BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The National Aquarium has a new facility to care for their animals.

They’re also the first aquarium to give the public a behind-the-scenes look at their operations.

The new animal care and rescue center is located in historic Jonestown, less than a mile away from the National Aquarium.

This new 57,000-square foot facility more than doubles the National Aquarium’s capacity to help with their rescue operations.

“This is our animal holding area where animals can rest up if they have been on exhibit and they are growing out of their exhibit,” said National Aquarium President and CEO John Racanelli.

After 25 years, they now have a permanent space to provide critical care.

Allowing them to house nearly 1,500 animals at a time.

“This beautiful and flexible space for animal care operations, exhibit fabrications, many of our conservation team members are housed here, is what will make this facility truly unique out of all the aquariums in the country,” Racanelli added.

The center will also welcome students for a hands-on learning experience, as well as the public for special guided tours to see the extensive work that happens behind the scenes to care for off-exhibit and rescued animals.

“It is not only going to become an institution we invite our tourists to come see, but it is also an institution that has grown in terms of how it cares for its animals, and for that, we are grateful,” Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said.

The operations at the site are essential to the aquarium, along with marine research and preservation.

The facility will be open for public tours starting this summer.

Click here for ticket information to the new care center and the National Aquarium.

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