Rendering: National Aquarium/ Ayers Saint Gross Architects

Aquarium Wetlands Project Gets Big Funding Boost

The National Aquarium in Baltimore has a big dream: Create a network of floating wetlands in the harbor that would improve water quality while educating visitors on wetland ecology.

And that dream is getting very close to reality. A new influx of private donations means the $14 million project now has $11 million in funding secured.

Lead project sponsor CFG Bank has just given $3 million towards the floating wetlands, along with $2 million from the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, $1 million each from Exelon-owned Constellation and Mary Catherine Bunting, and $500,000 from the Bunting Family Foundation. The National Aquarium calls the donations a “tipping point” that will make the vision possible.

The wetlands will be installed between the Inner Harbor’s Piers 3 and 4, where there is already a prototype in place. It’s used as an educational tool for the aquarium’s “What Lives in the Harbor” program, giving Baltimore City sixth graders hands-on learning about the Chesapeake Bay.

“As someone who is personally devoted to supporting education, I am thrilled CFG Bank is able to help make this immersive ‘outdoor classroom’ a reality for local students. I encourage any local companies to support Baltimore as well,” said Jack Dwyer, founder of CFG Bank.

The bulk of the funds go to creating the wetlands themselves, and the floating docks that will allow visitors and students to get up close. As part of its donation, Constellation will also support a solar-powered installation on the waterfront campus.

National Aquarium president and CEO John Racanelli says, “Our iconic Inner Harbor, and the Chesapeake Bay that connects it to the world, are indeed treasures worth protecting.”  

Learn more about the future of the waterfront campus.

National Aquarium

The National Aquarium is a nonprofit organization focused on changing the way humanity cares for our ocean planet. Through unparalleled exhibits, science-based education programs and hands-on field initiatives, we are creating a new community of hopeful conservationists, driven by our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. For more information on the National Aquarium, visit