The $12.5 million Blacktip Reef Exhibit at Maryland’s National Aquarium is scheduled to open July 10, 2013, according to Baltimore Sun news report. The Indo-Pacific exhibit, once completed, will house 260,000 gallons of saltwater and will feature a variety of fish, a school of blacktip reef sharks and more than 60 species of fish, including whiprays and wobbegong sharks. The exhibit will also feature Calypso, a green sea turtle that comes from the aquarium’s Wings in the Water exhibit, and 15 other marine species.
According to the report, the exhibit is an effort to revitalize the aquarium, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, attracting more than 1.4 million visitors each year. Attendees will be able to view the Blacktip Reef exhibit through a 27 foot viewing window as well as from platforms above the aquarium for a top down view. Blacktip Reef is under construction in an area of the aquarium that hasn’t been updated since 1981, the year the aquarium opened.
A list of featured animals at the exhibit:
- Blotched fantail ray (Taeniurops)
- Blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)
- Bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus)
- Bluestripe seaperch (Lutjanus kasmira)
- Clown triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum)
- Emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)
- Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
- Reticulate whipray (Himantura uarnak)
- Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)
- Ornate wobbegong (Orectolobus ornatus)
- Tasselled wobbegong (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon)
- Potato cod (Epinephelus tukula)
- Semicircle angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)
- Spotted unicornfish (Naso brevirostris)
- Zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)
In addition to viewing the animals on Blacktip Reef, guests will also be able to watch interactive diver presentations, watch shark feedings, share thoughts on an interactive wall, access the aquarium’s bubble tubes, and use touchscreens to get more information about the animals on the reef.
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“As our name implies, creating exhibits and programs that are indeed national — in scope, importance and impact — is a significant part of our work. ‘Blacktip Reef’ is an excellent example of this,” aquarium CEO John Racanelli said in a press release put out by the aquarium. “This is the first in an ambitious series of innovations here at the National Aquarium, all of which underscore our commitment to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.”