The New England Aquarium strives to connect our neighbors with the ocean and to participate as members of a community who protect the blue planet. Each year, the Aquarium delivers programs to more than 30,000 children and families through programs at community centers, community festivals, libraries, science nights and admission programs.
Community Events: Book an Aquarium Open House Program for Your Special Event
Our Open House program is great for festivals, library events, family days, science nights and more! Program components can vary based on your event, and may include live tidepool animals or interactive exhibit stations. The program can last from two to five hours.
For more information on how to bring the Aquarium Open House to your event, please complete the community event request form.
Community Visits to the Aquarium
Free Aquarium admission is offered to many children from Boston community-based organizations. For more information or to see if your organization is eligible, see our eligibility requirements and complete the community program application form.
School groups are not eligible for free admission through this program. School groups can apply for free admission as part of the Aquarium's "Free to Learn" Free Admission Program.
After School and Summer Programs: Book a Program to Visit your Center
Aquarium staff and teen interns present hands-on traveling exhibits that allow children to observe, touch and learn about marine animals and habitats. Programs are built on science concepts and presented in a fun, interactive way to create local connections and build skills. Free programs are offered during the school year and summer to qualifying organizations in Boston and Cambridge. For more information or to see if your group is eligible, please complete the community program application form.
Community outreach programs only travel to schools for after school programs one to three times each season; see school programs for more information about programs offered during school time or booking an after school series of six or more programs. Below are our popular community outreach programs.
Learn about the biology of this popular crustacean and the lobster fishery in New England. Participants will interact with a real lobster trap, learn about sustainable lobster fishing and even meet a real live lobster!
Traveling Tidepool Program
Our popular traveling tidepool exhibit may be considered our signature program. The program allows participants to handle and observe a wide range of live tidepool animals from local waters to help build an understanding of habitats and adaptations.
In this program, participants handle real shark jaws and skin, identify the biggest and smallest sharks and learn about the many special adaptations that make sharks efficient predators. Program support provided by National Grid.
This program teaches participants about penguin biology and behavior while building math skills in data collection and graphing. Learn about the biggest and smallest species of penguins, where they live and how fast they can swim!