Top Tips for Visiting the New England Aquarium

Our top tips for visiting the New England Aquarium in Boston!

We love the New England Aquarium: from the awe-inspiring Giant Ocean Tank teeming with diverse marine species to the interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages, the New England Aquarium is a worthwhile destination for the family. We have done years of family memberships to this local treasure.

8 Tips
Sea turtle in a large aquarium tank
  1. Penguin Feeding: The biggest draw for me is checking out the penguins. I love that you can see them as you walk up and down the ramps all the way to the top floor of the building. Don’t miss the penguin feeding sessions. Check the schedule to catch these adorable birds being fed and learn more about their behaviors. Check HERE for the schedule.
  2. Baby wear! Avoid bringing strollers! The aquarium is a tight space and can be very busy, especially on the weekends. I would avoid strollers altogether – and the elevators too if you are able. This will make for easier navigation throughout the museum.
  3. Immersive Giant Ocean Tank: Spend extra time at the Giant Ocean Tank, a four-story coral reef exhibit. We play “i-spy” all the way up looking for eels and (another personal favorite) Myrtle the turtle. Attend the presentations to gain insights into the diverse marine life within.
  4. Simons IMAX Theatre: Consider catching a show at the Simons IMAX Theatre within the aquarium. We haven’t taken part in this wonderful addition. It does cost extra,  It’s a great way to experience marine life on a larger-than-life screen.
  5. Harbor Seal Exhibit: Visit the harbor seal exhibit, where you can observe these playful marine mammals. There are seal training sessions that are incredibly fun and informative. It does get busy in this area, so check the schedule and make a plan to stake out your spot early.A sea lion and a little girl looking at each other through glass
  6. Aquarium Gift Shop: Visit the gift shop for unique marine-themed souvenirs. Or, if you don’t plan to purchase anything, avoid it altogether – and avoid any tears about not getting the cuddly penguin on sale. However, we have enjoyed this shop – finding unique science gifts and it’s a great place to find mementos to remember your visit.
  7. Aquarium Plaza: Spend some time in the outdoor Aquarium Plaza. We love to watch the manatees in the outdoor tank. And the walk around the building offers beautiful views of the waterfront and is a relaxing spot to take a break.
  8. Aquarium Membership: The cost of this membership is worth it if you plan to visit just twice in a year. You can get discounted parking as well as discounts in the museum shop with this membership. If you want to add a whale watch onto your visit, you receive 20% off with an aquarium membership. It is also tax-deductible!

Remember to check the New England Aquarium’s website for any updates, special events, or specific guidelines before your visit. Enjoy your time exploring the wonders of the Boston aquarium.


Although the Aquarium doesn’t have their own garage, there are 5 parking garages all within a very short walk. We like to park at Harbor Garage.  It is pricey but members get a discount.  The other nearby garages offer discounts with an aquarium validation. Visit the aquarium Information Desk (Level 1) to get your ticket validated.

What to do After your Aquarium Visit

We usually walk over to Quincy Market for a bite to eat and some shopping. In the summer, we walk down Kennedy Rose Walkway and the kids play in the fountains. They always beg to ride the carousel as well.

Boston Market is another good spot that is an easy walk from the aquarium to get some lunch or dinner. On a nice day, we take lunch to go and bring it outside for a picnic.

Do you have any tips for visiting the New England Aquarium?  Let us know in the comments below!

New England Aquarium Logo

New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf
Boston, MA 02110

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