National Aquarium, Enoch Pratt Free Library Celebrate Return of Read to Reef Book Club

The partnership to offer tickets to the Aquarium for Baltimore families returns this spring

The National Aquarium, in partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, is proud to announce the return of the Read to Reef book club for its spring season. The award-winning program connects Baltimore children to the wonders of the aquatic world.

From March 1 through March 31, Baltimore-area children in grades five and younger can visit any Enoch Pratt Free Library location and present their library card to receive a Read to Reef bookmark while supplies last. After reading any five aquatic- or conservation-themed books on the Read to Reef booklist, the reader's family can visit the Aquarium's website and enter the code on their bookmark to make a reservation for free admission for up to four guests.

This season's Read to Reef booklist, curated by library staff and Aquarium educators, includes titles suitable for children of all reading levels—from toddlers exploring books with their caregivers to children just learning to read to older students ready to explore the fascinating mysteries of the ocean. Additionally, on March 9, the Aquarium will participate in a Mr. Trash Wheel story time at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, organized by the Waterfront Partnership in celebration of the release of "Green Machines and Other Amazing Eco-Inventions." This new book, featuring Baltimore's own Mr. Trash Wheel, is part of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax Books series and is found on this year's reading list.

"We are delighted to welcome back another season of our Read to Reef book club," shared National Aquarium Community Programs Manager Sarah Doccolo. "Read to Reef is more than just a program; it's a gateway to exploration and discovery of our ocean planet. We're thrilled to continue fostering a love for reading while connecting young minds to the marvels of our underwater world. Join us as we dive into a springtime of imagination, education, and of course, family fun through this year's Read to Reef book club."

Since the program's launch in 2016, almost 20,000 Baltimore-area young readers have read their way to free Aquarium admission for themselves and their families thanks to their participation in the Read to Reef book club. In total, Read to Reef families have enjoyed more than 71,500 free visits.

"Read to Reef book club members have read about 98,000 aquatic- and conservation-themed books since the inception of our partnership with the National Aquarium in 2016," said Enoch Pratt Library Chief Marketing, Communications, & Strategy Officer Meghan McCorkell. "Connecting young readers and their families to marine science and these two Baltimore institutions each year presents a powerful opportunity to encourage our youngest readers to dive into a book and start to understand their place in the natural world."

Bookmarks are available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning March 1, and can be redeemed for Aquarium admission for each reader and up to three additional family members before June 16, 2024. Some blackout dates apply. Please visit our Read to Reef page for detailed information.

Quotes from Past Read to Reef Participants/Families (2024):

"Thank you for allowing us to take our family to the aquarium for an affordable rate! Our 2-year-old was so excited after she'd spent weeks reading our five "fishy books" from the library. By the time we got to the aquarium, she was running up to all the fish waving and saying, 'How you doin?'"

"We love the Read to Reef program; my children look forward to it all year. The Govans librarian also makes it a magical and fun experience."

"Our family of seven LOVES this program! I tell every mom I know about it! I am very grateful that Read to Reef is still going strong after all these years; the program gets better year after year. This program is the ONLY way I can afford to take my babies to "see the fish." Please don't take Read to Reef away, ever!"

"We appreciate this program so much! We would not be able to afford an Aquarium visit otherwise. My children were so excited to learn about the underwater world, and they were literally jumping for joy when we scheduled our Aquarium visit!"

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