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'First Saturday' to give National Aquarium attendees with disabilities a crowd-free head start

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 18:42:50-04

BALTIMORE — There's something to see everywhere you look at the National Aquarium, from the circling sharks in the Black Reef exhibit to the sensory touch attraction.

WMAR-2 News visited a packed National Aquarium Thursday afternoon.

"It's really important for me and to the National Aquarium to make sure that the guests that come here have the best experience possible,” National Aquarium Guest Services Manager William Green said.

Greene said the crowds we saw don't even come close to what you'll see come summer.

However, the aquarium has a plan in place to alleviate some of that congestion.

"For guests that have accessibility concerns, we want to make sure that they get a head start,” Green said.

To help all their guests enjoy their experience, the Aquarium has a program called “First Saturdays.”

All visitors with disabilities and their guests can enter 30 minutes before the National Aquarium opens, for a crowd-free visit, on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month.

"It provides them an opportunity to come to the aquarium and experience it in a peaceful format, so they're not really going to have to bump elbows with all the guest we'll have when we start to get busy,” Green said.

"I think it's a fantastic idea,” said Christina Williams, who comes to Baltimore every year.

Her son Constantin undergoes treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Williams was thrilled to learn about First Saturdays.

"So, it would be much more easy to maneuver and to see the exhibits if you did not have as much of a crowd,” she said. “So, I think coming in early would make it a lot easier for anyone that has a wheelchair.”

The National Aquarium is making room, the kids are learning, and while they're doing it, the goal is to make it fun for everyone.

"The value is just providing an environment where everyone, regardless of where you are coming from, have same or comparable experience,” Green said. “Inclusion is for everybody, right?”