by Micaela Williamson
Living in Boston for six years, I have had the opportunity to visit The New England Aquarium on an number of occasions. In fact, my husband and I went their for our second date. Recently, we had a blast going back to experience the aquarium with our own children. Plus, it was the perfect venue for our large multi-generational group of children, teens, adults and seniors.
Upon entering the aquarium, you can't miss the massive Penguin Exhibit. These showstoppers provide entertainment for guests as they dive, "fly" under the water and interact with each other on the rocks. The aquarium has more than 80 African penguins in its colony, and my children never got tired from watching their antics. Fun fact: the African penguins are known as the "jackass penguins" for their loud call, which sounds just like a donkey’s bray.
The central focus of the aquarium is a multi story reef where you can walk up and down and see the layers of sea life. From reef sharks to turtles to giant fish, visitors can step up close to the glass and feel like they're diving under the ocean.
On each floor, there are several side exhibits with creatures such as eels, a coral reef of colorful fish, an octopus, seahorses, amphibians and much more. There are also two unique touch tank opportunities for children to get up close and personal with aquatic life. Children can interact with rays and sharks at the The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank or visit with sea stars, horseshoe crabs and sea urchins at the Edge of the Sea touch tank.
There are also some loveable marine mammals that enjoy showing off for visitors. Guests will enjoy observing and learning about the Atlantic harbor seals, California sea lions and the Northern fur seal. Be sure to catch one of the regularly scheduled feedings.
Both the aquarium and the area around the aquarium have been extensively upgraded over the past five years. It is extremely walkable with attractions like carousels, boats to look at, lots of restaurants, and of course the popular Fanieul Hall, which is rich in history and retail. Hands are stamped at the aquarium so visitors can come and go throughout the day as they please.
Since the weather was nice, we packed our own picnic lunch and enjoyed it on the picnic tables outside the aquarium while watching the boats in the harbor. If this is not an option, the aquarium has a small café or visit one of the many restaurants surrounding the area.
If you plan on visiting during a popular month or vacation time, we highly recommend paying the small service free and buying timed entry tickets on the New England Aquarium website. These tickets allow you to bypass the line. We also recommend buying a combination aquarium admission and IMAX ticket. The impressive IMAX theater boasts the largest screen in new England and features many educational films throughout the day that appeal to all ages.
For more detailed information, directions, special events and operating hours, please visit the official New England Aquarium website.
The New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
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