Renovated National Aquarium offers an inexpensive option

Gas prices aren’t the only expense of a vacation that pinch the finances. Admission fees can be a real downer. If one is traveling with young children, huge, expensive museums can be overwhelming.

These are two reasons why the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C. sounds appealing to me.

At $5 for adults, and $2.50 for children, the admission is not even close to the $18.75 amount for adults to the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky. The Newport Aquarium, the last one I visited, is quite impressive, but sometimes I’d rather opt for a simpler venue for less money.

Last year, when we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, much of our time was spent finding a bathroom and each other. Due to time constraints, we hurried through sections where I wanted to linger. When mixing children with large museums, it’s often necessary to leave out entire exhibits in order to not have a kid meltdown halfway through.

With a smaller museum, like the National Aquarium that claims you can see the whole thing in 45 minutes, you don’t have to pick and chose among options. At the end of an hour you can end up at the gift shop satisfied and have time and energy left to take in something else close by. I’d head to the outdoor sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art for starters.

Along with the aquarium’s renovations that include new signage, carpeting and exhibits is a new theme–“America’s Aquatic Treasures.” Look for alligators, eels, sea horses, a baby loggerhead turtle and more. [see Washington Post article]

If you can make here on August 9, it’s Shark Day. There are several activities geared towards kids and talks adults would enjoy.