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We have lived coast to coast in just the last eight years as a family. We moved to New England almost two years ago, and I can say I am totally in love here. This family loves to explore our area starting with the biggest tourist areas and discovering those local hidden gems as we go along. Having a six-year-old, we are usually on the lookout for family-friendly activities too to keep him occupied, and much of what we find would be perfect even if you are visiting New England for a short amount of time on vacation.
If you are vacationing in New England and looking for something indoors to do, I have just the place. Whether you’re looking to beat the summer heat or the cold winter air and are in the Boston, MA area, I would head to the New England Aquarium. This is a family favorite for us, and we have been there a bunch of times.
Getting to the Aquarium
If you’ve never visited Boston, driving there can be an experience. If you don’t enjoy driving under the water in tunnels you’ll lose cell service in I suggest taking the T into the city. The blue line has the New England Aquarium stop and all the lines connect to the blue. The station is just feet away from the Aquarium too, so that’s a huge plus. If you prefer driving, parking can be pricey in Boston. There is a parking garage right next door you can try, but I suggest going all the way to the top during peak hours it’s also pretty pricey for the day. Before you go, check the website for their hours. The New England Aquarium has different hours for different times of the year.
Tickets to the New England Aquarium
Trust me on this, make your experience flawless from the start and get your tickets online. The ticket line can get crazy for visiting the Aquarium with kids can start off rocky in that long line.
What You’ll See at the New England Aquarium
We are a family of three, so naturally, we have three different things we make sure to check out each time. Lucky for me, my favorite exhibit is the penguins. These little cuties are front and center as soon as you enter the building. The Aquarium is set up around the giant ocean tank. The tank has a walkway that spirals down around it, and some walkways line the outer edge of the building. We always walk around the bottom floor checking out the penguins then we make our way up the outer edge.
Along the outer edge, you’ll find animals native to New England, Seadragons (my son’s favorite), the jellyfish, touch tanks, and the Rainforest. The outer edge is what takes us the longest to look through because there is just so much to see. You cannot miss looking at the octopuses! Those are my husband’s favorite, and they have two of them there. You’ll also find animals that do better in the dark. You’ll be able to spot them because their tanks are dark. Don’t be that asshole using flash photography to take their picture. Those people are the worst.
As you make your way to the very top floor, stop for a while and enjoy the 40 foot wide Giant Ocean Tank that in my opinion is the crowning jewel of the New England Aquarium. I could just sit there and watch the stingrays, turtles (Especially Myrtle the Sea Turtle), and fish swim.
If you are going with older kids who may not enjoy just looking at fish, the aquarium also has informational signs and interactive displays on all levels. The shark exhibit on the very bottom floor is definitely worth checking out as well. There you’ll get to touch some stingrays and see some Epaulette shark eggs in various stages. My 6-year-old was VERY interested in the whole shark exhibit. He also was very interested in the touch pools they had. We were, too!
Now, if you’ve followed my suggestion of walking up the outer edge enjoy your stroll back down to the ground floor around all sides of the Giant Oceans Tank. You’ll see so many different fish and eel as you make your way back down. Try to count the different fish you see! We lose track every time.
Visit the New England Aquarium
If you love fish and are looking for an indoor activity while visiting New England and the Boston area I highly suggest the New England Aquarium. Have you visited before? Leave me a comment below and let me know what your favorite exhibit was! If you are planning on visiting New England and are flying with children check out my tips on how to make flying with kids a breeze.