The Aquarium is currently open to the public. In response to COVID-19, we’ve made some essential changes to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
Welcome to the Reef
Blacktip Reef is an award-winning exhibit located in the heart of National Aquarium. Guests can experience this replication of an Indo-Pacific reef from multiple vantage points, including a breathtaking underwater viewing area. The reef habitat is buzzing with aquatic life—sleek blacktip reef sharks cut through the water’s surface as rays gracefully glide and stunning fish dart between branches of colorful coral.
gallons of water
One of the unique characteristics about blacktip reef sharks is their camaraderie. These big fish often swim in schools in their natural habitats, and our school of blacktip reef sharks are no different. They lived together in our former Animal Care Center for 18 months before moving into their new home in Blacktip Reef, giving them plenty of bonding time before the big day.
Featured Animals Discover Life in an Indo-Pacific Reef
Learn more about the residents of Blacktip Reef.
Putting the Coral in Coral Reef
Real barrier reefs can take 100,000 to 30 million years to fully form, so growing our own coral wasn't an option. Instead, we painstakingly crafted our own—all 3,000 pieces of it—from the molds of real coral skeletons. Now it serves as colorful shelter for our diverse array of Indo-Pacific fish.