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Baltimore's National Aquarium is top-notch and worth seeing

This 3 story Maryland waterfall greets visitors at the entrance to the aquarium; despite having opened in 1981, I was very impressed with the quality and breadth of exhibits here

This 3 story Maryland waterfall greets visitors at the entrance to the aquarium; despite having opened in 1981, I was very impressed with the quality and breadth of exhibits here

Snowy grouper; there was a cool exhibit on North Atlantic puffins (between the glass and the speed of the birds my photos were horrible) that brought back memories of seeing them in the wild across Iceland

Snowy grouper; there was a cool exhibit on North Atlantic puffins (between the glass and the speed of the birds my photos were horrible) that brought back memories of seeing them in the wild across Iceland

Sea anemones are named after and resemble flowers, but they’re actually invertebrates related to corals and jellies; the Aquarium has 16 different, colorful species exhibited

Sea anemones are named after and resemble flowers, but they’re actually invertebrates related to corals and jellies; the Aquarium has 16 different, colorful species exhibited

Like most other zoos and aquariums these days, the National Aquarium has more behind the scenes experiences and encounters with the animals that you can purchase ($$$)

Like most other zoos and aquariums these days, the National Aquarium has more behind the scenes experiences and encounters with the animals that you can purchase ($$$)

National Aquarium has an annual attendance of 1.5  million visitors and is the largest tourism attraction in Maryland; tickets are $39.95 and also require a timed reservation (despite capacity controls, it was packed during my visit)

National Aquarium has an annual attendance of 1.5+ million visitors and is the largest tourism attraction in Maryland; tickets are $39.95 and also require a timed reservation (despite capacity controls, it was packed during my visit)

Once the male longsnout seahorse is pregnant the female visits him every morning and holds his tail; they have monogamous relationships, and the male cares for the unhatched eggs, regulating the conditions inside the pouch where the eggs are stored

Once the male longsnout seahorse is pregnant the female visits him every morning and holds his tail; they have monogamous relationships, and the male cares for the unhatched eggs, regulating the conditions inside the pouch where the eggs are stored

Three-eyed flounder, often referred to as summer flounder, can be found from NC to MA and are an important crop for both recreational and commercial fishing; my photos of more active fish weren't nearly as successful

Three-eyed flounder, often referred to as summer flounder, can be found from NC to MA and are an important crop for both recreational and commercial fishing; my photos of more active fish weren't nearly as successful

One of the larger members of the macaw family, the blue-and-yellow macaw is a popular species as pets since they can live 65-70 years although they have a tendency to scream for attention

One of the larger members of the macaw family, the blue-and-yellow macaw is a popular species as pets since they can live 65-70 years although they have a tendency to scream for attention

The yellow-headed Amazon’s stout, hooked beak is used not only for cracking nuts and seeds, but also for grasping, exploring and climbing; its feet, with two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward, are highly adapted for grasping

The yellow-headed Amazon’s stout, hooked beak is used not only for cracking nuts and seeds, but also for grasping, exploring and climbing; its feet, with two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward, are highly adapted for grasping

The white-blotched river stingray, native to Brazil, is unique for its large pup litter size; most stingrays have only 4 pups in a litter but this species has 7 or 8 and as many as 12

The white-blotched river stingray, native to Brazil, is unique for its large pup litter size; most stingrays have only 4 pups in a litter but this species has 7 or 8 and as many as 12

The giant waxy tree frog, native to the Amazon region, lays its eggs on large leaves overhanging the water; as the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the water to begin development

The giant waxy tree frog, native to the Amazon region, lays its eggs on large leaves overhanging the water; as the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the water to begin development

The reticulated whiptail ray was one of the species found in the Blacktip Reef exhibit which lies in the center of the aquarium; you can look down on it from several floors above or even examine the reef from a couple of floors below the surface

The reticulated whiptail ray was one of the species found in the Blacktip Reef exhibit which lies in the center of the aquarium; you can look down on it from several floors above or even examine the reef from a couple of floors below the surface

Atlantic horseshoe crabs (though more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions than to crabs) play a major role in local ecosystems, with their eggs providing a food source for shorebirds, and the juveniles and adults being eaten by sea turtles

Atlantic horseshoe crabs (though more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions than to crabs) play a major role in local ecosystems, with their eggs providing a food source for shorebirds, and the juveniles and adults being eaten by sea turtles

Native brook trout are endemic to the Eastern US depending on cold, clear freshwater streams for their survival; the aquarium did a nice job highlighting the Chesapeake Bay and Appalachian Mtn ecosystems

Native brook trout are endemic to the Eastern US depending on cold, clear freshwater streams for their survival; the aquarium did a nice job highlighting the Chesapeake Bay and Appalachian Mtn ecosystems

Wood turtles are native to the Northeast but are now endangered due to habitat destruction and road traffic; rarely seen more than several hundred meters from flowing water, they hibernate in the winter

Wood turtles are native to the Northeast but are now endangered due to habitat destruction and road traffic; rarely seen more than several hundred meters from flowing water, they hibernate in the winter

The Northern hogsucker, native to the US and Canada, prefers clear, fast-flowing water, where it can forage on the riverbed for crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, algae and detritus

The Northern hogsucker, native to the US and Canada, prefers clear, fast-flowing water, where it can forage on the riverbed for crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, algae and detritus

