The New England Aquarium's immersive Animal Encounter programs take your visit to a whole new level—from perching on top of the four-story Giant Ocean Tank and feeding the animals or going behind the scenes of your favorite exhibits. Be sure to bring your curiosity and questions! 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.


Take a Peek Behind the Tank

The gleaming exhibits on every floor of the New England Aquarium tell just a part of the story. Behind the scenes there are more fish tanks, plus pipes and hoses and food and a lot of hard work that goes into keeping the Aquarium running smoothly. Get a personalized peek at the life behind the glass of one of our many galleries. You’ll join an educator and head where the action is that day to see aquarists at work. Bring your questions and sponge up all there is to learn about what the animals eat, how their tanks are maintained, how sick animals are nursed back to health and a host of other insider tidbits.


  • Offered twice daily, 11 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Last about 45 minutes
  • Limited to groups of 8 people
  • For visitors ages 7 and up, and are especially interesting for adult visitors
  • Cost: $20 per person, plus the cost of admission, and admission is required ($18 for Members)
  • Call Central Reservations at 617-973-5206 to book.


Meet MyrtleNEW!

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 per person, plus the cost of admission, admission is required ($110 for Members)
  • Call Central Reservations at 617-973-5206 to book.


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 per person, 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.

Call Central Reservations at 617-973-5206 to book these marine mammal programs.


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 per person, plus Aquarium admission ($65 for Members)
  • 2 participants
  • Age limits 7 years old - adult (7 - 9 year olds must be accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the program.)

How to Book

Our popular 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.