updated to include cutting edge equipment for water analysis and animal health diagnostics.
In 2006, the thematic identity of the Aquarium was determined and exhibit plans were focused on America’s Aquatic Treasures, highlighting the animals and habitats of the National Marine Sanctuary Program and freshwater ecosystems of the U.S. A portion of the exhibit space was also dedicated to conservation hot spots such as the Amazon and invasive species.
In 2008, the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, was named the “Best Downtown Experience” by the Washington, DC, Business Improvement District. Today, the Aquarium is home to more than 2,500 animals from 250 species including sharks, eels, alligators, amphibians, and an adorable “head start” loggerhead turtle.
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