We checked out of our hotel early on Sunday and headed back to Baltimore's Inner Harbor for our visit to the National Aquarium. I bought admission tickets online before we left to head down to Baltimore. The Aquarium uses timed admission to help control crowds, so when you buy an admission it's for entry at a specific time. I purchased tickets for entry at 9 AM (the earliest), and for the 11:30 AM dolphin show.
When you enter the Aquarium, there is a huge waterfall with a trout stream tank. Here I am with the first of many, many fish we got to see.
Photography in the aquarium is a bit tricky due to the dim lighting and issues of reflections off of glass tanks. Still, I was pleased with some of the photos I took. I probably deleted five for every one I kept. I wasn't able to identify all the species that I photographed, but I noted the ones that I was able to ID.
We followed the suggested route through the exhibits. There is a large open area where visitors can look down on sharks and rays like this southern stingray (Dasyatis americana).
Later, we found this its freshwater cousin, the bigtooth river stingray (Potamotrygon henlei) in one of the tanks of Amazon river fish.
Some other freshwater creatures included this turtle.
And this large fish.
And, of course, the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus). This guy stays in a tank by himself. He's got about 500 volts ready for anyone who bothers him.
Next up, also from one of the tropical freshwater tanks, is my favorite photo that I took on this visit. This is a dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus). He definitely looks like he's regarding me as a prey item (although he's actually not all that big; probably about two feet long).
There are extensive saltwater tanks as well, showing a variety of marine ecosystems. This fish was in the large Atlantic coral reef tank.
And, of course, we found Nemo! The proper name is the clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris).
In the upper portion of the Aquarium is a huge tropical rain forest exhibit that features monkeys, a sloth, and some gorgeous tropical birds.
Here is a blue-crowned motmot (Momotus momota)
And a scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
And a Yellow-headed Amazon parrot (Amazona oratrix).
Here are some views of the rainforest scenery.
Here's a view out the window, looking down on the Chesapeake Lightship.
Beyond the main rainforest pavilion are smaller tanks with rainforest animals, including many different brightly colored poison-dart frogs.
And this lizard.
And another brightly-colored reptile, this emerald tree boa (Corallus caninus).
We chatted with a number of Aquarium guides, and got some great information about the animals and the exhibits. They also passed along some good advice, which was to go see the temporary exhibit "Jelly Invasion" before seeing the Dolphin Show, because after the show it would be mobbed with people who pass it on their way out of the arena.
The jellyfish were truly amazing.
Here's a moon jelly.
Another photo I was especially pleased with:
These are upside-down jellies.
From there, we shared a bottle of juice in the snack bar and then got in line for the dolphin show.
Here is the arena before the start of the show. The audience can watch the dolphins swimming in the tanks and enjoy the view of the harbor while they wait for the action to get started.
The trainers and dolphins put on a fun, fast-paced show.
The dolphins came out of the water to give the audience a look.
And, of course, there were some very impressive acrobatic displays.
The highlight of the show was a routine with one of the trainers getting into the water and swimming with the dolphins.
She was obviously really enjoying her job, especially when she got the dolphin to splash the audience (if you go to this show, be aware that when the seat says "splash zone", they are not kidding!).
After the show, we browsed for souvenirs at the gift shop and then saw one last set of exhibits: A pavilion dedicated to the animials of Australia.
One of my favorites from that exhibit was this Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides). This bird looks like a treestump, and spends its time standing almost completely motionless.
We left the aquarium around 1 PM, got lunch at a nearby sandwich shop, and then hit the road back home to Massachusetts. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to Baltimore at some point to see some of the other Inner Harbor attractions that we didn't have time for on this trip.