More than 14 million visitors from all over the world have flowed through the watery canyons of the National Aquarium since that exceptional facility opened to the public 10 years ago today, offering a unique blend of entertainment, education and research opportunities.
In that decade the aquarium's success has surpassed all expectations, so that it now qualifies as a major Baltimore industry which generates $128 million a year in economic activity, with 2,000 employed directly or indirectly in related activities.
As the aquarium observes its 10th birthday today, it has almost become a victim of its own success, attracting so many visitors that it is a growing challenge to shuttle the eager tourists through the expanding facility. Indeed, the most persistent complaint one hears about the aquarium is about the long wait necessary to get tickets, but usually the complaint is followed by the comment, "but it was worth the wait." The task ahead will be to improve the visitor flow to accommodate the ever-increasing number of pilgrims without diminishing the richness of the experience.