The New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts is a prominent feature in the city. Located right on the harbor and surrounded by fabulous shopping and incredible architecture, the aquarium makes for an entire day in the city. The Aquarium is fairly close to a highway exit off route 93 and so it is quite easy to drive to. Plan on paying a minimum of $30 for parking at one of the three parking garages near The Aquarium. Of course, it is also reachable by the T (Boston’s subway system).
The New England Aquarium houses hundreds of different water dwelling animals, amphibians and fish. Upon entering the aquarium, it is impossible not to notice the giant tank in the center that extends the entire three levels of the aquarium. It is possible to walk around the entire tank from bottom to top and see every creature inside from the bottom dwellers like the giant sting-ray to the very top of the tank where Myrtle the Giant Sea Turtle. Several times a day, the Aquarium hosts “Giant Ocean Tank Tours” that allow visitors to learn more about the creatures inside as well as ask their own questions about the care of the creatures, the creatures themselves, and even the dimensions of the tank. Also seen in the tank several times a day are the divers who tend to the fish. They can be seen feeding and examining the fish as well as tending to the care of the tank. The tank is easily accessible due to the fact that there is a ramp running circularly around the tank. However, the one pitfall is that to reach the very top level and to see the Giant Ocean Tank Tour, the visitor must take 2 flights of stairs. This obviously makes it handicapped inaccessible but also very difficult for visitors with strollers.
The New England Aquarium houses three different species of penguins, the Little Blue Penguins, Rockhopper Penguins, and African Penguins. These penguins run along the bottom level of the aquarium. They can be seen standing, eating, swimming, and sometimes doing tricks both in and out of the water. Because of the high wall around the penguin area, it can be difficult for small children to see into the area. The penguins are a major attraction at The New England Aquarium in Boston.
Another major attraction at The New England Aquarium is the seals. The Aquarium houses harbor seals and fur seals. There are several performances during the day where the seals perform for the audience. Be sure to get there early, as it is standing room only and can be difficult to see. When not performing, visitors can watch the seals swimming and playing in their tank. These creatures are rather fascinating to watch and are a big draw at The New England Aquarium.
The New England Aquarium also hosts many different species of creatures from around the world. There is the harbor gallery, the Gulf of Maine gallery, the fresh water gallery, the tropical gallery, and the Northern waters gallery. Each gallery has it’s own location on a different level of the Aquarium. These galleries are quite interesting to the older visitors who are interested in learning a little about the creatures and habitats. The younger visitors are able to look quickly and move onto the next attraction. This makes it difficult for someone with young children to enjoy the exhibits.
Currently, there is the Amazing Jellies Exhibit, which features sea jellies, often called jellyfish, although this term is incorrect. Some parts of this exhibit are quite beautiful, seeing the jellies light up different colors. Other parts fall flat. Luckily, this exhibit is part of the general admission price.
The New England Aquarium also houses an IMAX theater. There are 3 to 4 different shows shown daily to choose from. This is not an optimal experience for young children because the shows are all 45 minutes or longer. For older children and adults, these shows are entertaining and educational. The ticket price for an adult is $9.95 and children 3 to 11 are $7.95.
The New England Aquarium in Boston is open from Monday to Thursday from 9am to 6pm and Friday to Sunday from 9am to 7pm. The general admission price for adults is $17.95 and children ages 3 to 11 are $9.95. There are also combo packages available with the IMAX Theater for one general admission and one IMAX admission is $22.95 for an adult and $14.95 for a child. These combo prices are a great deal. Of course there is also a restaurant and of course a large gift shop for souvenirs.
Is The New England Aquarium in Boston worth the expense? It is definitely worth it if you are going with children of at least grade school age. Children younger than that will become easily bored and the trip will end up cut short and all that money will have already been spent. Also, children who need to be kept in a stroller will not be able to see into very many of the exhibits. The New England Aquarium is a staple in Boston, so if you are visiting then definitely check it out; it is very entertaining and quite beautiful.