The National Aquarium has become a leading destination for visitors around the globe welcoming more than a million guests annually. It is consistently ranked as one of the top three aquariums in the United States.
In the late 1970s, architects from Cambridge Seven and lead architect Peter Chermayeff, inspired by his work as a filmmaker, worked to create an example of a modern aquarium. The building is designed to mimic a person traveling through a film in a linear sequence as exhibits and animals are revealed as you move throughout the building.
From the opening exhibit space lined with bubble tubes of water, visitors move into a serene, open-water exhibit of the Blacktip Reef. Looking up you get a sneak peek of the four levels of exhibits to come.
The aquarium has two buildings across two piers along Baltimore Inner Harbor connected by a walkway featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the water on either side. It’s an example of Brutalist architecture and the glass pyramids are one of the most recognizable features of Baltimore’s skyline.
Plans for the building were approved in 1976 as part of the redevelopment of the harbor area. Construction began in 1978 and it opened Aug. 8, 1981.
The aquarium is committed to making access available to everyone in the community. A partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library encourages young readers to lean about ocean life, complete a book list and earn a visit fo the building for their families.
Staff and volunteers also work to restore critical habitats throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including floating wetland projects in the harbor itself.