This weekend, my family was invited by Family Magazine to attend a special media tour at the National Aquarium in Washington DC. Did you know there's an aquarium in DC? Exactly. It's been in the basement of the Commerce Building since 1932, and they've recently undergone an extensive renovation and are getting the word out about their animals and main exhibit, America's Aquatic Treasures. They've also recently merged with the National Aquarium in Baltimore, which means there will be membership deals coming in the summer season.
Baby alligators from The Everglades (it's hard to take photos in a dark aquarium!)
We were treated to a tour by the Aquarium's director, and we really enjoyed the focus on marine sanctuaries around the country. Some were places we knew–the Florida Everglades, the Keys, the Great Lakes–while others, like Gray's Reef in Georgia, were new to us. It was so interesting that these were places you could visit or that visitors to the Aquarium might be from those areas. My favorite exhibit was the baby alligators, and we could have watched them a lot longer, but the kids were looking for fish they knew. They found one in the area showcasing the tropical waters of American Samoa:
The National Aquarium was filled with messages about conservation, which resonated with my son who is learning about environmentalism at school. He really enjoyed hearing from an Aquarist, who spoke to us about the baby loggerhead sea turtles, and we got to see one up close as well as watch them feed in the tank. The Aquarium has feedings every day at 2:00pm, so you can learn more about the animals.
I felt like the size and scope of the Aquarium was perfect for young children. My 4, 4 and 6-year-olds enjoyed each tank and were only running out of steam just as we came around the corner towards the exit. Since it's in the basement, it's also a great place to duck into when the weather is too hot and humid or the crowds are just too much. That's often a problem for us trying to walk little people around the monuments and museums. We were so glad to learn all that the National Aquarium had to offer and will be back to visit again!
Disclosure: Our tickets to this event were provided by Family Magazine, but my experience and opinions are my own.
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[...] be posting more Day Trips from DC each week this summer! In the meantime, see my posts on the National Aquarium in DC, National Building Museum, and the Walters Art Museum. Filed Under: Frugal Fun, Kids, [...]