Girl holding an oyster

Our Commitment to Our Community

National Aquarium Outreach in Baltimore City

Local Presence, Global Mission

Since opening our doors in 1981, the National Aquarium has welcomed more than 53 million guests. Featuring over 20,000 animals in award-winning habitats, we welcome guests not only from Baltimore and Maryland, but from around the world, generating more than $360 million in annual economic activity in Baltimore City and nearly $455 million statewide. Nearly 90 percent of our guests cite the National Aquarium as their primary reason for visiting Baltimore.

Panoramic view of the aquarium at night

Over the years, our mission has expanded to include an emphasis on conservation and education. Our dedicated staff works diligently to strengthen our relationships within our community, focusing on our conservation priorities of Ocean and Human Health, Urban Conservation and Diversity, and Climate Change and Resiliency because we understand that a healthy environment starts with healthy communities.

More Than a Destination

This map illustrates the National Aquarium's presence in Baltimore City between 2015 and 2017. The community outreach, conservation action and educational programs shown on the map are just some examples of how the Aquarium's reach extends beyond the Inner Harbor and throughout Baltimore's many unique and historic neighborhoods.

Map of the National Aquarium's presence in Baltimore City

The National Aquarium's physical presence in Baltimore City has never been broader thanks to the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center in South Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood and our new Animal Care and Rescue Center in Jonestown. The Masonville Cove facility serves as an anchor site for our conservation work in the community, and the Animal Care and Rescue Center provides a permanent headquarters for the Aquarium's animal care and quarantine facilities, exhibit fabrication and rescue operations.

Inspiring Tomorrow's Leaders

Conservation Education Programs

We believe our mission to inspire conservation of the world's aquatic treasures begins with students and youth. The National Aquarium's conservation education programs such as Terrapins in the Classroom, Wetland Nursery Program and AquaPartners offer students hands-on, meaningful interactions with local ecosystems and a chance to increase their connection to the Chesapeake Bay.

Girl showing a baby a turtle

Youth may also explore conservation action through hands-on experiences as part of the Henry Hall Conservation Leadership Program or as Aquarium on Wheels staff. These programs enable older students to attend exciting educational excursions, shadow Aquarium employees, and research, write and perform presentations for younger kids throughout the city.

Empowering Communities

Community Conservation Programs

National Aquarium staff works alongside community activists and leaders every day, empowering residents to take on simple conservation actions that make a big difference. Activities include storm drain stenciling, stream or shoreline cleanups and habitat restoration projects such as native habitat garden planting and maintenance. National Aquarium staff hosts community conservation workshops about topics such as composting, recycling and rain barrel construction while establishing a consistent presence in local neighborhoods, including Curtis Bay and Brooklyn.

We are truly thankful to be a part of these events and hope to keep helping in any other community needs. Thank you!

- Templo de Alabanza Y Restauración (TAYR)
Latino Faith Based Congregation, Brooklyn

People planting grasses along the shoreline

As the official Maryland state coordinator of Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup, the National Aquarium also manages annual debris cleanup efforts at the shorelines surrounding Fort McHenry and Masonville Cove. These efforts connect city residents to water and empower them to engage in hands-on conservation in service of our one, global ocean.

Partners in Progress

Enoch Pratt Free Library Outreach

The National Aquarium's ongoing partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library creates dozens of conservation education and access opportunities for children and families throughout Baltimore, meeting them where they live to inspire the next generation of empowered conservationists.

Children performing a skit

This partnership also drives Read to Reef, a successful educational program that allows Baltimore youth to earn free Aquarium admission for themselves and their families by reading. Each summer, the Pratt Library branches throughout the city also host Aquarium on Wheels student presentations, which address important conservation themes through kid-friendly theatrical performances followed by interactive games and activities.

Creating Connections

Locals Visit for Less

In addition to taking our conservation mission beyond our Aquarium walls into Baltimore communities, our community access programs strive to make a visit to the Aquarium possible for Baltimore residents and families with free and reduced admission opportunities throughout the year. Annually, the Aquarium welcomes around 60,000 Maryland students free of charge through our school field trip program, and approximately 100,000 people at free or reduced admission through community access programs, including Read to Reef, Grade A Student Night, Half-Price Friday Nights (presented by M&T Bank), Maryland Mornings, Free Fall Friday Night, Pay What You Want Day (with the generous support of T. Rowe Price) and Dollar Days. For more information on our access programs, visit aqua.org/youraquarium.

Wonderful experience! My third grader said he'll be coming every year. [The evening] also opened his eyes about career paths.

- Grade A Student Night Parent,
Baltimore City

Three children jumping

Download the Baltimore City Outreach Map

For questions, please contact external@aqua.org.