Blue crabs are one of the most important commercial and recreational catches in the Chesapeake Bay but have been declining in recent decades due to overfishing; Maryland crab cakes are famous

Blue crabs are one of the most important commercial and recreational catches in the Chesapeake Bay but have been declining in recent decades due to overfishing; Maryland crab cakes are famous

This gorgeous animal is a diamondback terrapin which is native to the brackish coastal tidal marshes of the eastern and southern US; I can see why the Univ of Maryland has a terrapin mascot

This gorgeous animal is a diamondback terrapin which is native to the brackish coastal tidal marshes of the eastern and southern US; I can see why the Univ of Maryland has a terrapin mascot

The shovelnose sturgeon, the only commercially fished sturgeon in the US, is the smallest species of freshwater sturgeon native to North America; it is mainly fished in the Missouri and Mississippi River systems

The shovelnose sturgeon, the only commercially fished sturgeon in the US, is the smallest species of freshwater sturgeon native to North America; it is mainly fished in the Missouri and Mississippi River systems

Moon jellyfish, typically 10-16 inches in diameter, are capable of only limited motion, and drift with the current, even when swimming; living only about 6 months, they can be an important food source for turtles and birds

Moon jellyfish, typically 10-16 inches in diameter, are capable of only limited motion, and drift with the current, even when swimming; living only about 6 months, they can be an important food source for turtles and birds

The threatened round ribbontail ray can be found throughout the nearshore waters of the tropical Indo-Pacific, as well as off islands in the eastern Pacific; the popular touch pools were closed due to Covid

The threatened round ribbontail ray can be found throughout the nearshore waters of the tropical Indo-Pacific, as well as off islands in the eastern Pacific; the popular touch pools were closed due to Covid

The little skate is of minimal commercial importance and is mostly used as bait for lobster traps but is significant as a model organism for biological and medical research

The little skate is of minimal commercial importance and is mostly used as bait for lobster traps but is significant as a model organism for biological and medical research

The scarlet macaw is recognizable for its vibrant coloring (what is known as disruptive coloration) which helps the macaws in flocks confuse predators; when the flock takes off, the bold colors create visual noise that obscures individual birds

The scarlet macaw is recognizable for its vibrant coloring (what is known as disruptive coloration) which helps the macaws in flocks confuse predators; when the flock takes off, the bold colors create visual noise that obscures individual birds

Blue poison dart frogs release toxins from the skin that are distasteful and potentially lethal to would-be predators; native to Suriname, they are found near streams however, they lack toe webbing and are poor swimmers, so they are not found in the water

Blue poison dart frogs release toxins from the skin that are distasteful and potentially lethal to would-be predators; native to Suriname, they are found near streams however, they lack toe webbing and are poor swimmers, so they are not found in the water

I didn't expect to see a two-toed sloth at an aquarium but he is part of the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit; the species is known for sleeping 20 hrs a day but, interestingly, they mate and give birth while hanging upside down

I didn't expect to see a two-toed sloth at an aquarium but he is part of the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit; the species is known for sleeping 20 hrs a day but, interestingly, they mate and give birth while hanging upside down

Atlantic spadefish form fields of fast-moving stripes that bewilder predators by making it nearly impossible to distinguish one fish from another; the Aquarium was sold out the days of my visit but I lucked out since I just needed a single ticket

Atlantic spadefish form fields of fast-moving stripes that bewilder predators by making it nearly impossible to distinguish one fish from another; the Aquarium was sold out the days of my visit but I lucked out since I just needed a single ticket

Poison dart frogs are not always poisonous; toxic skin secretions come from a diet of tropical rain forest insects like ants, termites and midges; without these foods, the frogs here at the National Aquarium aren't poisonous

Poison dart frogs are not always poisonous; toxic skin secretions come from a diet of tropical rain forest insects like ants, termites and midges; without these foods, the frogs here at the National Aquarium aren't poisonous

Yellow-banded poison dart frog; in recent travels I've noticed more inexpensive hotels charging hefty resort and/or destination fees with some even now charging a housekeeping fee; always look to see the total price, not just the nightly rate

Yellow-banded poison dart frog; in recent travels I've noticed more inexpensive hotels charging hefty resort and/or destination fees with some even now charging a housekeeping fee; always look to see the total price, not just the nightly rate

Parking around the Aquarium can be $25-$30 an hour in the nice, new garages; you're better off parking a block or two further away on the street where the rate is only $2 an hour

Parking around the Aquarium can be $25-$30 an hour in the nice, new garages; you're better off parking a block or two further away on the street where the rate is only $2 an hour

I was very impressed with the National Aquarium given its broad scope of exhibits and visitor-friendly layout; its also right in the heart of the Inner Harbor area where there are lots of other tourist sights

I was very impressed with the National Aquarium given its broad scope of exhibits and visitor-friendly layout; its also right in the heart of the Inner Harbor area where there are lots of other tourist sights

One of the most impressive exhibits is Shark Alley where you descend 5 levels of stairs surrounded by a 225,000 gallon tank filled with sharks; definitely a great place to bring kids

One of the most impressive exhibits is Shark Alley where you descend 5 levels of stairs surrounded by a 225,000 gallon tank filled with sharks; definitely a great place to bring kids

Posted by VagabondCowboy 02:40

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