I heard membership levels are changing. Is that true?
Yes! As of April 3, 2017, the Aquarium began offering a new, tiered membership structure that gives you the opportunity to better customize your membership experience. Learn more about the changes and how they came to be here.
I’m going to join! Can I start using my benefits right away?
Yes! Regardless of how you join—online, in person, or over the phone—Aquarium admission benefits are available to you as soon as you complete your purchase. Please note, however, that memberships purchased online require a minimum of 48 hours to be processed into our system, which means that access to other member benefits and discounts, such as member IMAX® passes, Whale Watch tickets, and educational programs will not be available until after that time. To take immediate advantage of any such benefits, please purchase your membership in person in our lobby or by calling 617-973-6555 (Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).
What’s the difference between a Standard and Premium membership?
A Standard-level membership is a great choice for those who want to support the Aquarium while enjoying a year’s worth of Aquarium visits and special perks. Our new Premium levels are for those looking to enhance their member experience and delve a little deeper into the Aquarium’s mission to protect the blue planet. Learn more about both here.
How long is a membership good for? What if I want to upgrade at some point?
A membership is valid for 12 months from the time you purchase it. If you decide during your membership year that you would like to upgrade to a Premium or higher admission level, you may do so at any time. However, please note that we do not prorate our memberships. Regardless of when you upgrade, you will pay the difference between the full cost of the membership level you currently have and the level to which you are upgrading. Also please note that upgrading your membership does not extend your expiration date. If you are nearing the end of your membership year, you may wish to simply renew early at the higher level. Membership discounts are not applicable to upgrades.
Who may be named on my membership?
You may name up to two adults residing in the same household on your membership. For security reasons, it is Aquarium policy not to put minor’s names on membership cards. If you have a nanny/babysitter/caregiver who regularly brings the children of the member household to visit the Aquarium, we are happy to add his/her name to your membership record, but the caregiver’s name will not appear on the membership cards and his/her use of the membership will be limited to visits with your children.
I’m a member, but I can’t make it in today. Can I send family or friends instead?
Sorry, membership benefits are nontransferrable, which means that a legal resident of the member household must be present in order for the benefits of membership to be honored. We do reserve the right to request a picture ID, such as a driver’s license, when you are checking in for your visit.
How do I check in when I visit?
Aquarium members always go to the main lobby to check in―no need to stop at the Box Office.
If you have your valid membership card and do not need any additional tickets, you can take advantage of our express member check-in. Simply proceed directly to an entry scanner to the left of the Information Desk with your membership card and ID ready. An Aquarium staff member will scan your card and provide you and your party with hand stamps.
If you don’t have your card, want to purchase tickets, need to renew or update any of your membership information, or have any questions, you can visit the Information Desk in the lobby where our Member Services team will be happy to assist you.
I'm very excited about attending member events. How do they work?
We are pleased to offer an expanding roster of members-only events every year, from our family-favorites like Dive In! open houses and our annual Fish, Fun, and Fright Halloween party to our adult-oriented That’s A-Moray and Fin & Tonic evenings. Plus, in 2017, we were very excited to have added two new events exclusively for our Premium members!
Member events are extremely popular and can fill up very quickly. Details on upcoming events—including event descriptions, admission limits, registration/ticketing requirements, and (if any) cost—can be found online at neaq.org/memberevents. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for SeaMail, your month member e-newsletter, for late-breaking opportunities and announcements as well as event reminders.
We love when members share their Aquarium experience with family and friends, however, please remember that membership benefits are nontransferrable and a legal resident of the member household must be present and included in the party in order for any guests to be admitted to a member event. Also, please note that your membership must be active on the day you reserve as well as on the day of the event.
Many of our events are limited to the number of admissions permitted with your membership level. If you wish to bring more guests than your membership level allows, you may upgrade your membership to the next level simply by calling the Membership Department at 617-973-6555 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) prior to making your event reservations.
I thought I was supposed to get IMAX® passes with my membership but they weren’t in my packet. Where are they?
