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Have Your Best Aquarium Experience Ever!

Published August 15, 2013

Whether it's your first or fiftieth visit to the Aquarium, there's always something new to discover!

Here are our top 10 insider tips for making this next visit even better than the last: 

Visit During the Week

Visiting National Aquarium during the week gives you access to all the Aquarium has to offer...with plenty of time to linger.


Be an Early Bird

Start your day off right—with US! Arriving before 11 am gives you a head-start checking out Blacktip Reef and all our other exhibits. Plus, there's so much that happens as the animals start their day, and you can be a part of it. More of a night owl? A visit after 3 pm means you'll experience our animals during a less busy time.

Make a New Friend

Starting every morning at 9 am, a special meet-and-greet lets you get up close with a new best bird or lizard buddy. And throughout the day, Aquarium staff members are on-hand to share information about what they love—the ocean and all of its inhabitants! From animal encounters and educator talks to feedings and diver presentations, there’s something going on at all hours starting right when the Aquarium opens. Check out the schedule at the digital message boards in the Aquarium and on the back of the guide map.

Buy Online to Pick Your Time

Purchasing tickets at means that you can pick the entrance time that works for you. Our timed entry is designed to ensure that everyone has a great experience. What could be better than that?

Look in Every Nook and Cranny

Yes, the exhibits are lovely to look at, but there's so much more to explore if you take the time to look beneath the surface. See if you can find the sandbar shark pup in the Atlantic Coral Reef. Search for hidden gems—Upland Tropical Rain Forest is filled with them, like the tarantula who makes its home in the log or the tortoises up on the top level. Check out the wolf eel in the Kelp Forest rock and the amazing mantis shrimp in the Adaptations Gallery. Take your time—no matter where you look, there's something incredible to discover.

View Blacktip Reef From Every Angle

National Aquarium’s newest exhibit is a wonder from every perspective. Whether it’s through our floor-to-ceiling underwater viewing area or from above at multiple levels, there’s always something exciting to see.

Turn Your Visit Into an Adventure

Go behind the scenes with your favorite animals and exhibits! Immersion Tours give you an inside look at what makes the Aquarium and all of its inhabitants so special.

Take Great Aquarium Photos

Capture an amazing visit with incredible photos. Skip the flash, boost your camera’s ISO for low-light conditions (if yours has the ability to do that!), aim straight into the tank, and be patient. By experimenting and taking tons of shots, you’re bound to get a few gems. Planning to post your photos online? Be sure to share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and we might just highlight YOUR photo! The jellies are ready for their close-ups...

Join Our Community

Apply your purchase to a membership and maximize your aquarium experience all year! Support from our members is absolutely critical to the amazing work we do to conserve the world’s aquatic treasures. And, with free unlimited admission, discounted parking, and access to many other great benefits, membership makes sense (and cents) for everyone who loves the Aquarium.

Take the Aquarium Home With You

The residents of National Aquarium are happy where they are, but there’s a lot you can do to extend the experience at home. Visit for access to incredible webcams of Blacktip Reef and the Pacific Coral Reef, information on conservation opportunities near you, and blogs from our Aquarium experts on everything from animal rescue to marine mammal training. Explore a stream near you, looking for reptiles, amphibians, and birds that make their homes near water. Go to the library or explore online resources to learn more about the animals you met during your visit. Make sustainable choices that will help conserve our oceans and waterways.

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