Aquarium staff and teen interns bring hands-on presentations to underserved non-profits to encourage local children to observe, touch, and learn about marine life.

Programs are built on science concepts and presented in a fun, interactive way to create local connections and build science skills. Our free programs can be hosted at your site one to three times a season.

For those outside of Boston and Cambridge, please see our school programs for details and pricing information. To apply for a free program, check back soon to complete our community program application form.

Eligibility Requirements

(must meet all to apply for free programming)
  • Must be an organization within Boston (all neighborhoods) and Cambridge
  • Must be a nonprofit, out-of-school time organization that demonstrates financial need that restricts its ability to access New England Aquarium programming
  • Open to children grades 1-8 and accompanying chaperones
  • Organizations may apply for both a community visit and a community outreach. One-Time Programs are NOT booked until the group receives a confirmation letter from our department with a reservation number. If you do not receive a response from us within two weeks of submitting an application, please call the Community Programs office at 617-973-0281 to confirm your application was received.

Popular Community Outreach Programs

  • Lobsters Program: 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.
  • Sharks! Program: 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 Details

  • Academic Year programs are available October – May, Monday – Friday, with start times between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m. Weekend programs may be available.
  • Summer programs are available July – August, Monday – Friday, with start times at either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. Weekend programs may be available.
  • Groups of 40 children or more may be split into smaller groups for animal health and a better experience interacting with our live animals.
  • Programs are 45 to 60 minutes in length. Topics include tidepools, sharks, and lobsters.
  • Programs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the high number of requests, we cannot guarantee that all requests will be accommodated.
  • Please apply for free outreach programming by completing the community outreach application.
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • If you are interested in an after-school series of six or more programs, please contact the Community Programs office for more information.

Get Started

Click the button below to fill out the form and begin the process of scheduling a community program for your group. NOTE: This is an inquiry form, meant to assist in the scheduling process only. You will be contacted by one of our staff to set a date for the actual visit.


Contact Community Programs at 617-973-0281 or