The sea pervades nearly every aspect of Boston life, so it’s appropriate that the New England Aquarium is one of the city’s most popular attractions. What sets this aquarium apart from similar institutions is its commitment to presenting not only an exciting environment to learn about marine life, but also to conserving the natural habitats of its gilled, feathered, and whiskered inhabitants.

  • “T” station: Aquarium (blue line)

  • Central Wharf

  • 617 973 5200

  • for general info, including current IMAX features

  • Open 9am–5pm Mon–Fri, 9am–6pm Sat & Sun (extended hours Jul–Aug)

  • Adm: $15.95

Whale Watch

  • 617 973 528 for reservations and rate information


  • Open 9:30am– 9:30pm Sun–Wed, 9:30am–10:30pm Thu–Sat

  • Adm: $9.95

The Aquarium’s Mission

The aquarium’s aim, first and foremost, is to instigate and support marine conservation. Its Conservation Action Fund has fought on behalf of endangered marine animals worldwide, helping to protect humpback whales in the South Pacific, sea turtles in New England, and dolphins in Peru.

If the aquarium has not convinced you to eliminate fish from your diet, visit Legal Sea Foods for a leisurely, moderately priced meal. Quick, quality bites from around the globe can also be had at the Quincy Market food hall, three blocks away.

Purchase discount combination tickets for the aquarium along with an IMAX film or a whale-watching excursion.

Top 10 Features
  1. Penguin Pool

    Three species of penguins – Rockhopper, Little Blue, and African – compete for space on the central island and take dips in the surrounding pool.

  2. Tropical Gallery

    A vibrant Pacific coral reef thrives beneath intense lighting that ensures the fragile coral’s survival. Corals house small plants in their tissues that require light to carry out photosynthesis.

  3. Giant Ocean Tank

    Offering a veritable cross-section of a Caribbean reef, the Giant Ocean Tank packs tortoises, sharks, moray eels, brightly colored tropical fish and scores of other species into the 200,000-gallon (900,000 liter) tank.

  4. IMAX Theater

    The Simons IMAX Theater shows large-format 3D documentaries, featuring digital surround sound and plenty of breathtaking, you-are-there cinematic moments. Education with an adrenalin rush.

  5. Harbor Seal Tanks

    Harbor seals swim, feed, and play in specially designed tanks outside the aquarium. All have either been born in captivity or rescued and deemed unfit for release into the wild.

  6. Changing Education Programs

    Temporary passport programs highlight important themes about the marine world. Visitors stamp their passports at stations around the aquarium as they learn about various issues.

  7. Whale Watch

    The aquarium’s extremely popular whale watch ships (Apr–Oct only) provide an unparalleled glimpse into the life cycles of the world’s largest mammals. Voyager II and III steam well outside Boston Harbor to the Stellwagen Bank, a prime feeding area for pods of whales.

  8. Amazing Jellies

    The 5,000-sq-ft (465-sq-m) exhibit includes thousands of jellies from a huge variety of species. You’ll learn why jelly populations are increasing all around the world and the part played by humans.

  9. Freshwater Gallery

    Providing an interesting counterbalance to the aquarium’s seaward slant, this exhibit gives freshwater fish their due. In addition to piranhas, electric eels, and local salmon, it boasts intriguing studies of endangered fresh water habitats from the Amazon to North American temperate forests.

  10. Edge of the Sea

    For those not content to merely gaze at fish behind glass, the Edge of the Sea tidepool exhibit puts marine life at visitors’ fingertips – literally. Inside a ground-level fiberglass tank, the New England seashore is recreated in all its diversity.

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