Visiting the Aquarium
We are excited to welcome you to the New England Aquarium! Please review our safety guidelines and the important information on this page prior to your visit.
Effective Saturday, March 5, the City of Boston has lifted its indoor mask mandate. Face coverings are encouraged for Aquarium guests, however they are no longer required on Aquarium property.
Timed-ticketing is still in effect. For guaranteed admission, please purchase your tickets ahead of time. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase on site every day. Please note: On holidays and when schools are not in session, on-site tickets sell out early.
THINGS TO KNOW FOR YOUR VISIT
- The Harbor View Café is open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays and school vacation weeks (Feb. and April) from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- The Gift Shop is open when the Aquarium is open: Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and holidays from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- The stroller room is closed, but lockers are available to rent for storage of personal belongings. Please note: This means you will have to bring strollers with you as you move through the building.
- The Shark and Ray Touch Tank is open. Edge of the Sea touch tank is closed.
- Due to timed-ticketing and capacity limits, we are doing everything we can to streamline entry. There might be a brief waiting period outside ahead of your timeslot while Aquarium representatives scan tickets, assess lobby capacity, and review safety measures. Please dress accordingly for weather conditions.
Review and print a map before you visit.
The Aquarium uses a timed-ticketing system. Every visitor must select a time slot when purchasing tickets. Children under three will continue to receive free entry, but they must have a ticket and reserved time slot along with their caregiver. Please note: Due to current capacity limits, Aquarium tickets are non-refundable.
Monday–Thursday: 9 am–5 pm
Friday: 10 am–8 pm
Weekends: 9 am–6 pm
Please note: The Shark and Ray Touch Tank opens at 9:30 am and closes daily 15 minutes prior to the Aquarium’s closing time.
Aquarium Admission and a Giant Screen Theatre Experience
Available seven days a week.
Simons Theatre only:
The Simons Theatre is open seven days a week. The first showtime is typically 20 minutes after the Aquarium opens and the last showtime is 40 minutes before the Aquarium closes.
Please note: Due to current capacity limits, Aquarium tickets are non-refundable.
Aquarium Admission and a Giant Screen Theatre Experience.
Select a date and time to purchase tickets.
Choose a film and time to purchase tickets. Please book your movie either before your Aquarium experience or after.
The first showtime is typically 20 minutes after the Aquarium opens and the last showtime is 40 minutes before the Aquarium closes.
Spend less (47% less), experience more! Save on admission to top Boston’s top attractions: New England Aquarium and Museum of Science, as well (choice of two) Franklin Park Zoo, Boston Harbor Cruises’ Historic Sightseeing Cruise, and Harvard Museum of Natural History. Visit the attractions at your own pace, in any order, over a nine-day period. Purchase CityPASS online for instant, paperless mobile delivery.
New England Aquarium Whale Watch (Season begins March 19, 2022)
Join our crew of experienced naturalists and discover the world’s largest mammals, the great whales.
Purchase a New England Aquarium and Whale Watch combo ticket below then call Reservations 617-973-5200 to secure your Aquarium timed entry.
Barcoded Passes and Tickets
Guests that have the following pass and ticket types in hand may redeem online (click below), via phone (call 617-973-5200), or on-site at the Aquarium with a reserved time slot.
Please note: Due to timed ticketing, time slots must be reserved. We cannot guarantee entrance dates or times when redeeming on-site.
- Corporate passes that have barcodes that begin with CA or CP
- Aquarium passes that have barcodes that begin with PA
- Bulk or consignment tickets that have barcodes that begin with PT
- Tickets from Entertainment Benefits Group (formerly Tickets at Work), Groupon, Get Your Guide, Tiqets, TripAdvisor (formerly Viator), or Tripster that have barcodes that begin with PT or BC
Offers and Discounts
If you are purchasing discounted tickets (EBT/WIC, Military, Library Passes, etc.), please review specific guidelines for purchasing your tickets and reserving a time slot.
As always, we thank our members for their continued support of the Aquarium.
For more information about member benefits and Aquarium entry, please visit the link below.
Are reservations required? Can I buy tickets on-site?
Advanced reservations are strongly recommended if you are purchasing general admission tickets, which can be done on our website or by phone at 617-973-5200. The Box Office is open for a limited number of walk-up visitors who can’t order online, need assistance, or want to use cash. Certain ticket types can also only be accommodated at the Box Office, and we are committed to making the Aquarium accessible to all.
PLEASE NOTE: Availability for walk-up purchases is not guaranteed. If you arrive without pre-booking and your desired time or full day is sold out, we will offer you the opportunity to purchase a ticket for another available time or day.
How far in advance can you purchase/reserve your timed ticket?
You can purchase tickets for up to 180 days in advance of your visit.
When is the last entry time of the day?
The last entry time will be for one hour and twenty minutes before closing.
Will I have to wait in line?
