The National Aquarium in Baltimore wants visitors to more than just observe. They want them to encounter.

Beginning last Friday, regular admission now includes unlimited access to Dolphin Discovery. And 40 other animal interactions happening around the Aquarium each day. That’s amazing access to 16,000 animals representing more than 660 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

Pretty sweet, huh?

In a move to become more hands-on and patron friendly, you’ll see Aquarium staff interacting more with the public. Whether it be animal feedings, trainings, enrichment or play activities, visitors are going to have a chance to get in on the action. You can even try out binoculars.

The Bug and I had a chance to catch up with Aquarium staff and Charm City’s eight Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins at a media preview event last Friday. Despite being the youngest attendee there, the Bug asked the toughest question:

“Do Dolphins like music?”

Unfortunately, the trainers weren’t too sure; however, the Bug insisted they would probably like Hakuna Matata if the staff would play it for them. They promised to give it a try. {Side note: we’ll follow-up with the Aquarium to see what the dolphins thought…}

In the meantime, you should swing by and say ‘hi.’ I’d say this was definitely “Bug-approved.”

(cool) tip: General admission prices to the Aquarium increased in order to cover TRIPLE the number of animal interactions available each day (only fair, and still a better deal then the previous general admission + dolphin show price!). Admission is now $29.95 for adults, $20.95 for children. Children under 3 are still free. A family membership to the Aquarium is just $159. Pays for itself in just 1.5 visits for a family of four. And we bet you’ll be back more than once. (Just saying…)