The National Aquarium, the nation's first public aquarium, will close its Washington, D.C., location Sept. 30 due to renovation and construction on the Herbert C. Hoover Department of Commerce building, its home for the past 81 years.
Founded in 1878, the aquarium aims to continue operating in the area, and it will be conducting a feasibility study to that end. Meantime, the aquarium's 2,500 residents -- including poison dart frogs, electric eels and alligators -- will be moved to other aquariums and accredited institutions, including the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Funding reportedly was not a concern for the D.C. venue; it was the “necessary” renovations on the Herbert C. Hoover Building, which also houses the Department of Commerce and the White House Visitor Center, that forced the closing, originally announced in May.
Tha aquarium's board chair, Tamika Langley Tremaglio, said in a statement, “Here at the National Aquarium, we value our D.C. venue’s rich history as the nation’s first public aquarium, and we are committed to maintaining a presence in the capital, where a public aquarium has existed since the late 1800s.”
Studio Gang Architects and Impacts Research & Development will lead the feasibility study, named "BLUEprint." According to the National Aquarium, the study will include research, engagement, design and analysis "to determine the... best use of resources in the nation’s capital, identifying key partners, defining the optimal facilities and program and delineating the range of costs.”
The National Aquarium will have until March 2014 to relocate all the animals. The closing of the Washington, D.C., location will not affect operations of the Baltimore location.