The National Aquarium, with its breathtaking views of the Baltimore Inner Harbor and five levels of award-winning exhibits, provides a magical and memorable backdrop for your special occasion.
Whether outside or in, spacious locations are available for as few as five guests to as many as 3,000, making the Aquarium the ideal place for weddings, corporate events, meetings, team-building sessions, fundraising galas, holiday parties or any occasion!
What types of private events can I have at the Aquarium?
Holiday parties, corporate events, wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, private dinners, proms, reunions, lectures, presentations, social gatherings, bar/bat mitzvahs, picnics and more.
How do I check availability and/or reserve rental space to host an event at the National Aquarium?
To start planning your event at the National Aquarium, please fill out a request for information form.
Due to the large amount of incoming requests, please allow 3-5 business days for response.
How much does it cost to “hold” a date for my event at the National Aquarium?
Once you select a date and confirm availability with our manager of meetings and events, we will guarantee a hold on your date and rates for a two-week period at no cost. A scheduled site visit is highly recommended, and a quote for space rental fees will be provided to you in writing.
Once confirmed, a space rental contract will be issued and 50% of the base rental fee due. The guarantee and remaining balance is due five days prior to the event date. We ask that you wait to send out any invitations for the event until all parties have signed the contract.
What does my National Aquarium space rental include?
Space rental fees include a four-hour private rental, access to the aquarium exhibits (unless otherwise specified), aquarium staff, to include: on-site day-of manager, security and hosts (as needed), plus use of our existing tables and chairs, + podium with mic.
For weddings, your one-hour rehearsal is also included during normal business hours (9:00am to 4:30pm) the week prior to your event. If your rehearsal needs to take place after 4:30 pm or on a Saturday, there may be an additional fee.
Who are the approved caterers at the National Aquarium?
The Aquarium provides a choice of two exclusive caterers: Harbor Market Catering and The Classic Catering People. Our caterers handle food/beverage/bar, linens, and any specialty rentals needed for your event.
The National Aquarium holds a liquor license—all alcohol for private events must be supplied and served by one of our exclusive caterers.
Exceptions can be made for Kosher or Halal food items (additional fee applies).
Can I bring my own cake to an event at the National Aquarium?
Our caterers are happy to get a cake for you; however, you are able to bring your own as long as it’s from a licensed commercial baker (proof required). Our team will arrange the drop-off times directly with the bakery prior to the event. Unfortunately, due to limited storage, cakes cannot be dropped off early.
When can I tell my vendors to arrive for setup and breakdown for an event at the National Aquarium?
Because the Aquarium and catering staff have a very short two-hour time period to turn the building from day to evening, our staff will arrange all vendor deliveries, setup and pickup directly.
We will need the names/contact information to coordinate load-in, as we have no on premise parking available.
Breakdown at the end of the evening is allotted one hour after the conclusion of the event.
Additional set up time is not guaranteed, and additional fees may apply.
Can the National Aquarium accommodate early drop-offs or deliveries the day of my event?
Because the Aquarium is a working museum, open to the public, we are not able to accept early vendor deliveries and have limited storage space for event décor.
Is there parking available for my guests at a National Aquarium private rental?
Although the Aquarium does not operate its own parking facility, we have two official parking partners nearby. Tickets pulled from both Lockwood Place & the Inner Harbor Garage, can be validated for a discount to Aquarium guests. Aquarium members receive an even bigger discount.
Please note that there is an early-bird parking discount for those who park in either of these garages before 9 am, Monday through Friday. If you arrive before this time, we recommend you do not validate your parking ticket at the Aquarium, as that will override the early-bird parking cost.
Are there any restrictions for decorations for a scheduled private event at the National Aquarium?
The Aquarium’s mission is to inspire the conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Because of this, we cannot allow any live animals or balloons as decorations for private events.
Does the National Aquarium host daytime birthday parties?
Unfortunately, there are no official birthday party packages available at this time. We welcome space rentals for all occasions—The National Aquarium has limited daytime space for private rentals on Monday-Friday only – please fill out our request form to contact our events team and check availability.
For a unique experience, the National Aquarium hosts Immersion Tours that can be booked through our central reservations department. Please note, there are age limits on these tours.
Visit our group sales page to learn about making reservations for groups of 15 or more at a discounted ticket rate and to arrange a box lunch/cake.
Can I have music during my private event at the National Aquarium?
There are no limitations on types of music in the Blue Wonders building. In Pier 4 Pavilion, the limitations concern the sensitivity of the dolphins to certain types and decibel levels of music. No steel drums are allowed in the dolphin building, and no amplified music is permitted in the underwater viewing area of Pier 4.
Can I have candles at the National Aquarium private rental?
Yes. Candles are permitted as long as they are surrounded by glass (e.g., votive, hurricanes, etc.).
Do you have any special add-ons or extras available for my private event at the National Aquarium?
Added value programming (including dolphin presentations, small group VIP Tours, etc) is available and contingent upon your space rental agreement. Additional fees will apply. The National Aquarium also works with 2 amazing partners that can add that extra something-special to your event:
- Sharp Shooters Imaging – providing green screen photos, photo booths, and photographers for your event
- Event Network – Our Aquarium store can remain open for your event and/or your event favors can be purchased directly from our in-house store
Do you provide any special rates for active members of the Aquarium?
Select corporate membership levels receive discounted private rental rates. Please consult our membership department to see if you qualify.