We are doing everything we can to streamline entry. There will be a brief waiting period outside ahead of your timeslot while an Aquarium representative assesses lobby capacity and goes over safety measures. Please dress accordingly for weather conditions.
Will you accept cash?
We strongly encourage you to pay in advance online or over the phone. However, cash transactions can be made at the Box Office.
Will you accept Aquarium gift cards?
Yes, Aquarium gift cards are accepted over the phone (617-973-5200) or on-site at the Box Office.
What if I am late for my assigned time slot?
The building capacity for each time slot is limited. We ask that all guests make every effort to arrive on time. We cannot guarantee immediate entry to guests who are late for their time slot. We strongly encourage you to arrive up to 10 minutes prior to your assigned time slot.
Please note: Due to current capacity limits, Aquarium tickets are non-refundable.
Will members of a group who arrive later than others be allowed immediate entry upon arrival?
For the time being, capacity within time slots is limited. We ask that all guests make every effort to arrive on time. We cannot guarantee immediate entry, even if other members of your party are inside the Aquarium. We strongly encourage you to arrive 5 minutes prior to your assigned time slot.
Please note: Due to current capacity limits, Aquarium tickets are non-refundable.
Do Boston CityPASS holders need to reserve a visit date/time?
Yes! First, purchase CityPASS online for immediate, paperless delivery to your mobile device. Next, click on the travel guide link you receive in your mobile ticket email or visit https://www.citypass.com/guide/boston/howto and enter in order number/barcode and email to proceed with your reservation.
Contact CityPASS Customer Care 888-330-5008 or chat on https://www.citypass.com for assistance making reservation.
Once I enter, is my time limited or restricted?
Your time in the Aquarium is not limited or restricted, and you are allowed to take as long you would like to enjoy the Aquarium.
Can I leave and come back in?
Yes, you may leave the Aquarium and come back in.
Will sensory bags continue to be available upon request? How are you cleaning these bags?
Yes. Sensory bags and all items in the bag will be cleaned with antibacterial wipes between every use. You will also be offered disinfecting wipes, so you can choose to re-sanitize the bag before using it.
Will parking validation be available? What if I forget to validate my parking before exiting?
Parking validation for the Harbor Garage is for members only. The member parking validation is available at the Information Desk or at the Box Office. To obtain validation for other garages with which we have parking validation programs (see here for more information), please visit the Information Desk. If you forget to validate your parking, you may re-enter the Aquarium for this purpose.
If I only want to visit the gift shop, do I need a timed-entry ticket?
No, you do not need a ticket to visit the Gift Shop.
If my phone’s battery dies, where can I go to “get” my reserved ticket?
If you are unable to access the tickets on your phone for any reason, you can go to a ticket booth window for a printed ticket. You can also call Central Reservations at (617) 973-5200, and they can to re-send the email with the ticket to someone else in your party who has a functioning phone/email. Both cashiers and reservationists can re-send barcoded tickets to a new email, so that everything remains contactless.
If I am a library coupon holder, do I need to purchase my ticket in advance?
Advance reservations are not required for library patrons with coupons. Library patrons should present their coupons on-site at the Aquarium ticket booth. Once tickets are issued, library patrons will be admitted to the Aquarium. Please note: Coupons to the Aquarium will be valid only on the date printed on the coupon.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Questions
Am I required to wear a face mask?
Per the latest City of Boston guidelines, face coverings are no longer required at the New England Aquarium. However, the City does still recommend masking to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and for those with heightened risk factors. We therefore encourage guests to wear them.
Is vaccination required to enter the Aquarium?
The City of Boston’s vaccination mandate has been lifted, so proof of vaccination is no longer required for entry to the Aquarium and Simons Theatre.
Will hand sanitizer be provided?
There will be hand sanitizer available at an abundance of locations throughout your visit.
If I forget or lose my face covering, can I buy one at NEAq?
While face coverings are not required at the Aquarium, fabric face coverings will be available for purchase in the gift shop.
What type of air filtration system do you use?
Our air conditioning system blends fresh, outside air with recirculated air that is then heated (or cooled) and passed through pleated filters. We dilute the recirculated air with as much outside air as possible while maintaining the comfort of the people and animals. The filters capture the particles that might contain a virus but do not kill airborne viruses. The fresh outside air dilutes any indoor pollutants.
Will the bathrooms be open?
Yes, the first-floor main bathrooms and the second-floor are open. The hand dryers have temporarily been replaced with paper towels. Changing tables are available in both bathrooms.
Will food be available?
During regular hours, the Harbor View Café is open:
- Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
During school vacation week (February 19-27), the Café is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Snack items also are available for purchase in the Gift Shop.
Can we bring our own food?
You can bring your own food and eat at the blue picnic tables outside. For the safety of our animals, you cannot eat in the Aquarium exhibit areas.
Will I be able to check my stroller?
Our stroller check is not open at this time. For the best experience, we recommend leaving your stroller at home or in the car.
Will the lockers be available?
