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What's New: National Aquarium Launches BLUEprint

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The National Aquarium at Baltimore is a favorite place for my family, as it is for many families of kids, tweens, and teens in Baltimore. We like exploring all the wondrous undersea creatures at the National Aquarium. My children laugh at the antics of the dolphins at the dolphin show. My son loves stepping in to Animal Planet Australia and experiencing the sights and sounds of the Australian Outback.

The National Aquarium has a new initiative: BLUEprint. With this new project , the National Aquarium has partnered with professionals, led by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang and her world-renowned design and architecture studio, Studio Gang Architects. The National Aquarium's BLUEprint plan has four pillars strategy. The four strategies include, the future of aquariums, reimagining the National Aquarium experience, designing a new role in the Nation's capital, and the future of dolphins:

1. The Future of Aquariums Worldwide -- The National Aquarium has experienced a significant evolution in the audience it serve:s. This audience is younger, more concerned about the health of our planet, and less accepting of the things staying the same. In the next 33 years, this audience recognizes the urgent need to protect the health of oceans and aquatic habitats worldwide, and the National Aquarium believes it has an obligation to help them learn how they can be a part of the solution. Over time, the aquarium has transformed itself from an attraction with a conservation program to a nationally recognized conservation organization that operates a world-class aquarium to carry out its mission.

2. Reimagining the National Aquarium Experience -- The central work of BLUEprint: is to weave all the disparate,separate parts of the National Aquarium -- Australia: Wild Extremes, the dolphin amphitheater, and the original exhibits on Pier 3 -- to tell a powerful, unified story of aquatic conservation. Some of the ideas being considered are:

  • A "perched wetland" in the slip between the piers to depict the Chesapeake Bay watershed's quintessential habitats.
  • A new gallery of exhibits focused on the nation's 13 marine sanctuaries, which range from Massachusetts to American Samoa in the Mid-Pacific.
  • A more cohesive visitor pathway.
  • Public access to back-of-house zones traditionally off-exhibit, such as animal care center, marine animal rescue facilities, veterinary lab, and food preparation space.
  • A fresh approach that could make the bridge between the piers an exhibit experience unto itself. The National Aquarium plans to implement those changes over the next 10 years.

3. Designing a New Role in the Nation's Capital -- The National Aquarium in the Department of Commerce Building in Washington, D.C., operated from 2003 until last fall, when it was closed. The National Aquarium will continue to find a way to continue the National Aquarium's presence in the capital. So far, two compelling ideas have emerged...first, the "ocean embassy" idea of a program spearheaded by the National Aquarium to bring together ocean advocates, aquarium leaders, and policymakers to perform for the ocean what embassies do for nations: debate issues, promote mutual welfare, negotiate disputes, and represent the interests of their constituents and second, they are exploring potential collaborations with the Smithsonian Institution.

4. The Future of Dolphins at the National Aquarium -- The highest priority issue for the National Aquarium is the health and well-being of the animals in our care. To that end, with a heightened understanding of the emerging science and an intimate knowledge of the eight dolphins in our care, they are studying and evaluating all possible options for providing them with the best possible living environment in the years ahead. In fact, this evolution began two years ago with the introduction of Dolphin Discovery, a new interpretive approach to exhibiting our dolphin colony. There are no longer scheduled shows, and guests can come and go from the amphitheater as they please. Now, guests are invited to engage in one-on-one conversations with the biologists who care for the animals, and interaction sessions focus on natural behaviors as an analog for the dolphins' lives in the wild. The next step is to evaluate the most beneficial options for the aging animals.

For more information, visit the National Aquarium.

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