BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. Now, the National Aquarium is seeing more visitors than ever.

After opening six months ago, Blacktip Reef at the National Aquarium is thriving.

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Jessica Kartalija reports.

It was an incredible feat–almost 800 animals, 70 different species–being introduced into a new exhibit replicating the Indo-Pacific Reef.

The permanent exhibit is now a huge success.

“This is the first of a whole series of exhibits that are designed to both entertain people, but also inspire them to want to take conservation action,” said Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

More than 380,000 people have visited the exhibit since its grand opening last summer.

One of the things that makes Blacktip Reef so exciting is the way visitors can see the animals from all different vantage points.

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“I walked in and I was in complete awe. It was awesome,” one visitor said.

“It’s really unique. A lot of different fish I haven’t seen before,” said another.

The aquarium is gaining national recognition as being one of the best in the country.

“One of the things that we’ve seen since Blacktip Reef opened is that there is a significant number of people who see the aquarium as one of the top two aquariums in the country, and the conservation message is really getting through, too,” Racanelli said. “So that’s really satisfying.”

If you can’t make it down to see Blacktip Reef, log on to see Shark Cam, which you can access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The exhibit cost more than $12 million to create.

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