National Aquarium’s Blacktip Reef Exhibit Is A Colorful Replication Of Underwater Beauty

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Jessica Kartalija 3 Jessica Kartalija
Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An exciting day at the Inner Harbor. The world’s largest reproduction of a Pacific coral reef is now on display at the National Aquarium.

Jessica Kartalija has more on what makes this exhibit special.

There are 700 different animals at Blacktip Reef at the National Aquarium, 65 different species, 20 different sharks and one day of total excitement.

The mayor and aquarium CEO float into shark-infested waters for the official ribbon cutting.

“It warms my heart. I’m excited to be here,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.

“Blacktip Reef is really one of the first major enhancements to the aquarium in a number of years. And it just felt right to do it on our birthday, our 32nd anniversary,” said John Racanelli, CEO, National Aquarium in Baltimore.

The grand opening was Thursday. Blacktip Reef is a breathtaking exhibit full of color, light and movement–right in the heart of the National Aquarium.

“Seeing it looking so beautiful is a nice addition,” a visitor said.

The new exhibit is home to a 518-pound sea turtle, sharks, stingrays and hundreds of brightly colored fish from Australian and Indonesian waters.

Photo Gallery: Grand Opening Of Blacktip Reef At National Aquarium

“Kind of exciting for us to see all of this,” a woman said.

The 260,000 gallon indoor saltwater tank is a coral filled exhibit–an exact replica of the Indo-Pacific Reefs. The staff spent 18 months constructing resin replicas of nearly 50 different species of coral, then painting them the same hue you might find in the great deep.

The 20 Blacktip sharks in Blacktip Reef will grow as large as five to six feet.

The aquarium has a separate Atlantic Reef exhibition that’s been going strong for more than a decade.

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