As if we didn't already know, Coastal Living magazine just released its last of America's "Top 10 Aquariums" (because "Aquaria" is too high-falutin', I guess) and the National Aquarium in Baltimore came in at number one. Here's the write-up:
1. National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland
Whale songs, fishy undersea murmurings, and atmospheric music bubble through hidden speakers. The sounds drift through pleasantly dim corridors that build anticipation by hiding what's just around the next curve. Could it be a giant multispecies tank? An intimate look at something surprising? At one of the small exhibits, a volunteer guide admits, "Sometimes you become attached to an animal here, and this is the one I'm attached to." She's referring to a giant Pacific octopus―a spectacularly ugly creature that instantly changes color and skin pattern, deftly unscrews jar lids, uses a piece of plastic pipe as a toy, and likes to be tickled. A human visitor looks the cephalopod in the eye and feels an unexpected tug of kinship; 410/576-3800 oraqua.org.
Readers with particularly good memories may recall that I may have had a quibble or two with the Aquarium in the past. Well, I'm ready to give up the fight. I've lost. I probably shouldn't even be allowed to east salmon anymore. Godspeed, Aquarium!
[photo courtesy of Coastal Living]