We only had 3 days in Boston, so we were Uber-ing all over the city to see and do everything we wanted to. One of out stops was the New England Aquarium. Luckily, the day we picked to go was miserable weather, so we were shielded from the elements for a couple of hours. Not only can you enjoy the aquarium, but the New England Aquarium is also home to an IMAX Cinema with a selection of animal themed movies and documentaries to choose from. They also offer a Whale Watching experience. Needless to say, you will not be bored.
Location & Entrance Fee
The New England Aquarium is located on the Central Wharf on the waterfront in Downtown Boston. The nearest subway stop is Aquarium Station (aptly named) on the MBTA’s Blue Line. The Aquarium is also a short walk from the Haymarket Station on the Orange and the Green Lines. The New England Aquarium is within walking distance of the North End, Government Center, and the Financial District. We were coming from Cambridge so we just called an Uber and arrived within 10 minutes.
Aquarium Ticket Prices
- Child $18.95 (under 3 years go free)
- Adult $27.95
- Senior (60+) $25.95
IMAX Ticket Prices
- Adult $9.95
- Child (3-11) $7.95
- Senior (60+) $7.95
- Adult – $53
- Child (3-11) – $33
- Child (under 2) – $16
- Senior (60+) – $45
Not Just for Entertainment
The New England Aquarium strives not only the provide entertainment, but also to focus on education on the environment and aim to help protect the oceans and all that lives in it. They have a number of conservation projects as well as a Marine Animal Rescue Team. They leads regional efforts to rehabilitate and release endangered species at their Animal Care Centre. To read more about how they make a difference, you can visit their Mission and Vision page on their website
I’m going to lie, walking in the first thing we see is a massive tank full of penguins was very exciting. The New England Aquarium is home to more that 80 penguins who live in a ‘bustling colony’ surrounding the Giant Ocean Tank. Just as we arrive it was feeding time. The penguins were all very hyper and excitable, diving off the rocks and gliding through the water.
I have such a fascination with anything to do with water. When I was a kid I used to want to be a Marine Biologist. But really only so I could hang out with Orcas (I blame Free Willy). I would absolutely still do that if it didn’t require like a million years in Uni or to be even remotely good at Biology (Spoiler, I’m not).
It was surprisingly small inside, and given it is one of the most visited places in Boston, you can imagine that it was pretty cramped. There at 4 floors that all spiral around the massive Giant Ocean Tank. Surrounding this are smaller tanks with the likes of Seadragons and Jellies which was really cool. As the Giant Ocean Tank spans all four floors, you can have a peek as you go, but the beauty (in my opinion) is when you get to the top and can look down on it all.
Giant Ocean Tank
The Giant Ocean tank, at it’s deepest, goes down 23ft. It holds 200,000 gallons of salt water, heated to between 72° and 75° F, which is a perfect temperature range for this tropical exhibit. It’s so massive that they built the Giant Ocean Tank first, then the rest of the New England Aquarium around it!
The tank contains hundreds of Caribbean Reef and animals such as sea turtles, stingrays, eels and fishes. The Green Sea Turtle, Myrtle, is around 80 years old and weighs more than 500 pounds. There are two other turtles in the tank, Carolina and Retread, who are Loggerhead Turtles. They are considerably smaller and can be spotted them by the brownish red coloring on the top of their head and shell.
Wait, More Penguins?
As we made our way back down, spiraling around the Giant Ocean Tank, we realised we missed a whole other side of the first floor. Too distracted by feeding time, we didn’t realise there were more Penguins on the other side of the aquarium.
Rockhopper Penguins are one of the smallest species of Penguin. I guess you can’t see it so well in the picture, but these are the little guys the with red eyes and yellow feathers on their head. I would be lying if I said they didn’t make me think of Robin Williams in Happy Feet!
The New England Aquarium is a fun place to visit, but a tad overpriced in my opinion. But as we soon found out, so was everything in Boston! We didn’t do the Whale Watching or see and IMAX film, but if we had it would have majorly blown through my budget. None the less, the sea is a wonderful thing to learn about and is super fun for kids to get to see the animals up close. An hopefully learn something in the process.
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