National Aquarium Reviews

Updated Jul 1, 2020

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2.7
35%
Recommend to a Friend
24%
Approve of CEO
National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli (no image)
John Racanelli
29 Ratings
Pros
  • "Great animal collection and passionate staff(in 5 reviews)

  • "Be able to share your love of conservation and aquatic life and integrate it into the guest experience(in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "Upper management would not always take into consideration ideas from people below them and some really good ideas would never get off the ground(in 5 reviews)

  • "Not worth the low pay or aggravation(in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Animal Care"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Curatorial 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at National Aquarium full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great time off, good benefits, many opportunities, interesting place to work

    Cons

    You will have many managers

  2. "Avoid at all costs if you'll be in Candler."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anon 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Aquarium full-time

    Pros

    The animal people are smart and generally very likable and fun to work with.

    Cons

    Candler is extremely, poisonously toxic. If you're considering a job there, run in the opposite direction. It is not worth your sanity.

  3. "Just dont"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at National Aquarium full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Dont, CEO is a horrible toxic human being. Hr does not do anything at all, actually most of candler is pretty horrible to work in.

    Cons

    Horrible raises, horrible benefits. Just dont .

    National Aquarium Response

    June 16, 2020

    Thank you for your service and for sharing your review. We always welcome the opportunity to hear the thoughts of both past and present team members, although it is disheartening to hear your feedback. At the Aquarium, we are committed to building a positive, inclusive environment for all staff, and we strive to reflect that in all aspects of their experience—from a supportive, inclusive culture to competitive compensation and benefits. It is disappointing that you did not experience this during your time here. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts, and we encourage you to reach out to our team at HR@aqua.org if you have any further questions or concerns. Candace B. Osunsade Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer

  4. "Don't stay here longer than 2 years."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at National Aquarium part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Wonderful coworkers in all departments and everyone is very willing to help out

    Cons

    Terrible shift management. They will try to take advantage of your schedule if you let them.

    National Aquarium Response

    January 6, 2020

    Thank you for sharing your experience at the National Aquarium. We appreciate hearing from both current and former employees as we work to continuously improve the staff experience. First, it’s nice to hear about your positive experiences with coworkers, both within and beyond your own department. We are genuinely proud of our team-centered environment and our talented, dedicated staff and volunteers. Your experience surrounding shift management and scheduling, however, is certainly disappointing to hear. As an organization, we are committed to providing an engaging experience for every member of our team, and we know that monitoring concerns such as this and developing solutions, when possible, is an integral part of that commitment. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts, and please do not hesitate to reach out to my team at HR@aqua.org if you have any further questions or concerns. Candace B. Osunsade Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer

  5. "don't do it."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at National Aquarium part-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    there's a sea turtle if you like them?

    Cons

    Poor pay, poor hours, no leadership whatsoever, no one in charge believes in a "mission" [actually no one does], candler departments tend to be predatory and lie to anyone they need to in order to get what they want, i could go on for hours. let's just say that if you want to "believe in the magic" to borrow from disney, don't work here in any capacity.

    Continue reading

    National Aquarium Response

    January 13, 2020

    Thank you for sharing your experiences at the National Aquarium. We always appreciate hearing from members of our team and carefully review all feedback. Your thoughts about compensation, hours, and leadership are disappointing, especially given our deep commitment to our mission and our people. As an organization, we work continuously to build an engaging and inclusive environment for all employees and volunteers. We offer quarterly surveys to ensure regular feedback to managers and leaders across the organization, and we offer a variety of trainings and development opportunities to all staff, including a training series focused on management and leadership. In addition, we welcome current team members to explore our wide range of job opportunities as they develop their skills and career goals. We strive for every member of our team to have the opportunity to learn and grow, and it is discouraging that your experience has not reflected this. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and for your service to the National Aquarium. If you would like to discuss your questions and concerns further, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team at HR@aqua.org. Candace B. Osunsade Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer

  6. "Sad to see the place run to the ground"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at National Aquarium full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Full time benefits (generous PTO/Floating holidays, insurance, etc) A majority of the employees are very friendly They do not overload responsibilities on you. Manageable expectations. Human Resources have massively improved in the last few months and have made more of an effort to check in with employees.

    Cons

    There seems to be very little strategy on how to maintain profits, and upper leadership always seems to be funding conservation efforts which chokes operations departments financially. There is very little opportunity for growth or professional development. I never truly understood what a "dead end job" was when I worked here. Positions that were originally promoted were instead hired from the outside. Raises are practically nonexistent. Wages are not enough to meet bare minimum needs of living if you factor in the cost of parking. Staff who work hardest and most consistently are very often overlooked and not given opportunities for growth. The building is open 363 days a year, and working holidays is required without holiday pay. "Full Time" employees are often cut down to 32 hours per week in fall/winter as the building hours are cut down.

