Maryland leaders marked the National Aquarium’s 40th anniversary Tuesday, crediting the institution with bringing millions worth of economic activity every year to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
At an outdoor event celebrating its four decades of operation, Gov. Larry Hogan said the National Aquarium generates $455 million annually and supports 4,500 jobs throughout the state — including 350 at the aquarium.
It draws more than 1.2 million visitors to the Inner Harbor in a typical year, he added, noting the aquarium blew its initial projection of 650,000 guests out of the water when it first opened.
“Since 1981, the National Aquarium has been not only an amazing tourist destination and educational resource, but also a major economic anchor for Baltimore City,” Hogan said.
“Our administration has been proud to strongly support the aquarium’s continued success over the years, and I want to congratulate everyone who has played a role in reaching this important milestone.”
The aquarium turns 40 on Sunday, and will kick off its forties with a restoration of the 684-pane glass pyramid above the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit — made possible by a $7 million allotment from Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly.
The Baltimore-based aquarium and its exhibits represent a small part of the non-profit’s broader work: Its mission statement extends to wildlife conservation, cutting down on pollution and combating climate change.