The New England Aquarium, which opened in 1969, is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation. The Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston, with over 1.3 million visitors a year, and is a major public education resource.
NEA is redefining what it means to be an aquarium: combining education, entertainment and action to address the most challenging problems facing the ocean. Through a wide variety of educational programs and conservation initiatives, they are making a lasting impact both locally and globally.
The Aquarium wouldn’t exist without the vision and dedication of David B. Stone, he was the principal founder of the Aquarium. Over the course of six decades, David helped lead the effort to build what has become one of the most popular and prominent public aquariums in North America. The David B. Stone Award is presented to individuals or organizations for distinguished service on behalf of the oceans. The award was established in 1970 in honor of the principal founder.
The New England Aquarium’s immersive Animal Encounter programs will take your visit to a whole new level. Experiences range from perching on top of the four-story Giant Ocean Tank and feeding the animals, meeting Centenarian Myrtle the Turtle or swimming with the harbor seals.
Whether you have an unquenchable curiosity about marine animals or you want a brand new perspective on popular exhibits, these unique opportunities are designed for the Aquarium superfan.
Meet Myrtle the Turtle
Myrtle the green sea turtle is our most famous resident. This brand-new encounter gives you a deep understanding of her home—the sparkling, four-story Giant Ocean Tank. You’ll start with a personalized tour spiraling up the exhibit’s ramp alongside staff members who know Myrtle and her tank mates best. Leave the public exhibit path and slip behind the scenes for a guided peek at the science, technology and husbandry necessary to manage this 200,000-gallon exhibit. Every day is different, you never know what you’ll see. The highlight of the experience is a chance to go onto the platform where surface feedings take place. You might serve up fish to barracuda, krill to needlefish or even a head of lettuce to Myrtle herself.
Offered 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays (except Christmas and Thanksgiving)
Lasts about 1 hour; Limited to 2 participants per session
For visitors ages 13 and older, visitors younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult
Cost: $125 plus the cost of admission, admission is required ($110 for Members)
Take a Dip with the Harbor Seals
Come face to face with our charming harbor seals! This popular program gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the harbor seal’s plaza exhibit to see and experience what it’s like to be a trainer. You’ll even get into the water with the seal! Once you’re in their element, you could be asked to help feed the seal, give hand signals and touch the animal. As if being able to touch a seal or sea lion isn’t exciting enough, most of the time the seals are willing to give a kiss, too.
Offered daily at 11 am, dates are subject to vary
Lasts between 30 – 45 minutes
$125 plus the cost of admission, and admission is required ($110 for Members)
2 participants, one in water and one observer
Age limits: for ages 13 and older
This program runs from May through October.
Meet and Greet the Northern Fur Seals
Come behind the scenes and get to know a Northern fur seal! Join marine mammal trainers in the open-air New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center exhibit and you will have a variety of opportunities to interact with the seals. Interactions vary from day to day. You could touch a seal’s thick fur, get a flipper shake or even play a game of “copy cat.” Most of the time the seals are willing to give a kiss as well!
Offered weekends at 10:15 am;
Lasts approximately 30 minutes
$75 plus Aquarium admission ($65 for Members)
Age limits 7 years old – adult (7 – 9 year olds must be accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the program.)
Animal Encounter programs fill up quickly. Be sure to reserve your space. Call Central Reservations at 617-973-5206 before your visit to book a memorable up-close experience.