The aquarium is centered around a circular Giant Ocean Tank with a ramp and viewing windows winding up three stories. On the ground floor, the tank is surrounded by penguin exhibits and additional exhibits are on the outer walls on three levels. This is a popular attraction, but crowds don’t pick up until an hour after opening on weekends and holidays.
Our New England Aquarium highlights:
“Chasing” the Atlantic Harbor Seals. In an outdoor tank (no admission needed) behind the ticket booths, harbor seals swim and play. They are clearly comfortable hamming for visitors, the youngest who like following the seals up and around the tank. It’s a great occupation for kids while mom waits in line to buy tickets.
Playing the light game with the African Penguins. It’s easily overlooked but along the railing of the African Penguin pool, right before you get to the Little Blue Penguin pool, is a joystick and red button. The joystick guides the light along the bottom of the pool, and penguins chase after it like a dog after a mailman. Mirielle I must have spent 15 minutes playing with the aquatic birds, giggling up a storm the whole time. The penguins seemed just as amused.
Watching divers feed the Sharks. It must have been the first time Mirielle saw a scuba diver, but she became instantly fascinated with what they were doing with the fish, how they were breathing underwater, how many were in the tank, what kind of clothes they were wearing, etc. I loved sitting in the windows with Mirielle waiting for the sharks to swim by the window, close enough to count all three rows of teeth.
Counting Giant Pacific Octopus legs. The octopus is an under appreciated animal. It’s funny looking and moves slowly, but it’s one of the smartest (and tastiest if prepared well) fish in the sea. There is nothing more beautiful than watching the octopus “walk” by curling and uncurling it’s legs and Mirielle was excited to work with nearby kids to count the legs.
Trippin’ out with the Jellyfish. I avoid them in the water, but love to watch their fluid play in stylishly lit tanks. They were tucked away in a corner of the aquarium, but worth searching out.
We are looking forward to visiting the new Shark & Ray Touch Tank on our next visit and maybe taking a Whale Watching Tour. Adjacent to the aquarium is an IMAX theater which shows aquatic & naturalist films. Admission is extra and buy in advance.
Also on site is the Harbor View Cafe which serves a variety of foods including sustainable seafood in a pleasant environment designed to keep the whole family happy.
New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA, (617) 973-5206. Take the T to the Blue Line Aquarium stop. Check the website for hours and admission at http://www.neaq.org/index.php.