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


prac_info Central Wharf • 617 973 5200 • “T” station: Aquarium (blue line) • for general info, including current IMAX® features • Open 9am–5pm Mon–Fri, 9am–6pm Sat & Sun (extended hours Jul–Aug) • Adm adults $27.95; seniors $25.95; children (aged 3–11) $18.95; under 3s free

prac_info Whale Watch: 617 973 5206 for reservations and rate information

prac_info IMAX: call 866 815 IMAX (4629) for show times; Adm: adults $9.95; seniors and children (aged 3–11) $7.95

Google Map

  • If the aquarium has not convinced you to remove fish from your diet, visit Legal Harborside for a moderately priced meal (see Legal Harborside). Quick, quality bites from around the globe can also be had at the Quincy Market food hall, three blocks away.
  • Purchase discount combo tickets for the aquarium along with an IMAX film or a whale-watching excursion.

1. Penguin Exhibit

Three species of penguins – southern Rockhoppers, Little Blue, and African – coexist here, frolicking on the central island and taking dips in the pool.


Little Blue penguins

2. Yawkey Coral Reef Center

This exhibit reveals a closeup look at species found inhabiting the coral reefs of the Caribbean, including long-spined sea urchins and gently swaying garden eels that burrow together in colonies.

3. Edge of the Sea

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

4. Atlantic Harbor Seal Exhibit

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.


Harbor seals at the aquarium

5. Marine Mammal Center

Observe Northern fur seals as they frolic in an open-air exhibit at the edge of the Boston Harbor. Meet the seals and sea lions face-to-face at the large observation deck.

6. Pacific Reef

A Pacific coral reef teems with brightly colored inhabitants, including unicorn tangs, bird wrasses, and blue-striped cleaner fish, in tanks, filled with painted artificial coral. Children will love spotting the blue palette surgeon-fish – the forgetful Dory in Finding Nemo.


An inhabitant of the Pacific coral reef

7. Giant Ocean Tank

Displaying a spectacular four-story Caribbean reef, the Giant Ocean Tank teems with sea turtles, sharks, moray eels, brightly colored tropical fish, and scores of other species in its 200,000-gallon (900,000-liter) space.


The Giant Ocean Tank with stairs around it

8. Shark and Ray Touch Tank

One of the largest of its kind in the country, this mangrove-themed tank has shallow edges and viewing windows, allowing visitors to roll up their sleeves to feel the velvety wings of stingrays and the abrasive skin of sharks.


Visitors at the touch-and-feel shark and stingray tank

9. Whale Watch

The aquarium’s whale watch catamarans, running mid-March to mid-November, offer a unique glimpse into the life cycles of the world’s largest mammals. The swift boats voyage far outside Boston Harbor to the Stellwagen Bank, a prime feeding area for whales.

10. Gulf of Maine

This six-tank exhibit shows New England's marine and seashore environments inhabited by giant sea stars, sharp-clawed crustaceans, and cold water fish such as cod, halibut, and dogfish.


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.

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