There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Boston, but one popular choice for any visitor is the New England Aquarium.
Sitting right on the edge of Boston Harbor, it’s an easy walk from a variety of tourist spots including Faneuil Hall and Boston Common. While the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) isn’t quite as large as some of the other popular aquariums across the country, it is unique, which makes it worth a visit.
Here, we’re going to tell you some of our favorite features of the New England Aquarium.
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Adult jellies, or medusa, are relatively short-lived. In the wild, adult Pacific sea nettles like this one only live for about six months. In zoos and aquariums, with no predation and access to nutritious food, this species can live up to 18 months! Our jellies aquarists are hoping to have this impressive jelly on exhibit when the Aquarium reopens. #AquariumFromHome
The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the New England Aquarium is the massive tank that runs through the middle of the building. The Giant Ocean Tank holds over 200,000 gallons of water, rises four stories, and is 40 feet wide. When the aquarium was built, the tank was created first and the rest of the building was designed around it.
Another popular attraction is the Penguin habitat. It’s home to over 60 penguins who live in the shadow of the Giant Ocean Tank on the ground floor. There are also exhibits that highlight some of the New England Coastline, as well as the Amazon, and an Indo-Pacific coral reef.
If you have kids (or if you’re a big kid yourself), you can head to the touch tanks. In these shallow tanks that resemble mangroves, you can get up close and personal with rays and sharks as they glide through the water. For a slightly more tame touch experience, you can check out the Edge of the Sea Touch Tank. Here, you’ll be able to interact with starfish, snails, and sea urchins.
When it’s nice outside, head to the Marine Mammal Center. This outdoor pool is home to a variety of seals and sea lions. Naturalists will introduce these animals to you and tell you all about them while showing off a few cool tricks and tips.
The aquarium has a cafe and gift shop as well.
The NEAQ also has a theater. It typically has a variety of showings each day of shorter documentaries that cover plant, animal, and sea life all over the world.
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Have you ever wondered how our scientists can identify #RightWhales, just by looking at them? 🐋 For our #VirtualVisit today on Facebook Live at 11am, join us as research scientist Philip Hamilton describes the methods of cataloguing and identifying each individual right whale + shares why this research is so important to helping these magnificent marine animals! #WhaleConservation
The aquarium runs whale watch tours throughout most of the year, depending on the weather. These tickets are separate from NEAQ admission, with a partnership through Boston Harbor Cruises, but the tours are hosted by professional naturalists associated with the aquarium.
Tours run about four hours long, with beautiful views through Boston Harbor as you head out to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, home to whales, dolphins, and all sorts of marine life.
The aquarium is open seven days a week year-round. Hours are slightly longer during the summer months, July to September. Children under three are free, while prices vary for older kids, adults, and seniors. NEAQ also offers combo packages for aquarium, whale watching, and movie tickets.
There’s a parking garage right on-site at the aquarium, and it’s a stop on the famous Boston Duck Tours as well.