EXPLORE A REEFThe National Aquarium's Atlantic Coral...



The National Aquarium's Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit reopens today after being renovated for the past year. The 335,000-gallon exhibit is home to dozens of species of tropical fish from Atlantic coastal waters.

The 220,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit, below the reef exhibit, also has been revamped. It showcases sharks, ranging from sand tigers and nurses, to lemons and sawfish. Sorry, no great whites. Admission. Information: 576-3800.


Here, there, almost everywhere around the Inner Harbor this weekend, you'll run into the Downtown Partnership's "Really Big Show" promotion, stressing the positive side of many parts of downtown with live music and other festivities. Here's a small sampling of the events, which will stretch from Fells Point on the east to Lexington Market on the west and extend south into South Baltimore and north into Mount Vernon Place:

* Watch the sky: At 5:30 p.m. today, 10 hot-air balloons will be launched from Rash Field. From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow, the balloons will be illuminated and tethered -- a so-called "balloon glow." If you're an early riser Sunday, you can see the balloons fly off about 7 a.m. Information: 342:SHOW.

* Catch some buskers: More than 50 aspiring street performers ("buskers," to use an old word) will audition from noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday for jobs at the Harborplace Amphitheatre. Each act will have 15 minutes to showcase its talent, creativity, professionalism, style and audience appeal. Free. At the Harborplace Amphitheatre.

* Check your treasures: North of the Inner Harbor, Howard Street's Antiques Row is having an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday with free appraisals done at 14 shops. Check Howard Street around Read Street. Information: 383-2881.

* Take the kids: Tomorrow, the Mayor's Spring Festival will feature crafts, games and live entertainment from noon to 4 p.m. at NationsBank Plaza on Market Place. Information: 837-4636. Today will signal the opening of the Baltimore Museum of Industry's exhibit on African-Americans in Aviation: Transcending Time and Space. Information: 727-4808.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday at the B&O; Museum, 901 West Pratt St., you can inspect trains usually closed to the public and see the Tom Thumb locomotive under steam. Information: 752-2388.


If you're 18 or older and would like to volunteer to be part of next month's Preakness Celebration Parade, call the Baltimore Office of Promotion: 752-8632.

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