New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium, Boston: Hours, Address, New England Aquarium Reviews: 4/5

New England Aquarium
4
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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About
The New England Aquarium is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation. With more than 1.3 million visitors a year, the Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston and a major public education resource for the region. During your visit, reach out and gently touch cownose rays, Atlantic rays, and epaulette sharks as they swim through The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank, then dive into the Science of Sharks at our exhibit featuring shark species from around the world. Meet three different species of penguins and pet a sea star, meet a lobster, or cradle a hermit crab at the Edge of the Sea’s tidepool touch tank. Wind your way along the four-story Giant Ocean Tank and be mesmerized by the 200,000-gallon Caribbean coral reef exhibit teeming with more than 1,000 marine animals. The Aquarium has something to entertain visitors of all ages and Aquarium educators are always present to answer any questions.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Downtown
The largest area of the city, Downtown is rich with historical and iconic sites in Boston. Stroll through one of Boston’s most famous green spaces, the Boston Public Gardens, check out and make way for duckling statues, picnic under a beautiful tree overlooking the pond, and walk over the iconic footbridge where, during summer time, you will catch a swan boat toting children and eager tourists through the pond. Have your camera ready to capture its peaceful beauty in the middle of a bustling city. Continue on through the Gardens and take in some open green space at the Boston Common, where you can spend time throwing a frisbee, sitting on a park bench, or, in the winter time, skating on the frog pond. Head north from the end of the Common to see the golden dome of the State House, and travel through government center to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, both a historic and popular destination worth a quick visit for a first time to Boston. Head to Long Wharf to visit the Aquarium, or catch a boat to Charlestown or even Cape Cod.
How to get there
  • Aquarium • 2 min walk
  • State • 8 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
5,726 reviews
Excellent
2,358
Very good
1,863
Average
1,086
Poor
293
Terrible
128

Michelle T
New York City, NY573 contributions
We were in Boston during the Fourth of July week and I was struggling to find a museum or indoor attraction that was open on July 4th. It's been a hot and humid summer in NY, so I didn't want to risk being outdoors in the heat with my in-laws.

I had purchased tickets in advance online. It looks like there are only about 120 tickets per time slot, so there is some kind of reduced admission involved. However, it was pretty packed when we arrived at 9am. When we left around 11am, the line to get in and buy tickets was looong.

This review is based off of 4 adults visiting. We have no idea if any of the exhibits were interactive enough or easily understandable enough for children.

I enjoyed my time at the NEA. The penguin exhibit was really cool - most aquariums have enclosed penguin exhibits where the glass is so stained that you can't even see them clearly. This was not the case here. You can see the penguins being fed and staff cleaning the enclosures.

The big tank in the middle of the aquarium was pretty neat. We walked all the way up to the top, where you can see the turtles surfacing to breathe. We caught an intern working with the divers so he answered a ton of questions about the tank and the animals inside. Super cool.

It does get crowded and masking is not enforced if you're unvaccinated. We're all vaccinated, but kept our masks on since there were so many children around. If you're uncomfortable with this type of situation, I would recommend that you do not visit at this time.
Written July 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Samantha
Alden, NY12 contributions
Friends
The aquarium itself was great! The staff keep the exhibits super clean and you can tell that they take pride in their aquarium. However for being a weekday it was way too crowded, and other customers lack respect. People plow through tight spaces with their strollers and block off areas to see and view exhibits, it's super frustrating. Also, even when waiting patiently people and their kids would cut in front to view exhibits. I was also disappointed that the touch tanks were closed. I'm assuming they are due to COVID, however I went to another aquarium in PA that had their touch tanks open last month. I would have liked to spend more time in the aquarium but due to to the crowds it just wasn't as enjoyable as I hoped it would be!
Written July 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cat D
10 contributions
I remember this aquarium being much more fun as a kid and it being a lot bigger than what it was. (not sure if some things were closed because of it being winter) but I was slightly disappointed. Went by so quick and was so packed. Would be great for kids. the penguins were great as was the huge tank that you get to walk all the way to the top to see. However, the little tanks on the side were just okay. Cafe on the top level is way overpriced (suggest eating elsewhere) and buy tickets ahead of time as the line gets very long.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

who_we_talkin_about
Topeka592 contributions
This was the second and last time we will visit the Aquarium. When we visited it was pouring down rain. We stood in the rain while only half their windows were running to allow you to buy your ticket. Lack of staff? No, they had bunches of staff inside to take your picture and charge you more money, but no one to help you get out of the rain. The exhibits are nice, but the price you pay is way too much for the cost. Go the theatre next door. That was a good value.
Written August 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CFM
Lenox, MA376 contributions
Couples
I was really surprised how small this place was considering it’s price. Took 30 min to tour. They did have some amazing tanks so I would say she small but mighty. I was upset with the over crowding of some of the tanks however. 4 adults was about $150 guess I was just expecting a day trip. Tried to buy a small souvenir magnet and is was $13. No thanks.
Written June 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

