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S A T U R D A Y

Built in 1873, the National Aquarium has something of a rustic quality to it. Fish in the country’s oldest aquarium swim peacefully below a building full of bureaucrats, in the basement of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It’s a far cry from Baltimore’s commercial water wonder, but for two bucks, you really can’t beat it. Its long, dank hallways filled with tanks of electric eels, piranhas, sharks, and other small-scale aquatic life forms, the National Aquarium lays claim to 1,700 specimens of 260 species of fish, invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians. Today, the nonprofit aquarium will be holding its seventh annual “Shark Day” in an effort to dispel the myths about these ancient and threatened creatures, since, Jaws notwithstanding, sharks are still more likely to be eaten by humans than to bite back. The day’s festivities will include a feeding of the menacing-looking nurse sharks, who peacefully cohabitate with a few lazy turtles in the aquarium’s 6,000-gallon shark tank. “Shark Day” will also feature educational exhibits, videos, photo-ops with a costumed land shark, a children’s mural, and information on conservation efforts to protect sharks from drift-net fishing, the pet-food industry, and sport fishing. From 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the National Aquarium, Department of Commerce Building, 14th St. between Constitution & Pennsylvania Aves. NW. $2. (202) 482-2826. (Stephanie Mencimer)