The New England Aquarium (aka the Boston Aquarium) is a worldwide leader in marine conservation and ocean exploration. It gets more than a million visitors per year and is one of the premier Boston visitor attractions as well as a major resource for public education Located at 1 Central Wharf, it’s close to Long Wharf and Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall. And, if you’re planning an upcoming visit to Boston, the Aquarium also offers some excellent lodging deals with its partner hotels. Many of them are just a short cab ride away or even within walking distance of the Aquarium.
The Best Time of the Day to Visit The Aquarium
Avoiding peak times is your best bet. When is the busiest time of day at the Aquarium? It’s in the middle of the day. So, arriving at opening (9 am except for Fridays when it’s 10 am) can help you to beat the crowds. Then, when midday hits and it’s more crowded, you can take a break, have a nice long lunch, and enjoy the panoramic harbor views.
Best Days of the Week to Visit
Saturdays are generally the busiest day of the week with Mondays actually running a close second and are often even busier than Sundays although most people would think that Sundays are worse. The least crowded days for visiting the Aquarium are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The Best Time of the Year to Visit
Since Boston’s on the East Coast, then, of course, Spring, Summer, and Fall are the best times of the year to visit the Aquarium based on the weather. However, if the heat bothers you or anyone in your party, you might want to avoid Summer visits. Fall and Winter hours are in effect from September 7th to May 26th and are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday with Saturday and Sunday hours from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The Aquarium is closed on both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
What to Wear
To fully enjoy your Aquarium visit, there are a few outfits and shoe dos and don’ts that you’ll want to follow. First of all, you’ll want to wear something comfortable or maybe even make a fashion statement with a bold Hawaiian shirt. For the ladies, a casual top and jeans work well, and perhaps a cute baseball cap for looking extra chill. Guys, shorts in the summer and jeans during cooler weather are the word of the day. And, don’t forget to wear your most comfortable shoes. You also might want to consider bringing a light sweater or jacket. Even during warmer weather, it can get chilly when you’re inside.
What Is There to See & How Long Does it Take?
There are literally thousands of aquatic animals to see, from fearsome lionfish to the highly-intelligent giant Pacific octopus. And then there are the lumbering green sea turtles and spry sea lions from California. The “Science of Sharks” lets you meet some small (but mighty) sharks in that exhibit. You can even explore a Caribbean reef that towers up to four stories and say hello to some penguins from all over the world. You should plan on spending at least two hours at the Aquarium to allow ample time for exploring the touch tanks and the animal exhibits. However, that being said, you really should plan for quite a bit more time if you also want to take the amazing whale watch tours as they last three to four hours, or the visually exciting IMAX films, which last 35 to 45 minutes. So, why not just make a day of it?
How Much it Costs
Ticket Pricing for Aquarium Admission and a Giant Screen Theatre Experience (seven days a week) is $39 for adults, $30 for children, and $37 for seniors. Aquarium-only tickets run $34 for adults, $25 for children, and $32 for seniors. Members enter free. The Simons Theatre will be open seven days per week and the first showtime is generally 20 minutes following the Aquarium opening and the final showtime of the day is 40 minutes prior to the Aquarium closing. The Simons Theatre-only tickets cost $10 for adults, adult members pay $9, $8 for children or $7 for children who are members, and $8 for seniors. You can purchase tickets up to 180 days in advance of your visit.
If you’re planning a special event, the Aquarium is a great place for it. Hosting an event at the New England Aquarium can make it really special. From weddings to corporate events, you’ll be supporting the Aquarium’s animals, exhibits, and efforts to keep protecting the blue planet. And, their management team is always ready, willing, and able to assist you each and every step of the way from making that all-important decision about which of their many beautiful event spaces would be the perfect spot for your upcoming social function to the creation of the ideal menu for complementing your special occasion.
Hungry? The Aquarium has partnered with Patina Restaurant Group for all of its food service offerings to give guests the highest quality cuisine, genuine hospitality, and exceptional service. There are three great options, including:
1: The Central Snack Bar on Central Wharf Plaza is right in front of the Aquarium, offering beverages, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, and snacks from 11 am to 3 pm Monday thru Friday and 11 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday.
2: Harbor View Café features grilled items, pizza, salads, sandwiches, snacks, and soup in a casual setting with counter-service and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer amazing Boston Harbor views. This cafe is perfect if you’re looking for a quick bite and is located on Level 2. It’s also conveniently stroller and wheelchair accessible via an elevator. The Harbor View Café is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 am to 4 pm. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
3: The Reef is a bar that’s located on the Aquarium Plaza and offers both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages along with sine really stunning views overlooking Long Wharf and Boston Harbor. It serves mostly light bites like appetizers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, and spectacular New England clam chowder. The Reef is open Monday thru Sunday from Noon to 7 pm.
The Aquarium Gift Shop, which is located adjacent to the Aquarium lobby, offers a wide range of both educational and fun products from books to clothing, stuffed animals, and other toys. In addition, gift cards are available and are also good for admission to the Aquarium and Simons Theatre as well as food served in the Harbor View Café, and whale watches. They also offer some gift shop packs that are specially designed for school field trips and/or other group visits. You can also buy Aquarium gift cards online and all of the proceeds from merchandise sales go directly to supporting the Aquarium’s conservation, education, and research programs. And, you don’t need a ticket for visiting the Gift Shop. The Aquarium Gift Shop is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday thru Friday and on weekends from 9 am to 6 pm. It’s closed on both Thanksgiving and Christmas day.
Will you have to pay for parking at the Boston Aquarium? Yes, parking on both weekdays and weekends will cost you $28 for up to eight hours. However, parking validation is also if available you’re a Whale Watch patron taking a ticket only. Note: Don’t pre-pay with your credit card when you enter the parking garage.
Being located just 237 yards away from MBTA’s Aquarium Station makes using public transportation to get to and from the Aquarium quick and easy. You can also avoid parking fees and traffic plus there’s an elevator to provide easy wheelchair access to the station and platforms. It’s only a three-minute walk from the Aquarium and trains are arriving every five to six minutes during peak service hours (Weekdays from 7 to 9 am and 4 to 6:30 pm).
Hours of Operation
The Aquarium’s Spring and Summer Hours (May 27 thru September 6) are Monday thru Thursday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Fridays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The last entry time will be for one hour and twenty minutes before closing. Your time in the Aquarium is not limited or restricted, and you are allowed to take as long as you would like to enjoy the Aquarium.
Best Times To Visit The New England Aquarium article published on BigCityReview.com© 2022
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