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National Aquarium To Close Washington Branch

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The aquarium will be forced to close due to renovations to the Department of Commerce building, where it is located.
National Aquarium
The aquarium will be forced to close due to renovations to the Department of Commerce building, where it is located.

The National Aquarium says it will close its Washington branch in the fall.

Officials announced Thursday that renovations at the Department of Commerce building that the aquarium has called home since 1932 make the move necessary.

Aquarium officials say they must leave by March 2014, but the aquarium will close September 30 and begin moving the 1,500 animals housed there to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and other facilities.

The National Aquarium was established in 1873 and opened in 1885. The aquarium's board is exploring ways to maintain a presence in Washington.

Update (4:48 p.m.): 

An email sent to WAMU 88.5 from Dan Cruz, deputy press secretary for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) says the GSA has been working with the National Aquarium on finding a new home on the National Mall in the same building as their current location. GSA is managing renovations to the Department of Commerce building.

"Since they are not a government agency, the aquarium will have to provide GSA with funding for this new facility, and we have already received the initial payment for the design phase," Cruz wrote in the email. He added that GSA is committed to working with the aquarium to place them in a new space on the Mall. 



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