By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s skyline will look a little different in the coming months. The National Aquarium is set to replace the hundreds of glass panes that encase its tropical rain forest exhibit with new, more energy-efficient glass, the aquarium announced Tuesday.

The project is slated to begin March 3 and is expected to end this fall. As the aquarium’s iconic pyramid undergoes improvements, the Upland Tropical Rain Forest will be closed to visitors.

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The new glass will help prevent the exhibit from getting too warm and have permanent acid-etching to protect migrating birds from striking the glass. The tempered glass also will eliminate “hot spots” that damage tropical plants within the exhibit and create an ambient nighttime glow from the outside, the aquarium said.

The rebuild won’t just be functional, it will be pretty too. The Inner Harbor staple is adding color-changing LED lights along the border of the pyramid that will either glow blue, Ravens purple or Orioles orange.

“The Upland Tropical Rain Forest is not only a guest favorite, it literally defines Baltimore’s skyline. These improvements will ensure the integrity of our building while accelerating our multi-year initiative to be Maryland’s most bird-friendly glass structure,” said John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium.

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The animals from the exhibit, which include a two-toed sloth, golden lion tamarin monkeys and tropical birds, will be taken care of at one of the aquarium’s various care centers.

The $8 million project includes a $7 million investment from the state of Maryland, as well as grants from the city of Baltimore, Baltimore County and the Abell Foundation, the aquarium said.

“Our administration has been proud to commit $7 million to the replacement of the National Aquarium’s iconic glass pyramid,” said Governor Hogan. “The Rain Forest exhibit is unlike any other and this investment ensures generations of Marylanders will continue to be inspired by this immersive space.”

 

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CBS Baltimore Staff