Imagine stepping into a vibrant underwater world right in the heart of Boston. The New England Aquarium offers a unique opportunity to dive into the wonders of the ocean, surrounded by fascinating marine life from around the world. From playful penguins to mesmerizing jellyfish, this iconic attraction promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. So grab your snorkel mask and get ready for an adventure that will leave you in awe of the incredible creatures that call the ocean their home.

The History of the New England Aquarium

Foundation and Early Years

The New England Aquarium, located in Boston, Massachusetts, has a rich history that dates back to its foundation in 1969. The aquarium was established with the mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. From the very beginning, it aimed to educate the public about the wonders of the ocean and the importance of protecting marine life.

Expansion and Renovation

Over the years, the New England Aquarium has undergone several expansions and renovations to enhance the visitor experience and accommodate the growing marine collections. One of the key milestones in the history of the aquarium was the completion of the Giant Ocean Tank in 1970, which quickly became one of its most iconic attractions.

Exhibits at the New England Aquarium

Giant Ocean Tank

The Giant Ocean Tank is undoubtedly the centerpiece of the New England Aquarium. It is a massive cylindrical tank, holding over 200,000 gallons of water, and is home to a diverse array of marine species. Visitors can marvel at the stunning coral reefs, tropical fish, and even sharks as they make their way around the tank on a spiraling walkway.

Penguin Exhibit

The Penguin Exhibit at the New England Aquarium offers visitors an up-close and personal encounter with these adorable and charismatic birds. The exhibit recreates a natural Antarctic habitat, complete with a frigid environment and icy ledges for the penguins to swim, slide, and waddle on. The playful antics of the penguins never fail to captivate both children and adults alike.

New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center

The New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center is another must-see exhibit at the New England Aquarium. This state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine mammals stranded along the New England coast. Visitors can learn about the important work being done to protect these magnificent creatures and may even witness a live animal rescue or rehabilitation.

Edge of the Sea Touch Tank

At the Edge of the Sea Touch Tank, visitors of all ages can get hands-on with various species of tide pool animals. From starfish and hermit crabs to sea urchins and horseshoe crabs, this interactive exhibit allows visitors to touch and learn about these fascinating creatures. This experience fosters a deeper connection with the marine environment and encourages a sense of stewardship.

Amazon Rainforest

While primarily focused on aquatic life, the New England Aquarium also offers a unique exhibit showcasing the wonders of the Amazon Rainforest. Visitors can immerse themselves in this vibrant and biodiverse ecosystem, encountering various species of tropical fish, reptiles, and even a Piranha feeding. The exhibit highlights the interconnectedness of the ocean and the rainforest, emphasizing the need for global conservation efforts.

The Science of Sharks

For those intrigued by the mysteries of sharks, the New England Aquarium’s Science of Sharks exhibit provides a wealth of information and displays. Through interactive exhibits and informative displays, visitors can learn about different shark species, their behavior, and their crucial role in maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems. The exhibit also addresses common misconceptions surrounding these magnificent creatures.

Blue Planet Action Center

The Blue Planet Action Center is a dynamic exhibit at the New England Aquarium that explores significant environmental challenges facing our planet’s oceans. Visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the impact of human activities on the marine environment and learn how they can contribute to conservation efforts. The exhibit aims to inspire individuals to make small changes in their lives that collectively make a big difference.

Exploring The New England Aquarium In Boston

Activities and Programs at the New England Aquarium

Daily Presentations and Shows

The New England Aquarium offers a wide range of engaging and educational presentations and shows throughout the day. From live animal feedings to captivating talks by marine experts, visitors have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of marine life and conservation. Whether it’s watching penguins being fed or learning about the behaviors of sharks, these presentations provide unique insights and experiences.

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

For those looking for a more immersive experience, the New England Aquarium offers behind-the-scenes tours. These tours provide a glimpse into the inner workings of the aquarium, allowing visitors to see how the animals are cared for and learn about the aquarium’s conservation efforts. It’s a fantastic opportunity to go behind the scenes and gain a deeper appreciation for the dedication and expertise required to run a world-class aquarium.

