34 years and 27 days after opening the doors to its first visitor, the National Aquarium welcomed its 50 millionth visitor, Todd Smith, and his family on Friday, September 4. The Smith family was surprised by a special celebration in their honor, with a personal welcome from National Aquarium CEO, John Racanelli, and many from the Aquarium’s team. Mr. Smith, an active military member, was joined by his wife Jillian and two children Calvin and Ashleigh as they stopped in Baltimore to visit the National Aquarium.
The family was showered with an array of exciting gifts including an Aquarium membership, a private behind-the-scenes tour, an ice cream sundae celebration, a surprise animal encounter, a family photo and a special Aquarium gift basket.
The National Aquarium welcomes 1.3 million visitors per year. Visitors to the National Aquarium spend nearly $206 million per year on lodging, transportation, food, shopping, gas, and recreation – $26 million on lodging alone. 88% of visitors to the National Aquarium reported that it was the primary reason for their visit to Baltimore. Statewide, the National Aquarium supports 3,300 jobs and has an annual economic impact of $314 million. In Baltimore City, the National Aquarium supports 2,900 jobs and has an annual economic impact of nearly $272 million. Data based upon the October 2012 economic impact assessment by Sage Policy Group, Inc