National Aquarium

★★☆☆☆

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Aquarium Commerce Bldg

14th St NW Washington, D.C.

2.0 8
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My daughter (who is a senior college biology major) and I have visited a number of aquariums in the US and abroad. We had never been to the "national" aquarium, but on a recent trip to Baltimore we decided to give it a try.

Do NOT waste $22.00 to see this particularly weak effort at bringing the great outdoors and waterways to the public.

Murky tanks, hot, narrow, crowded passages OVERFLOWING with people bringing their *infants* and todddlers along (with the attendant noise and smells). I am all in favor of exposing kids to nature but infants and toddlers do quite well with a home freshwater aquarium, books, video, or even a goldfish!

It was disgusting seeing this "parents" so smug thinking they are so good at their job, while the little ones were clearly miserable and confused.

Also a good example of false advertising. This place claims to have penguins and other forms of sea life that are present only in the form of *oft-used* lit photographs.

The much-touted Australia Northern Territory exhibit is a HUGE joke. Ok, I once lived in Australia for a year, so I do have some bias. But this exhibit was PATHETIC, very few forms of wildlife visible, stupid-sounding fake thunder effects and few trees that I personally remember seeing when I was down under. What makes this particularly sickening is that in the aquarium gift shop there are MOUNDS and PILES of Australian-themed items...there are more stuffed animals, toys, t-shirts and fake boomerangs (at prices that would make any Aussie laugh) in the shop than there were on show in the exhibit!

Major let down. About five minutes into the "tour" we said, "We PAID good money to be tortured like this??"

Much better choices in our view: the Virginia Marine Science Museum at Virginia Beach, the aquarium at Monterrey, CA, and also the aquarium in Chattanooga, TN were far superior to this "national" joke.

1
★☆☆☆☆

My daughter (who is a senior college biology major) and I have visited a number of aquariums in the US and abroad. We had never been to the "national" aquarium, but on a recent trip to Baltimore we decided to give it a try.

Do NOT waste $22.00 to see this particularly weak effort at bringing the great outdoors and waterways to the public.

Murky tanks, hot, narrow, crowded passages OVERFLOWING with people bringing their *infants* and todddlers along (with the attendant noise and smells). I am all in favor of exposing kids to nature but infants and toddlers do quite well with a home freshwater aquarium, books, video, or even a goldfish!

It was disgusting seeing this "parents" so smug thinking they are so good at their job, while the little ones were clearly miserable and confused.

Also a good example of false advertising. This place claims to have penguins and other forms of sea life that are present only in the form of *oft-used* lit photographs.

The much-touted Australia Northern Territory exhibit is a HUGE joke. Ok, I once lived in Australia for a year, so I do have some bias. But this exhibit was PATHETIC, very few forms of wildlife visible, stupid-sounding fake thunder effects and few trees that I personally remember seeing when I was down under. What makes this particularly sickening is that in the aquarium gift shop there are MOUNDS and PILES of Australian-themed items...there are more stuffed animals, toys, t-shirts and fake boomerangs (at prices that would make any Aussie laugh) in the shop than there were on show in the exhibit!

Major let down. About five minutes into the "tour" we said, "We PAID good money to be tortured like this??"

Much better choices in our view: the Virginia Marine Science Museum at Virginia Beach, the aquarium at Monterrey, CA, and also the aquarium in Chattanooga, TN were far superior to this "national" joke.

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The museum is pretty small, with only a few alligators, pirannahs, and fish on display. If you get the chance to see a feeding, it's pretty cool to see the pirannahs go at the food. They're pretty aggressive creatures! The fish are really unique, and not just your usual clownfish. I think it's worth it to see once - it's only $5 per person, it's a pretty intimate setting, and you're not rushed by huge crowds to move away from a display case while you're still looking. Neat.

PROS: Not huge crowds, $5 a ticket
CONS: Small

4
★★★★☆

The museum is pretty small, with only a few alligators, pirannahs, and fish on display. If you get the chance to see a feeding, it's pretty cool to see the pirannahs go at the food. They're pretty aggressive creatures! The fish are really unique, and not just your usual clownfish. I think it's worth it to see once - it's only $5 per person, it's a pretty intimate setting, and you're not rushed by huge crowds to move away from a display case while you're still looking. Neat.

PROS: Not huge crowds, $5 a ticket
CONS: Small

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.

On the downside, this aquarium is small. Its main attractions are a couple of alligators and some large and unusual fish. If you're looking for sea horses, glow-in-the-dark jellyfish, dolphins, etc., you obviously will want to go to the Baltimore aquarium. What I loved about this was there weren't many crowds, admission was low ($5 a pop), and it was closer to me than the Baltimore aquarium. The feedings are great, too!

4
★★★★☆

On the downside, this aquarium is small. Its main attractions are a couple of alligators and some large and unusual fish. If you're looking for sea horses, glow-in-the-dark jellyfish, dolphins, etc., you obviously will want to go to the Baltimore aquarium. What I loved about this was there weren't many crowds, admission was low ($5 a pop), and it was closer to me than the Baltimore aquarium. The feedings are great, too!

