(Baltimore) – As part of its continued effort to provide engaging conservation education experiences to the community, the National Aquarium welcomed more than 160,000 guests at free or reduced admission through community and education access programs in 2016.
The organization offers six unique opportunities for locals to visit one of the nation’s top aquariums at little to no cost: Read to Reef book club, in partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library; Half-Price Friday Nights, presented by M&T Bank; Pay What You Want Day, made possible with the generous support of T. Rowe Price; Dollar Days; Maryland Mornings; and Community Connections.
Additionally, the National Aquarium welcomes local students for free through field trips partially funded by the Maryland State Department of Education and through the organization’s annual Grade A Student Night celebration.
“Our community and education access programs are vital to our mission. They serve to connect fellow Marylanders to the aquatic world while inspiring them to conserve it,” said John Racanelli, National Aquarium CEO. “We’re pleased to report that more than 160,000 local residents were able to visit the Aquarium in 2016 through these initiatives, and we look forward to welcoming even more in the year ahead.”
The National Aquarium expanded its community programs for locals last year with the launch of the Read to Reef book club—a joint venture between the Aquarium and Enoch Pratt Free Library that offers free admission to the Aquarium for participating children, up to fifth grade, and their families. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 Baltimore area residents visited the Aquarium through the program.
The Aquarium’s other community programs celebrated high participation in 2016:
- Half-Price Friday Nights, presented by M&T Bank, brought close to 60,000 visitors to the Aquarium for half-off admission on Friday evenings after 5 p.m. throughout the year.
- The Aquarium’s third Pay What You Want Day, made possible with the generous support of T. Rowe Price, allowed approximately 7,900 guests to donate an amount of their choice for admission during the November event.
- Maryland Mornings welcomed more than 9,000 Maryland residents, with $10 off adult tickets and $5 off senior/children tickets before noon Sunday to Friday from September through February.
- Held in conjunction with Downtown Partnership and other local cultural organizations, the Aquarium hosted close to 13,000 visitors during Baltimore’s two Dollar Days this past December.
The National Aquarium also introduced Community Connections, a program that provides complimentary tickets or group visits to qualifying nonprofits, underwritten by the Aquarium’s corporate members. During a soft launch in 2016, more than 1,100 guests received tickets thanks to the generosity of our corporate family.
In 2016, the Aquarium welcomed more than 60,000 Maryland students from some 800 local schools in almost every jurisdiction in Maryland free of charge, thanks in part to Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) State Aided Educational Institutions (SAI) funding.
Additionally, the organization hosted its Grade A Student Night celebration for local children and their families, recognizing students who achieved three or more A’s (or equivalent) in any marking period in the school year.
For more information on the National Aquarium’s community and education access programs, go to aqua.org.