Australia is a unique land known for its history and cultural diversity. In 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip arrived at Sydney Cove, the Union Jack Flag was hoisted as the British began their occupation of the eastern portion of Australia, first claimed by Captain James Cook in 1770.
British immigrants, often convicts, prospered in Sydney. They began a tradition of “an emancipist festival” to celebrate their love of the land. Over the years this celebration has evolved to become Australia Day, which now recognizes the history and contributions of the Aboriginal People of Australia.
On Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the National Aquarium in Baltimore celebrates Australia Day. This program is suitable for families and individuals of all ages, and will be held at the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit.
This program is free with regular paid tickets and completely free for members. Reservations are not required to attend the program.
According to the National Aquarium you can experience, “…animal encounters each hour in the exhibit. Watch feedings of numerous animals, including the crocodiles! Channel your inner aborigine by painting on the rocks in the exhibit. Other activities include didgeridoo performances, face paintings, crafts, and more!”
Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes
Depicting a river gorge in the Northern Territory, Animal Planet Australia showcases some of the world’s most diverse wildlife. Due to its geological isolation, the animals found here are uniquely Australian.
On entering Animal Planet Australia you will be greeted by the Grey-headed Flying Fox, or fruit bat. Hanging up-side-down from the rafters, it is difficult to appreciate that these impressive creatures have a wingspan of up to 3 feet. Interestingly, it has one of the worst landing techniques-- flying until it hits something!
Over 800 species of birds are native to Australia. Australia’s national symbol is the Laughing Kookaburra, a crow-sized kingfisher. Although sometimes difficult to spot in the exhibit, you might instead hear this beautiful bird. The Kookaburra has a distinctive call that sounds uncannily similar to human laughter.
Another unique animal is the Archerfish. This fish has a unique method of catching prey. The Archerfish is able to spit a bead of water into the air to strike and incapacitate its prey. Remarkably, they have almost perfect aim and can bring down insects or small animals from a distance of six feet.
Australia is also home to hundreds of species of turtles—a few of which are on display in Animal Planet Australia. The Snake-necked Turtle, an indigenous Australian reptile, has very long neck used to help catch prey.
What You Need to Know
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is located on 501 East Pratt Street at the Baltimore Inner Harbor (click here for directions and parking). It is currently open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Current admission is $29.95 for adults (12-59), $26.95 for seniors (60+), and $20.95 children (3-11). Children 3 and under are admitted free. You can purchase tickets online by clicking here.
Aquarium members are always admitted free. To become a member click here for membership information.
Come and celebrate Australia Day on January 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Meet the many unique Aussie animals, including the Frilled Lizard and Rainbow Lorikeet. Their beauty and unique adaptive features will amaze you.
National Aquarium in Baltimore
501 E. Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202