Standard 4 and higher member levels receive a select number of IMAX® e-passes, which are stored on your account in our ticketing system. You simply need to let the reservationist or cashier know that you want to use them at the time you are purchasing your tickets. Please note that e-passes are activated as soon as a new membership is entered into the system (there is a processing delay of at least 48 hours when you purchase a membership online) and are valid until the last day of your current membership. When you renew your membership, any new e-passes will become active the day after your previous membership expires.
Any paper passes you may be holding are good through the date indicated on them and may be redeemed in person at the Box Office, in the Aquarium lobby, or in the IMAX® Theatre. You may also make reservations over the phone (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) using paper passes, but please remember that you MUST bring the passes with you when you come to pick up your tickets, otherwise you will be required to pay for the reserved tickets.
All passes, whether paper or electronic, are valid only at the Simons IMAX® Theatre at the New England Aquarium, are one-time-use, and cannot be honored after their expiration date. We regret that we are not able to replace lost passes or extend expired passes.
I understand that I can get discounted tickets for myself and my guests. How does that work?
Members may purchase discounted tickets for as many additional guests as are covered by your membership level. For example, a Standard 4 level membership admits four people (one member and three guests) plus discounted admission may be purchased for four additional guests. Discounted tickets may be purchased at Member Services in the lobby when you arrive for your visit.
Is my membership tax-deductible?
The New England Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The amount of membership dues that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is the amount paid less the fair market value (FMV) of benefits provided in return, whether used or not. For New England Aquarium memberships, that FMV is determined by the value of the member IMAX® passes included with the membership level.
Your tax receipt is included on the “card carrier” in the packet with your membership cards. For memberships purchased on or after April 3, 2017, member IMAX passes are valued at $7.60 per pass provided with your membership level. For memberships purchased between March 1, 2016, and April 2, 2017, IMAX passes are valued at $7.55 per pass.
Please note that giving society levels (Conservation Society and higher) default to full tax deductibility by not automatically providing IMAX e-passes. Should you choose to accept the IMAX passes for which you are eligible with your giving society donation, your tax deductibility will be affected.
Membership rates and FMV are subject to change. We always recommend that you consult a tax advisor with questions.
My child is coming on a school trip. Can we use my membership to pay for that visit instead of paying for the school trip?
Sorry, membership admission privileges may not be applied to school trips, group visits, or nonmember events.
I haven’t received my membership cards yet and I’m planning a visit!
It normally takes four to six weeks to receive your membership cards in the mail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit the Aquarium in the meantime. Simply check in with Member Services in the Aquarium lobby with your temporary membership ticket (if you joined in person), your confirmation email (if you joined online), or a picture ID with your name/address (such as a driver’s license) and we will be happy to look you up in the system to get you on your way to a great visit!
Does the Aquarium have an automatic membership renewal program?
We sure do! Read all about our Auto Renew program and download your enrollment form at neaq.org/AutoRenew.
Does the Aquarium have reciprocity with other institutions?
No, we do not maintain reciprocal admission agreements with any other institutions at this time.
Will the Aquarium ever sell my information?
The New England Aquarium respects our members’ privacy and will never sell or exchange your email address or telephone number. Periodically, we may exchange member names and mailing addresses with local, like-minded, nonprofit organizations. If you prefer to opt out of opportunities arising from these collaborations, simply notify us at email@example.com or 617-973-6555 and we will be happy to accommodate your request. Please be aware that exchange lists are often pulled several weeks in advance of any given mailing. Please allow six to eight weeks for complete removal from our exchange list.
Does the Aquarium have a program that donates or sells memberships for local fundraising events?
Unfortunately, the Aquarium is not currently able to donate memberships. However, if you are interested in purchasing a membership to donate on your own to a fundraising auction or raffle, you may purchase a Prize of Membership online or by contacting the Membership Department at 617-973-6555 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).
Prizes of Membership are available in all of our household membership levels, Standard and Premium. After purchasing a Prize of Membership, you will be sent a Prize of Membership Certificate that can be redeemed by the recipient within 30 days of the fundraising event. Once redeemed, the membership will be valid for one full year from the date of redemption.
Have questions that aren’t answered here? Contact Membership at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-973-6555, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.