Coming Soon: Blacktip Reef
Beginning in summer 2013, guests will be able to enjoy Blacktip Reef, a breathtaking exhibit full of color, light, and movement located in the heart of National Aquarium.
This coral-filled exhibit, replicating Indo-Pacific reefs, is active with life that guests can experience from many vantage points, including a new floor-to-ceiling pop-out viewing window that allows guests to virtually come face-to-face with the animals.
As National Aquarium guests enjoy the exhibit, they can feel their heart race as a pack of blacktip reef sharks speed toward them. They may take a deep breath as they witness the rise and fall of a 5-foot-wide whipray's massive fins beneath their feet. Explore deeper and they may spot an ornate wobbegong shark camouflaged against the reef bottom. New species will join some of National Aquarium’s beloved animals including Calypso, the 400-pound green sea turtle, and zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe, in their new home.
The namesake animal of the new exhibit, the blacktip reef shark, is a smaller shark species that can grow to about 6 feet in length and bears distinctive black tips on its fins. Blacktip reef sharks are found in the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific, hanging around reefs to feed. These sharks are sleek, beautiful, fast-moving, and hunt cooperatively in groups.
Be sure to check back here for additional information and updates on the exhibit's progress!
- Blotched fantail ray (Taeniurops)
- Blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)
- Bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus)
- Bluestripe seaperch (Lutjanus kasmira)
- Clown triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum)
- Emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)
- Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas))
- Reticulate whipray (Himantura uarnak)
- Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)
- Ornate wobbegong (Orectolobus ornatus)
- Tasselled wobbegong (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon)
- Potato cod (Epinephelus tukula)
- Semicircle angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)
- Spotted unicornfish (Naso brevirostris)
- Zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)
Opening date: Summer 2013
Location: The centerpiece of National Aquarium, Baltimore, replacing Wings in the Water
Number of corals: Approximately 2,700 replicated coral pieces
Number of animal species: Will open with 15 species and will grow to approximately 80 different species
Number of animal specimens: 1,150 - 1,200
Habitat design: Replicating a healthy reef in the Indo-Pacific region, a tropical area where the Indian Ocean connects with the western and central Pacific Ocean
Gallons of water in tank: 260,000 gallons of salt water
Support system: The renovations will double the size of the life support system serving the tank.
Square feet: 13,500 total square feet (this includes the exhibit and all back-of-house pieces associated with it); top of tank is approximately 4,000 square feet
Building partners: Whiting-Turner (contractor); Cambridge Seven Associates (architect); McLaren Engineering Group (structural engineer); Kovacs, Whitney & Associates Inc. (mechanical and electrical engineer); FLUX Studio (lighting consultant)
Cost of exhibit: $12.5 million
Additional guest benefits:
- Daily interactive diver presentations
- Shark feedings will happen often
- Computer touchscreens available above and in underwater viewing area to provide guests with more information on reef animals
- Seating in underwater viewing area
- An interactive wall where guests can share thoughts on their experience
- Additional access to interact with National Aquarium's iconic bubble tubes
Where Wings in the Water animals are going:
- Green sea turtle (Calypso), zebra sharks (Zeke and Zoe) — National Aquarium Animal Care Center until Blacktip Reef is completed
- Bonnethead sharks, hogfish, tarpon — National Aquarium Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit
- Cownose stingrays, southern stingrays, small roughtail stingray, barracuda — Georgia Aquarium
- Tarpon — Ripley’s Aquarium
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