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This aquarium is housed under the Commerce Dept. Building - a very obscure location for an aquarium! They have some rare fish - like a venomous lionfish. One spectacle worth noting is the feeding of hungry alligators, piranhas (those are some mean fish!!), and sharks, with some fun information about all of them. I love the colorful plants, coral, and marine species - this is a great way to spend a part of your day.

PROS: Up-close, Intimate
CONS:

5
★★★★★

This aquarium is housed under the Commerce Dept. Building - a very obscure location for an aquarium! They have some rare fish - like a venomous lionfish. One spectacle worth noting is the feeding of hungry alligators, piranhas (those are some mean fish!!), and sharks, with some fun information about all of them. I love the colorful plants, coral, and marine species - this is a great way to spend a part of your day.

PROS: Up-close, Intimate
CONS:

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Don't expect much here. You're better off taking a trip to the pet store and staring at the fish in the tanks. The aquarium is in the basement of the Commerce Building. It's a waste of your money and yoru time. Definitely go to Baltimore if you want a real aquarium experience.

1
★☆☆☆☆

Don't expect much here. You're better off taking a trip to the pet store and staring at the fish in the tanks. The aquarium is in the basement of the Commerce Building. It's a waste of your money and yoru time. Definitely go to Baltimore if you want a real aquarium experience.

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.

This is not a place to visit if you want to see more than just fish. They have a few turtles, a few small sharks, eels, but nothing very big or interesting.
It is very reasonable and very convient if you want to stop in and get out of the heat for a little while.
They have a SMALL gift shop also.

3
★★★☆☆

This is not a place to visit if you want to see more than just fish. They have a few turtles, a few small sharks, eels, but nothing very big or interesting.
It is very reasonable and very convient if you want to stop in and get out of the heat for a little while.
They have a SMALL gift shop also.

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During a recent visit to D.C., I was excited to visit the National Aquarium, sure that my toddler would be thrilled with the exhibits. We planned to arrive just after they opened at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. A friend who lives in the area accompanied us as she had never been to the National Aquarium - she was as surprised as we were to find it located in the basement of the Commerce Building, very near the Federal Triangle Metro station.

Admission is $5 per adult, $4 for seniors or military personnel, and $2 for children over age two. Before entering the aquarium, one must pass through a metal detector and have guards check any bags brought into the building. An elevator provides easy access to the basement.

The aquarium itself is comprised of one large room arranged in a circle, with tanks along the outer walls and on both sides of a center wall, essentially creating two long aisles with tanks on each side. Two small alligators greeted us as we entered the aquarium, giving us false hope for the grand exhibits awaiting us inside. Unfortunately, it rather went downhill from there. Lots of fish (beautiful fish, large and creepy fish, but fish) and turtles, a few snakes, but nothing else. If dolphins and whales are what you're after, this is not the aquarium for you.

An educational room on the other side of the basement houses skeletons, fossils and informative signs about some of the aquarium's exhibits; with a toddler in tow, however, we didn't take the time to explore this room thoroughly.

All in all, one visit to the National Aquarium was enough for us. Interesting to see, and only took twenty minutes or so - but for $5 (compared to the National Zoo, which is free), this isnt' a must-see exhibit.

PROS: Lots of fish; somewhat interesting.
CONS: $5 admission; surly guards; tiny aquarium; somewhat disappointing.

2
★★☆☆☆

During a recent visit to D.C., I was excited to visit the National Aquarium, sure that my toddler would be thrilled with the exhibits. We planned to arrive just after they opened at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. A friend who lives in the area accompanied us as she had never been to the National Aquarium - she was as surprised as we were to find it located in the basement of the Commerce Building, very near the Federal Triangle Metro station.

Admission is $5 per adult, $4 for seniors or military personnel, and $2 for children over age two. Before entering the aquarium, one must pass through a metal detector and have guards check any bags brought into the building. An elevator provides easy access to the basement.

The aquarium itself is comprised of one large room arranged in a circle, with tanks along the outer walls and on both sides of a center wall, essentially creating two long aisles with tanks on each side. Two small alligators greeted us as we entered the aquarium, giving us false hope for the grand exhibits awaiting us inside. Unfortunately, it rather went downhill from there. Lots of fish (beautiful fish, large and creepy fish, but fish) and turtles, a few snakes, but nothing else. If dolphins and whales are what you're after, this is not the aquarium for you.

An educational room on the other side of the basement houses skeletons, fossils and informative signs about some of the aquarium's exhibits; with a toddler in tow, however, we didn't take the time to explore this room thoroughly.

All in all, one visit to the National Aquarium was enough for us. Interesting to see, and only took twenty minutes or so - but for $5 (compared to the National Zoo, which is free), this isnt' a must-see exhibit.

PROS: Lots of fish; somewhat interesting.
CONS: $5 admission; surly guards; tiny aquarium; somewhat disappointing.

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.

This is a very small aquarium and therefore does not have a very good selection of plants and animals to view. I would recommend taking the hour long ride up to Baltimore instead, they have an AMAZING aquarium which is huge, and one of the best in the country.

2
★★☆☆☆

This is a very small aquarium and therefore does not have a very good selection of plants and animals to view. I would recommend taking the hour long ride up to Baltimore instead, they have an AMAZING aquarium which is huge, and one of the best in the country.

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