If you are looking for a fun excursion in Boston, consider the New England Aquarium. While not one of the largest aquariums in the USA, it is still quite well done and one of the best in New England! Our kids were delighted with the experience.
The Logistics of the Aquarium
Cost: Tickets are currently $32/$23/$30 for Adult/Child/Senior, and children under 3 are free. Or you can get a membership for about the cost of 1.5 visits.
Timed Entry: Please remember that if you are visiting during Covid times, you will need to reserve an entry time before you arrive.
Getting There: Situated in the heart of Boston, you can either drive into the city and park in a garage (the Harbor Garage is the closest to the Aquarium), or you can take public transportation to the Aquarium (the Aquarium stop on the Blue Line of the MBTA is the closest, though several other downtown stops e.g. South Station are close by).
Since we visited during Covid, the Aquarium wasn’t quite operating like normal. We had to get a timed entry, and then follow a one-way path through the Aquarium. Touch pools, some seating areas, and other somewhat unsanitary activities were closed. That said, we still had a lot of fun and would highly recommend this delightful experience.
SHARK and Ray Touch Pools
As you enter the New England Aquarium, you will be greeted by the Shark and Ray Touch Pools. Of course, since Covid was still in full swing, we were only permitted to look. Still fun, but not nearly as fun as petting a shark or ray.
Next are the penguins. If you are lucky, you will be there during feeding time, although they are still quite cute regardless of whether they are being fed or not.
Up the Spiral
From here, you will be directed in a spiral towards the top of the main large tank that you can see from the penguin area. As you ascend, you will see lots of delightful fish that are isolated into smaller tanks.
I always love the sea dragons!
And it is always surprising to see how small the piranhas are.
The crabs, lobsters, and sea anemone are also a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the octopuses were hiding from us.
The Top of the Spiral
At the top of the spiral, you can admire the largest tank from above. We were delighted by the turtle, Myrtle, who is likely between 90 and 95 years old!
My son was super excited by everything he read about the turtle and we took quite a few pictures:
The Downward Spiral
On the way down, you can explore the different layers of the sea.
I particularly liked this grumpy looking fish.
The schools of fish will amaze the kids, and if you are lucky, you might spot a scuba diver feeding a few of them.
As you leave the spiral, you will see a few more brightly colored fish.
This particular creature was quite weird:
You won’t be able to visit the touch pools until Covid restrictions are over, but I can imagine that they are worth a stop when they open back up.
The Seals and Sea Lions
At the end of your tour, you can stop by to visit the Seals and Sea Lions.
We happened to be visiting during feeding time, and they were quite active!
If you are just walking by the aquarium and don’t have tickets, there are some nice windows by this particular exhibit, so if you take a peak inside, you might get a glimpse of these playful animals.
Back in Boston
As you leave the aquarium, consider exploring more of Boston.
Faneuil Hall (lots of history and a good place for lunch), Government Center (the financial district), the Boson Common (a beautiful park), Chinatown (great food), and Back Bay (mix of residential, shopping, and restaurants) are all quite close!
In any case, spend some time admiring the harbor on your way back to your transportation!
What a fun day trip!