    Continue reading

    National Aquarium Response

    October 29, 2019

    Thank you for your service to the National Aquarium and for your thorough, thoughtful review of your time here. As we continuously improve our services to our National Aquarium team, your insights—and those of all current and past employees—are invaluable. As an organization, we are dedicated to providing an engaging, supportive environment for every employee and volunteer. That requires strong relationships, ongoing development opportunities, a healthy benefits package, and much more. We are happy to hear about your positive interactions with other staff and the HR team, and pleased to know that you were satisfied with the benefits we offer. At the same time, your feedback related to open communication and development opportunities is disheartening. These are both critical elements of the inclusive culture we seek to build, and we believe strongly that every member of our team should have options to continually learn and grow. We will certainly pass along these thoughts to the appropriate teams. Thank you again for sharing your experience at the National Aquarium, please reach out to HR@aqua.org with any additional questions. Candace B. Osunsade Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer

  7. "Just OK"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at National Aquarium full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Mostly good and experienced people

    Cons

    Not well managed--priorities change all the time

    National Aquarium Response

    September 19, 2019

    Thank you for sharing feedback on your experience at the National Aquarium. As an organization that is constantly growing and developing, we always appreciate hearing the insights of current and former team members. First, I am happy to hear about your positive interactions with your colleagues. We are proud to have committed employees and volunteers with a wide range of expertise and experiences to offer, and we are always seeking ways to further engage our people. As we continuously improve our practices and offerings for staff, guests and program participants, we are able to further define our priorities as an organization and advance work that grows our mission impact. Thank you again for your thoughts and for your service to our organization. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to my team at HR@aqua.org. Candace B. Osunsade Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer

  8. "Great Coworkers ! Great Mission!"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technician in Baltimore, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at National Aquarium full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great coworkers and enthusiastic about the mission

    Cons

    Could have been more challenging

  9. Helpful (2)

    "I mean, if you REALLY need the experience, it's an ok place."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at National Aquarium part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    It is a nice facility with some really great, hardworking individuals and a beautiful collection. Despite the cons, there have been some wonderful people I've met in multiple departments, even in leadership. On the ground, most of the organization works hard to support its conservation initiatives and high animal welfare standards. Employees were encouraged to take conservation days, where they would be paid a regular day's pay while they participated in a conservation project such as a cleanup, habitat restoration, or animal rescue release. It wasn't always awful working there.

    Cons

    A lot of recent budget problems due to leadership vanity projects draining finances, poor investment decisions, and a lack of foresight. These problems led to hiring and raise freezes, as well as quite a few layoffs that left departments either understaffed or completely lacking management. Leadership in some departments is lacking in communication and organization, usually from the Candler side of the organization. Departments often end up contradicting one another on public forums even though it would only take a few minutes to send an email to ensure accurate, corroborated information was being released. Due to understaffing and leadership positions being filled too quickly with individuals who may not be suited for their jobs, employees on the lower rungs of the organization may face a lot of workplace issues such as: Disorganization, constant promises of improvement that never seem to happen or happen over a painfully long length of time, indecision or no decisions from leadership, lack of fulfillment of department-specific benefits, occasional instances of HR getting work done on time or ever, contradictory information from leadership within the same department, inconsistent policy enforcement, employee preferences despite poor performance, etc. There were several employees who displayed values counter to the "culture" the aquarium claims to have, including discriminatory statements towards minority groups. There was even some who were rewarded by the aquarium because the award system sometimes ends up being a buddy system of poor individuals promoting other poor individuals, and those who know these individuals do not fall within the aquarium's culture turn a blind eye to it or do not speak out. Management is very status quo in several departments. Don't be innovative. Don't criticize the poor parts of the system. Just do what you are told and follow the rules, regardless of whether or not they compromise things like animal welfare, and you will be rewarded for it more often than those that speak out.

    National Aquarium Response

    May 24, 2019

    Thank you for your service to the National Aquarium and for your thorough review. Feedback from past and present employees provides us with valuable insights into our people’s needs as we develop our culture and the employee and volunteer experience. First, I am very encouraged by your positive experiences with various members of our team, our mission-driven practices, and our outstanding animals and exhibits. We are deeply committed to our animal welfare and conservation work as well as our passionate, diverse team, and we are proud to offer opportunities for our people to connect with our mission. On that same note, I am disheartened by your remaining comments. An inclusive environment—in which all employees and volunteers feel supported, treated fairly, and valued for their unique strengths—is critical to our mission and work, and we have thoughtfully aligned our organizational values, internal communication practices, performance expectations, ongoing management trainings, and team building offerings toward this goal. It is disappointing that you did not experience this during your time here. Thank you again for your thoughtful feedback. Please feel free to reach out to my team at HR@aqua.org with any additional thoughts, questions, or concerns. Candace B. Osunsade Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer

  10. Helpful (2)

    "All that glitters......"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Guest Service Representative in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at National Aquarium full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    A nice place to work if you enjoy walking around in a giant fish tank all day, it can be peaceful.

    Cons

    This isn't a job for grownups with real life bills and responsibilities, the hours aren't consistent and the pay is low. And there's not much upper mobility.

    Continue reading

    National Aquarium Response

    May 1, 2019

    Thank you for your honest review of your experience at the National Aquarium. We are always grateful to hear from our staff, both past and present; your feedback helps us better understand our people’s needs and build a more inclusive and engaging environment for all. With that in mind, I am deeply disheartened by your concerns regarding career development and communication. The National Aquarium seeks to provide an environment in which all have the opportunity to grow and advance; we support this through ongoing training and development opportunities and encourage staff to discuss career opportunities with their manager. We also know that staff who work directly with our guests and program participants are critical members of our team with unique and valuable insights, and it is our goal that each and every employee has the opportunity to voice their opinions and know their ideas are heard and considered. Thank you for your service to the National Aquarium, and thank you again for communicating your concerns. If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my team at HR@aqua.org. Candace B. Osunsade Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer

Found 54 reviews