WHERE’S MAANASA? The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland

Hey PawSquad! Today we have a really exciting adventure for you, we’re going to the National Aquarium in Baltimore! I’m bringing along Pawtector Savara, because they are a marine sciences student and currently work at an aquarium!



Before we even entered the building, we spotted some moon jellies in the harbor, as well as a school of fish! It’s amazing to see aquatic animals in their natural habitat.

Here are some things to know about the aquarium:

  • The National Aquarium is a non-profit focused primarily on conservation and education for aquatic life!
  • There are 4+ hours of things to explore here!
  • There are 13 different exhibits including shark alley and dolphin discovery!




To start our exploration, let’s enter the Black Tip Reef Shark area!   Black Tip Reef Sharks get their name because the tips of their fins look like they were dipped in black paint. This open tank is a fantastic example of what a healthy reef ecosystem looks like, with a variety of different colorful organisms from big to small!



In the reef tank there is also one Zebra Shark! Most sharks need to be in constant motion so that water is passing through their gills and they can breathe, but Zebra Sharks have figured out how to do this on their own, so that they can take naps on the ground!




Here’s a fun fact: for the longest time, scientists didn’t actually know where eels came from, it was a mystery! Now we know they go to the Sargasso Sea each year to reproduce, but we’re still not sure why.



Onto the next animal! Seahorses are super cool – even though the word “horse” is in the name, they are still fish! Seahorses just happen to have curly tails that help them cling onto grasses to keep them from getting swept away! What’s interesting about seahorses is that the mom seahorses aren’t the ones that give birth. Instead, the dads have a pouch, almost like a kangaroo, where the babies are kept until they are born!



Did you know that the aquarium is home to the second loudest bird in the world? They’re called Screaming Pihas and are found in the Amazon. Screaming Piha calls can get up to 116dB! Do you have a guess as to how loud that is? Well, imagine something between a car horn and a jet plane taking off!



Welcome to the touch pools! Some animals are ok with human interaction, and if you visit the aquarium yourself, you are free to give them gentle pets! The rule is to always use two fingers so as to not hurt them. These animals are much smaller than us, so we have to respect them by remembering that they prefer light touch!





Today we’re looking at a horseshoe crab and some moon jellies. Speaking of jellies, the aquarium has SO many! Jellyfish have stinging cells on their tentacles, but the tops of their bodies are harmless! Animals like turtles keep themselves safe with hard shells, but since jellyfish are soft, they use their stinging tentacles as protection. Stinging cells are the fastest cells in the world, moving at 5 million times the speed of gravity. What does that mean? If you have a pencil or toy with you right now, drop it from a couple feet in the air! Did you see how fast it fell? Now imagine that times 5 million!





Next to the jellies are the dolphins. In past years scientists have suggested that dolphins and whales shouldn’t be kept indoors in tanks, so the aquarium is working to move their dolphins to an outdoor sanctuary! Being a Pawtector is all about showing compassion towards animals, and that means respecting the space they need!




The last thing we’re going to stop by is the Archerfish tank. Most underwater animals get their food from underwater, but Archerfish are a little bit different! They have the unique ability to shoot water from their mouths 6-8 feet in the air. That’s taller than most people! They use this skill to shoot bugs from leaves and branches into the water so they can eat them. So cool!




There is just so much to explore here, and I hope you enjoyed learning with me today. Be sure to tell a friend or adult one cool new piece of information you now know! If you’re considering bringing fish as a pet into your life, don’t forget to do the research for the care they need, all animals deserve compassion and happy lives!




The National Aquarium has amazing year-round programs & events. For more information and to schedule your own visit to learn more about amazing aquatic animals, visit: https://aqua.org

Your PawSquad Summer friend,







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  • Maanasa S – photos

If you haven’t signed up for PawSquad Summer, here’s the link for more information & to sign up on our online learning platform: linkin.bio/pawtectorsprogram
PawSquad Summer “virtual” weekly camps run July thru August. Once a camp week goes LIVE, you will have access to it ALL summer. Super cool! You’ll never miss a day of animal fun & experiences.