Reading program offers children chance to earn free admission to National Aquarium


— The National Aquarium, in partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library System and alongside Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced the launch of the Read to Reef Book Club. The Read to Reef Book Club offers free admission to the National Aquarium for any child up to fifth grade with a Pratt Library card who participates in the reading program.

“Children are the key to the future of our blue planet. This partnership affords us a remarkable opportunity to inspire and educate by bringing together the great books of our renowned Enoch Pratt Free Library and the exhibits of our world-class National Aquarium,” said John Racanelli, National Aquarium CEO. “The Read to Reef Book Club will give Marylanders access to their Aquarium even as they learn about the importance of aquatic treasures like our own Chesapeake Bay.”

“We are excited to team up with the National Aquarium on this new and exciting reading program,” said Carla D. Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. “The Aquarium is committed to literacy, reading and enriching the minds of children in Baltimore. People already know the Pratt Library for its Summer Reading Program. With the help of the Read to Reef Book Club, we have the opportunity to encourage families to make reading a habit during a different time of the year and to remind them that reading reaps many rewards. In this case, not only do children have the opportunity to enjoy quality books and build their love of reading, but they can earn a trip to the magnificent National Aquarium here in Baltimore.”

Any child up to fifth grade who has a Pratt Library card is eligible to join the Read to Reef Book Club. To participate, readers can visit their local Pratt Library branch to receive a bookmark that suggests aquatic/conservation-themed books to read. Once participants have read five books, they can present their bookmark to their local branch of the Pratt Library for a voucher to the National Aquarium. The voucher is good for the child and up to three guests and can be redeemed at will call for entry tickets on the day of their visit.

“I celebrate that these two great Baltimore institutions are joining forces to invest in our children, the future of our communities,” says Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore. “It is so important that our youth develop not only a love of reading, but an awareness of the environment around them and how they can preserve and protect it.”

The Aquarium is making 2,500 vouchers available, which means 2,500 children can participate and up to 10,000 people can experience the Aquarium for free. All bookmarks must be validated at the library by April 30, and Aquarium vouchers must be used by June 19, 2016. Blackout dates for Aquarium visits include March 25-26 and May 27-30. For more information about the Read to Reef Book Club, visit