Aquariums, oceans, lakes...we're pretty obsessed with water. We take field trips to the Ocean, obsess over movies about the ocean, and are fascinated by places that teach us more about the animals that live there.
When we travel we often end up at one or more of these places and we have found some awesome Aquariums around the US.
We headed to Boston for the weekend and a trip to the New England Aquarium was high on our list.
If you can, I recommend taking the train which lets you off right at the aquarium. There is also parking (kind of expensive parking) in a garage right by the aquarium as well.
If we lived in Boston I would definitely get a membership. This is one of those places that is full of things to see and we could not see them all in the 3 hours we spent at the aquarium. A membership is definitely the cost effective way to go if you think you're going to be repeat visitors.
In our case we bought Aquarium and Whale Watching tickets as a combo which offered us a little bit of a discount on both. The whale watching boats dock across the harbor (aka super close) so doing them both in a day is very doable.
Kids under 3 are always FREE. There are also discounts for various groups including military and teachers. You can see their full list of discounts here.
One of the benefits of having little kids that wake you up with the sun is that we are able to get places early. We arrived at the aquarium right around 9 when they opened and I'm so glad we did. By 10:30 there was a marked increase in the number of people.
Check the events for the day when you get there.
We went to the seal show and it was definitely a highlight. Tip: get there at least 15 minutes ahead of time if you don't want to balance your kid on your shoulders for the entire show so they can see.
For reasons I don't completely understand touching a shark is HUGELY popular. Head to that area first so you don't have to fight crowds later. Also don't miss the handwashing station on your way out.
The Turtle Hospital is downstairs from the shark pool and this was one of our favorite parts of the aquarium. It's tiny and kind of hidden, but it is packed with fun, hands on ways to explore turtles and being a vet. My kids loved practicing being vets and caring for the turtles. They did not want to leave.
When you're done with the sharks and being a vet, head to the main part of the aquarium and start at the top. Ride the elevator all the way to the top and then work your way down the spiral.
Two reasons - little legs last longer walking downhill rather than up and when you get to the bottom you're at the exit and it's easier to usher them out the door.
The sea lions are outside on the bottom floor of the main building. The feeding/show was a definitely highlight so don't forget to pop out there. Do note that you will be exposed to the elements a little.
It is not going to surprise you to learn that a lot of people go to the aquarium every day.
Get there early. Pace yourself. Pay attention to hunger. It is a busy place, not huge but busy and full of information and exhibits.
There is a cafe area where you can take a snack or meal break whenever needed. Or, if you're a local, you can always get a membership and come back another day!
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