By developing an aquarium of the 21st century—one that showcases habitat-based exhibits, emerging tech and memorable experiences—we hope to inspire the next generation of conservationists.
In 1981, the National Aquarium was founded as a cornerstone of Baltimore's newly-revitalized Inner Harbor. What began as a visitor attraction with a budding conservation program has evolved over time into a national ocean conservation organization that stewards a world-class aquarium.
Our work begins within our own walls as we inspire millions of guests each year to conserve and care for Earth's aquatic treasures. However, our work must live beyond our own four walls. We must find compelling new ways to share our conservation messages and inspire more than learning; knowledge is merely the first step in a long journey.
With the invaluable support of Studio Gang, a world-renowned architecture and design house, and IMPACTS Research and Development, a cutting-edge market analytics firm, we began a process of deep inquiry into the future of aquariums. Together, we developed a strategic vision that will ensure the long-term impact and relevance of the National Aquarium, and you can help—contact our team to learn how you can make a difference.
This is our BLUEprint. Join us.
Since 1981, the Inner Harbor has been our home, and the people of Baltimore have been our neighbors, our patrons and our inspiration. In tribute to our hometown, we are bringing the natural, living Chesapeake Bay back to the water's edge for all to enjoy. The reintroduction of native plants and animal species through floating wetlands will improve water quality while providing residents and visitors alike the opportunity to reconnect with the natural world in the heart of Baltimore City.
The National Aquarium's waterfront campus project provides a remarkable opportunity—and awesome responsibility—to positively impact the water around us.
Our waterfront campus project will reintroduce celebrated Chesapeake Bay biodiversity into the Inner Harbor.
The installation of floating wetlands—made up of plants native to our coastal region—will bring the Chesapeake Bay within reach for visitors and students from our own community and around the world. The wetlands will create habitat for native species, while gradually improving the harbor's water quality.
The National Aquarium's What Lives in the Harbor program allows Baltimore City Public Schools seventh grade students to experiment with and learn from these new habitats right at the water's edge through our waterfront campus project.
Over the years, our understanding of the needs of our Atlantic bottlenose dolphin colony has evolved significantly, and it is through this informed lens that we now look beyond our facility to provide them with the best possible lives.
In appreciation of their intellect and resilience, we continue to evolve our care to best suit the unique needs of dolphins. Our future goal for these animals is to maintain the highest standards of health and welfare, while creating a more natural, ocean water sanctuary in which they can thrive.
Dolphin Sanctuary Series
Series Dolphin Sanctuary
Through the creation of North America’s first dolphin sanctuary, the National Aquarium is introducing a new option for human care of dolphins. Learn more about our journey so far.
By establishing North America's first dolphin sanctuary, we're creating a new option for these intelligent marine mammals to thrive under human care.
The dolphins in our care have consistently demonstrated keen intellect, curiosity and adaptability. In the spirit of all they have taught us, we believe we have developed the best possible plan for their ongoing welfare. The day to implement these plans is upon us.
Today, the marine mammal team is customizing the moving and acclimation plan for the colony. Through the introduction of new stimuli, individualized training plans and comprehensive situation analysis and consultation, we are methodically building the ability of each dolphin to take this journey. Throughout this process their enduring welfare remains our top priority.
Animal Care and Rescue Center
The Animal Care and Rescue Center, located in Baltimore's historic Jonestown neighborhood, embodies our commitment to our city, its people and its future.
The ACRC more than doubles our capacity to care for off-exhibit and rescued animals, allowing us to truly live our mission to inspire and protect. It also houses state-of-the-art equipment that produces 15,000 gallons of salt water monthly, as well as space for the fabrication of intricate habitats.
This new facility is the beating heart of the National Aquarium, powering all that we do.
Guests can experience our animal welfare work as never before at the ACRC, where an enclosed overlook gallery allows them to witness the extensive work that takes place behind the scenes. Marine science and STEM opportunities can come to life for school groups through classroom activities and guided exploration.
When a grey seal pup with bilateral fractures to her lower jaw appeared on a Delaware beach, National Aquarium Animal Rescue staff responded immediately. After long-term rehabilitation under the expert care of our staff, the seal pup—nicknamed Lily—made a full recovery and returned to her ocean home.