Sleeping with the Fishes

For a truly memorable experience, the New England Aquarium offers a special overnight program called “Sleeping with the Fishes.” This program allows guests to spend the night at the aquarium, exploring after hours and sleeping next to one of the exhibits. Participants can enjoy evening activities, such as a scavenger hunt, and wake up to the mesmerizing sights of marine life. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the aquarium in a whole new way.

Whale Watching Tours

In collaboration with local whale watching companies, the New England Aquarium offers whale watching tours that depart from Boston Harbor. These tours provide an incredible opportunity to witness the majesty of whales in their natural habitat. Experienced naturalists are onboard to provide insightful commentary and ensure a memorable experience. Whale watching tours are a fantastic way to connect with marine life beyond the aquarium walls.

Conservation Efforts of the New England Aquarium

Ocean Conservation Research

The New England Aquarium is committed to conducting cutting-edge research to better understand and conserve the world’s oceans. Scientists and researchers at the aquarium work on a range of projects, from studying whale behavior and migration patterns to examining the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. The research findings help inform conservation strategies and contribute to global efforts to protect the oceans.

Marine Animal Rescue Program

The Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) operated by the New England Aquarium plays a crucial role in rescuing and rehabilitating stranded marine animals along the New England coast. Trained staff and volunteers respond to calls reporting injured or stranded animals, providing veterinary care and rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Center. The goal is to release the animals back into the wild once they have recovered and are deemed fit for survival.

Sustainable Seafood Initiative

Recognizing the critical role that the seafood industry plays in ocean conservation, the New England Aquarium has launched a Sustainable Seafood Initiative. This program promotes sustainable fishing practices and encourages consumers to make informed choices about the seafood they consume. By working with fisheries, restaurants, and consumers, the initiative aims to ensure the long-term health of marine ecosystems and support local fishing communities.

Exploring The New England Aquarium In Boston

Educational Opportunities at the New England Aquarium

School and Group Visits

The New England Aquarium offers a range of educational programs and resources for school groups of all ages. School visits can be tailored to meet specific curriculum requirements, providing students with hands-on learning experiences and a deeper understanding of marine science. The aquarium also offers programs for homeschooling groups and alternative learning organizations.

Teacher Resources

To support educators in teaching about marine science and ocean conservation, the New England Aquarium provides a wealth of teacher resources. These resources include lesson plans, educational materials, and professional development opportunities. Teachers can access online materials, attend workshops, and even borrow aquarium kits for use in the classroom. The aim is to empower educators to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards.

College Internships

For college students aspiring to work in a marine-related field, the New England Aquarium offers a range of internship opportunities. These internships provide students with hands-on experience in various departments, including animal care, research, education, and conservation. Interns work alongside professionals and gain valuable insights into the operations of a world-class aquarium.

Visitor Information for the New England Aquarium

Location and Hours

The New England Aquarium is conveniently located on Central Wharf in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is easily accessible by public transportation and has nearby parking options for those driving. The aquarium is open seven days a week, and the hours vary depending on the season. It’s recommended to check the aquarium’s website for the most up-to-date information on opening hours.

Admission Prices

Entry to the New England Aquarium is subject to admission fees, which vary depending on age and the type of ticket. The ticket prices cover access to all exhibits, presentations, and shows. Discounts are often available for students, seniors, and military personnel. The aquarium also offers annual memberships, providing unlimited access and additional perks for frequent visitors.

Parking and Transportation

For those arriving by car, the New England Aquarium has a parking garage conveniently located nearby. However, parking can be limited during peak seasons, so it’s advisable to arrive early or consider using public transportation. The aquarium is easily accessible by the “T” subway system, and there are also bus stops within walking distance.

Dining Options

Visitors to the New England Aquarium have several dining options to choose from. The Harbor View Café offers a range of fresh, locally sourced meals and snacks, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. For those looking for a quick bite, there are also grab-and-go food stations and vending machines available throughout the aquarium. Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and enjoy a picnic on the outdoor terrace overlooking Boston Harbor.

Accessibility

The New England Aquarium strives to be accessible to all visitors. The facility is wheelchair accessible, with elevators and ramps throughout the building. Wheelchairs are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign language interpreters and assisted listening devices can also be arranged with prior notice. The aquarium’s staff is dedicated to ensuring that everyone can enjoy a wonderful and inclusive experience.

Exploring The New England Aquarium In Boston