Aquarium's Aglow For The Crystal Ball


December 11, 2005|By SLOANE BROWN

GUESTS AT THE CRYSTAL BALL GOT their first thrill of the night before they even made it inside the National Aquarium's new Crystal Pavilion. The angular glass structure looked like an asymmetrical snow globe, displaying an elaborate landscape of rocks and greenery inside. (The snow would come later that night, outside.) Now -- all lit up -- the pavilion glowed a welcome.

"I just love the way it looked from the outside," said Elise Rubenstein of Reisters-town. "You knew there was something exciting going on in here."

Indeed. Performers in glittery costumes welcomed guests by showering them with Mylar confetti and offering them glass "wish pebbles" they could toss into a fountain. A crystal-encrusted acrobat swung on a trapeze. Folks nibbled on baby lamb chops, beef tenderloin and grilled sablefish.

The most dazzling sight was the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit housed in the pavilion. One group -- Sunny and Frank Adams, Suzi and David Cordish, Terry Morgenthaler and Patrick Kerins, Dick Hug, and Sara and Steve Eisner -- was captivated by several crocodiles situated only a few inches away. They were so close that they could see one croc's chipped tooth. A thick wall of glass kept reptiles and humans safely in their respective worlds.

"Phenomenal!" said Kennedy Krieger's Lainy Lebow-Sachs.

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