rockwood13
Needham, MA611 contributions
Went to the Aquarium on a cloudy and cold Monday in January with my wife and daughter. Took the train into South Station and then made the 15 to 20 minute walk down Atlantic Avenue to the Aquarium. When we arrived around 11:40 there was no line at the ticket booths which made it quick to get our tickets. Outside the aquarium is a glass open air tank where you can usually view seals and sea lions cavorting between some rocks. This exhibit can be viewed without buying a ticket to the aquarium. After watching the seals and sea lions for a short time we entered the aquarium. Close to the front door is an area where you can rent lockers to hold your coat and items such as backpacks and there are also restrooms. The main part of the Aquarium is a large cylindrical tank which visitors circle around to the top to view the different fish and turtles that live there. If you are lucky you can also see divers feeding the fish at different times of day. On the main floor surrounding the tank are two large pools with exhibits of two different types of penguins which are interesting to watch, especially when they are swimming or being fed. At different levels of the tank there are places you can exit the ramps and view large tanks with different types of fish from places in the U. S. and around the world. At the top of the ramp you can climb up a set of steps and look down at the top of the large tank where there is often a sea turtle swimming around or resting. During our visit it wasn't too crowded so you could easily see the exhibits. Many times the aquarium is packed with school children on field trips which makes it hard to get around. Young children particularly like the parts of the aquarium where you can touch some of the aquatic animals. Since our last visit there was a nice new area where you can reach into a pool and touch skates and stingrays as they swim by. I do miss the floating ship that they used to have where they put on shows with seals and sea lions. The aquarium also has a small restaurant where you can buy simple prepared foods like grilled cheese, hamburgers, chicken fingers and other items of that type. My wife and I brought sandwiches but our daughter purchased a grilled cheese and chips meal which she said was okay but not great. Associated with the aquarium is an IMAX movie theater which shows movies related to aquatic creatures which costs an additional fee than if you just visit the aquarium proper. All in all we had a very pleasant visit to the aquarium and got in a good walk. To cut down on the cost of visiting the aquarium we were able to make use of a program offered by our town library which allowed us to use a pass to get 50 per cent off the price of admission.
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bmsabry
Albany, NY119 contributions
Family
Start by calling to reserve Your admission time. They will email you confirmation so keep that handy in your phone or print it if you don’t have a phone.

Tips/plan:

1. We purchased city pass which provides admission to 4 attractions (Museum of science, Franklin Zoo, Aquarium and the USS constitution cruise). Thank God this saves the family good amount of money. Search online and purchase the passes from their website. They will email you the passes and you will need to show them. We stayed at Sonesta in Burlington. It is about 30 minutes drive from all attractions. The two bedroom suites are perfect for families of 4 and up to 8. They are affordable but not renovated. Nothing fancy for the stay but it will be good. Near by grocery and food so you will do well.
2. There are several parking options around the area. Most convenient was one across the road (close to where you board the USS constitution cruise). It is literally 7 minutes walk or so. It is a small spot and you pay $30 for the day.
3. It will take 1 hour or so to see everything. The advertised 3 hours is miss leading. This is a very small aquarium.
4. Take some snacks and water bottles in your back pack to save money.
5. We reserved the USS constitution cruise first (the 10:30 slot). Then the aquarium at noon. This way you do booth attractions the same day and this makes sense since they are very close. The cruise is 45 minutes.
6. Remember your masks.

Praying this is good and happy experience for you and your family.
Written August 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sherri M
Plainville, MA153 contributions
I hadn't been to the aquarium in probably 10 years, and over the holidays we took a family that was visiting us.  I was hugely disappointed. The biggest disappointment was the sea lion show.  We stopped what we were doing to get there 15 minutes early and were happy to snag the last few seats in the seating area.  We were feeling pretty good about our choice to arrive early as piles of people were standing along the plastic walls of the enclosure.  The sea lions came out and took up positions all around the tank to be introduced.  We couldn't see even one animal, since they were all up close to the walls on the deck, but we had a great view of the stage area.  The announcer said the animals were going through some of their moves (all around the pool, up against the walls where we couldn't see even one of them, even though we were sitting in the second row), and went through a little talk on how to tell the difference between seals and sea lions. Then all the sea lions started heading towards the stage, and then they all went behind the stage, and the show was over. That was it.  We never saw a single sea lion from our second row seats, except as they were walking to and from the holding area behind the stage. 

Other things have changed noticeably as well. For example, they have a sign up saying they no longer have medium sized sharks because they realized those sharks were probably unhappy swimming in a tank. 

All in all, it was a total bummer. I was almost embarrassed at how lame it was, considering they live less than 30 minutes from the Long Beach Aquarium.  Three of the four members of the other family spent most of the time we were there (maybe 3 hours tops, including the 30 minutes for the lousy sea lion show) just sitting on the scattered benches waiting for the one kid who found things interesting. I will never take anyone there ever again.  $30 pp to get in and $30 to park for 2.5 hours.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Charlie1116
3 contributions
Do not waste any portion of your day here. This was a complete waste of time and money. If this is supposed to be the best aquarium in the United States, then that doesn’t say much for aquariums in general. I’ve been to Mystic’s Aquarium in CT which has also gotten worse over the years , but it’s still a much better experience than this overpriced dump..

There were no dolphins, no sea lions, no decent sized sharks, no whales, hardly any seals, no shows, and it was very confined and cramped as well as run down looking inside. The lack of exhibits and quality of what they had was poor, never again!!
Written June 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Klaus McCarthy
Rochester, NY11 contributions
Family
While on our trip to Boston, me and my family spent a day at the aquarium. The staff were very kind and informative. They took into account social distancing and made sure everyone was wearing their masks. They had paths to follow so people weren't crowding each other, multiple hand sensitizing stations throughout the aquarium, and pre recorded reminders that aired to the entire aquarium via the P.A system.
Written August 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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