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The Dripby Ed Gunts7:45 amJan 26, 20160

Expansion plans for National Aquarium to be unveiled

“BLUEprint” has been in the works since September of 2013

Above: With its dolphins and other aquatic exhibits, the National Aquarium has been a mainstay of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor tourist scene.

Two years after the National Aquarium announced a master planning effort to create the aquarium of the future, officials are about to share their plans with the public.

The aquarium is scheduled to meet on Thursday with the city’s Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel to present a new master plan to guide its growth.

Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore is the architect making the presentation. Ayers Saint Gross designed the aquarium’s West Covington Park property that opened last September and a $110 million Center for Aquatic Life and Conservation that never materialized.

The aquarium announced the planning effort, called BLUEprint, when it closed its Washington location in September of 2013. It was also discussed in the spring of 2014, when CEO John Racanelli disclosed that he was exploring the idea of no longer holding dolphins in captivity.

Most recently, the aquarium has acquired a new location in Jonestown to replace a Fells Point facility where staffers care for specimens not on display in the main buildings on Inner Harbor piers 3 and 4.

Baltimore’s Planning Commission voted last year to allocate $250,000 to help pay for improvements to the National Aquarium, if voters approve a bond issue on the ballot in November 2016.

A total figure for the amount needed to carry out the master plan recommendations has not been disclosed.

After more than three decades at the Inner Harbor, what's next for the National Aquarium? (Photo: Wikipedia)

After more than three decades at the Inner Harbor, what’s next for the National Aquarium? (Photo: Wikipedia)

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