New England Aquarium

© Elan Fleisher

The breathtaking centerpiece of this excellent aquarium is the colossal 200,000-gallon salt-water replica of a Caribbean coral reef. The cylindrical tank, 40ft in diameter and three stories tall, is alive with moray eels, stingrays, gigantic sea turtles and menacing sharks. On a smaller scale, a touch tank exhibit lets children stick their hands into the cold water of a tidal basin and get up close and personal with starfish, sea urchins and hermit crabs. The huge indoor penguin exhibit (constructed so almost all of the balconies overlook it) is a hoot. If the lines are too long, peek at the playful inhabitants of the outdoor seal enclosure instead. The IMAX theatre offers state-of-the-art 3D glasses to put viewers in the middle of the action. From April to October, the Aquarium runs a naturalist-narrated whale watch boat trip, which visits one of the largest whale feeding grounds in the world.

Venue name: New England Aquarium
Contact:
Address: 1 Central Wharf
Boston

Cross street: at Atlantic Avenue
Opening hours: July-Aug 9am-6pm Sun-Thur; 9am-7pm Fri-Sat; Sept-June 9am-5pm Mon-Fri; 9am-6pm Sat-Sun.
Transport: Blue line to Aquarium
Price: Admission $25