Amid plans for renovations at the federal office building that has long been its home, the National Aquarium said Thursday that it will close its Washington branch in September.
The aquarium, which has been a fixture inside the U.S. Department of Commerce's headquarters for decades, said the government had ordered it to leave by March 2014 to accommodate the agency's plans for upgrades to the building.
The aquarium, however, said it would leave in September to meet "the needs of its animals and staff."
The 1,500 animals will move to the aquarium's location in Baltimore or other facilities as officials consider new options for the District.
"We value our D.C. venue's rich history as the nation's first public aquarium," said Tamika Langley Tremaglio, the chairwoman of the D.C. aquarium's board. "We are committed to maintaining a presence in the capital, where a public aquarium has existed since the late 1800s."