New England Aquarium

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New England Aquarium
Photograph: 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
Address: 1 Central Wharf

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

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Meredith R

Do you like penguins? Or getting up close and personal with sea life? Or watching sea lions play? You have come to the right place. This is a kid-friendly activity sure to please adults too. 

The aquarium opens on a huge penguin habitat where you can witness them playing king of the rock. Once that gets old (it might not), you venture up a winding path around a central aquarium full of critters. Sea Turtles and a full spectrum of fish fill the enormous multi-story tank that leads you through all sorts of other exhibits. 

It isn't a see only experience. There's also a hands-on zone where you can actually interact with sea creatures that live in more shallow waters in the wild. 

The only negative is the smell. A very sea-filled, pungent wall hits you when you get in and does not go away. On the whole, it's more than worth it (and made me incredibly excited for an upcoming dive trip.