Yes, lockers are available for use. Small lockers are $5 and large ones are $7. There is a kiosk for locker rental, but each locker also has QR code so they can reserved on your phone or device as well.
May I drink out of the water fountains or use the bottle refill stations?
Yes, water fountains and bottle refill stations are available. Canned water is also available for purchase at Harbor View Café and at vending machines located on the plaza, in Simons Theatre, and in the gift shop. You may drink water while in the Aquarium’s exhibit areas, but no other food or beverages are allowed.
Are there elevators?
If a visitor with mobility issues or a stroller wants to access the top of the Giant Ocean Tank, or if a visitor needs to exit quickly, the elevator will be available. Individuals with mobility issues will have priority for elevator use, and we strongly encourage others to leave their strollers at home or in their car.
Will there be an area for me to nurse my baby?
Nursing is allowed wherever you feel comfortable. The First Aid/Lactation Room is also available for visitors who would like privacy – please see the Information Desk to access this area.
Do you have wheelchairs available?
We have a limited number of wheelchairs available to borrow. Wheelchairs are thoroughly cleaned before and after each use.
Do you have strollers available to borrow or rent?
We do not have strollers available to borrow or rent. While strollers are welcome in the Aquarium, we strongly recommend that you leave your stroller at home or in your car. To access the top of the Giant Ocean Tank, any person with a stroller will need to use the elevator, or you may leave your stroller in a designated stroller area near the stairs to the Giant Ocean Tank. Strollers in this area are unattended and the Aquarium is not responsible for strollers or personal items left in or with strollers.
Are all of your exhibits open?
While the Edge of the Sea touch tank is closed to visitors right now, all the other exhibits are open. There will be no presentations at this time, but visitors will still be able to ask questions of our knowledgeable educators and watch Animal Care staff care for our animals in the exhibits.
Will you be having presentations?
In light of the switch to a number of single-use items (e.g. paper towels vs. hand dryers), how is the Aquarium upholding live blue values?
As a global conservation organization, the protection of human lives is at the core of our values. While we are doing everything we can to eliminate single-use items and to minimize waste, during the pandemic we prioritized the safety of our staff and visitors.
Simons Theatre FAQs
Are reservations required for the Simons Theatre? Can I buy tickets on-site?
You are strongly encouraged to make advanced reservations via our website. The Box Office on the plaza will also be open for walk-up visitors who need assistance or want to use cash.
What movies are currently showing?
Incredible Predators deconstructs the world of major predators as never before, taking an intimate look at the remarkable strategies they use to succeed. Advanced filming techniques expose the planet’s top predators in extraordinary footage, putting the audience right beside them as they hunt—on land, under the sea or in the air. Far from a film about the kill, instead learn how these supreme species must be at the very peak of performance to have any chance of success, for example, to understand a cheetah’s dilemma you must meet her hungry cubs. Incredible Predators reveals the unique relationship between predators and prey as a fundamental building block of ecology.
Encounter the wonders of the southern sea through Ocean Odyssey. Accompany a pod of humpback whales as they embark on an underwater journey, migrating 2,000 miles from the Great Barrier Reef to their feeding grounds off Antarctica. Learn more about our global network of ocean currents that are crucial to both life in the sea and on land.
Great White Shark
Get ready for a shark’s-eye view as you plunge straight into the underwater world of nature’s most renowned predator in Great White Shark. See the science at work behind that fearsome, toothy grin and discover the importance of this spectacular species. The whole family will enjoy an exhilarating experience that demonstrates how great white sharks are perfectly adapted hunters that play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our oceans.
Follow the incredible journey of a spry young green sea turtle as it encounters astonishing ocean creatures on the adventure of a lifetime! From hatching along sandy Australian beaches to gliding along ocean currents, watch as this remarkable reptile traverses thousands of miles of open ocean—and then migrates with mysterious precision back to the very beach where it was born. Russell Crowe narrates as researchers trek through these same aquatic wonderlands, encountering the majestic corals of the Great Barrier Reef and breathtaking breaching whales. Turtle Odyssey reminds us just how interconnected we all are with the ocean.
How long are the movies?
Each movie is ~22 minutes long.
Will I be able to visit the Aquarium, leave to see a movie, and then go back into the Aquarium?
Yes, you may. Please keep your tickets accessible (hard copy or electronic) so you may show them upon reentry.
What is the capacity in the Simons Theatre?
The theater seats 378.
Are masks required in the theater?
Face coverings are encouraged for Aquarium guests, however they are no longer required on Aquarium property.
Will concessions be available?
Vending machines are located in the Simons Theatre lobby. No outside food or drinks are allowed in the theater.
OUR COMMITMENT TO SAFETY
The safety and well-being of our guests, team members, and animals are the New England Aquarium’s top priorities. We have adopted the recommendations of the CDC to align with their latest guidance, which we’ve followed since the start of the pandemic. Thank you in advance for your cooperation to help us maintain a safe environment!