Aquarium does its part to attract local visitors

September 30, 1997|By DAVID M. PITTENGER

THANKFULLY, many Inner Harbor attractions enjoyed a successful summer this year, as stated in the Sept. 18 editorial, ''Extending the tourist season.'' The National Aquarium in Baltimore, among them, reeled in over 226,000 visitors this August -- our best ever.

What is inaccurate in the editorial, however, is the assertion that Baltimore institutions are making little effort to woo local visitors, especially during off-peak periods. The aquarium and other attractions work very hard to provide affordable access for residents year-round.

For example, the aquarium's Friday After Five program (through March 13) offers area visitors $5 admission every Friday evening. Dollar Days in December (the 13th and 14th this year) are the aquarium's holiday gifts to the city. Finally on this note, a Spring Back Passport offers a packaged discount to downtown attractions during March and April. These are just three of the many ways for locals to ''see more fish for less clams.''

Further, the aquarium's community commitment extends beyond the discounts that we offer to residents. Education outreach to schools, volunteer opportunities, internships and programs for physically and mentally challenged individuals ensure year-round access for every local citizen.

Clearly, the aquarium's recent National Award for Museum Service (referred to in the Sept. 22 editorial of The Sun) exemplifies our institution's diligence in serving local citizens -- whose support has made our aquarium one of the world's leading.

David M. Pittenger

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 9/30/97

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