Visiting the Aquarium
We are excited to welcome you to the New England Aquarium, where the safety and well-being of our guests, team members, and animals are our top priorities. Please review this page for important information about your visit. For those visiting from out of state, please also visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Travel Advisory.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE AQUARIUM
PER CDC RECOMMENDATIONS AND CITY OF BOSTON MASK POLICY:
All Aquarium guests over two years of age, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear face coverings in the Aquarium building (including the Marine Mammal Center) and the Simons Theatre.
Visitors with medical conditions that preclude them from wearing a mask will be required to wear a face shield.
Aquarium staff members will be enforcing these guidelines for the safety of all. Please be respectful to our staff if they ask you to comply with this policy. Through this policy, we are working to reduce transmission and keep each other safe. Visitors in violation of the mask policy will be asked to leave.
AS WE WORK TO RESUME FULL OPERATIONS:
We will be steadily increasing our capacity over the next month. For the time being, timed-ticketing will still be in effect. Please purchase your tickets ahead of time.
Most of our exhibits are open as usual, with a few exceptions:
- The Trust Family Shark and Ray Touch Tank opens at 9:30 a.m. Saturday-Thursday, and closes to visitors 15 minutes before the Aquarium closes every day.
- The Edge of the Sea touch tank is closed
- Live presentations are currently suspended
- Central Snack Bar, a grab and go dining option on the plaza, is open seven days a week, weekdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The Harbor View Café is currently closed.
- 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.
- 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 an Aquarium representative assesses lobby capacity and goes over safety measures. Please dress accordingly for weather conditions.
Click here to review and print a map before you visit.
The Aquarium is currently using a timed-ticketing system. Every visitor, including members, 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–Friday: 9 am–5 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. On Wednesday, 9/22, the touch tank will open at 10 a.m.
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, Experience more! Save 47% on admission to top Boston’s top four attractions: New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Franklin Park Zoo, and Boston Harbor City Cruises’ Historic Sightseeing Cruise. Visit the attractions at your own pace, in any order, over a nine-day period. Get immediate, paperless mobile delivery.
New England Aquarium Whale Watch
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 to read about how to reserve tickets, please visit the link below.
Are reservations required? Can I buy tickets on-site?
You are strongly encouraged to make advanced reservations via our website or the phone by calling (617) 973-5200. Walk-up visitors will be able to use a QR code to purchase tickets on their phone. The Box Office will also be open for walk-up visitors who can’t use the QR station, 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.
Is there a limit to how many people are allowed into the Aquarium at one time?
We are currently operating at limited building capacity but are steadily increasing capacity as we resume normal operations after May 29.
Am I required to wear a face mask?
Per the latest CDC recommendations and City of Boston guidelines, face coverings are required at the New England Aquarium for all guests over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status.
If I have a medical condition that precludes me from wearing a mask, can I still visit? Do I need to provide proof?
Guests with medical conditions that preclude them from wearing a mask are allowed to visit and strongly encouraged to wear a face shield. We will not ask you to provide proof of your condition, but we will work with you to make sure we can keep the visit safe for you and others. We have a limited number of face shields available at the information desk for those who cannot wear masks.
Does my unvaccinated special-needs child or family member need a mask?
The Aquarium is committed to being accessible to everyone. If a visitor is unable to wear a mask due to a sensory need, we ask that they or a family member wear a sensory lanyard and/or sensory bag, available from the Information Desk, so that staff and other visitors know that they cannot wear a mask.
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 there be exclusive hours for vulnerable populations?
Unfortunately, exclusive hours for vulnerable populations will not be available at this time.
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 can walk up and enter just 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 no longer 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.
Will the bathrooms be open?
Yes, the first-floor main bathrooms will be open. The hand dryers have temporarily been replaced with paper towels. Changing tables are available in both bathrooms. The family restrooms on the 2nd level is not yet open.
Will food be available?
Central Snack Bar, which serves sandwiches, salads, hot dogs, and snacks, is located on Central Wharf Plaza and is open:
- Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Snack items also are available for purchase in the Gift Shop. The Aquarium’s main Café is currently closed.
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?
Water fountains and bottle refill stations are not currently available. Canned water is available for purchase at Central Snack Bar and at vending machines located on the plaza, and in the gift shop. You may drink water while in the Aquarium’s exhibit areas, but no other 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.
Is the entire Aquarium still wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the Aquarium is still entirely wheelchair accessible. To access the top of the Giant Ocean Tank, any person in a wheelchair will need to use the elevator. Elevator access is being prioritized for individuals in wheelchairs or with other medical needs that make stairs difficult. Visitor Experience staff members are located in this area to assist you.
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. Please note: The Shark and Ray Touch Tank opens 9:30 a.m. Saturday-Thursday, and closes to visitors 15 minutes before the Aquarium closes every day.
Will you be having presentations?
In order to prevent crowding, we will not be offering our regular schedule of talks and presentations. You will be able to converse with our knowledgeable educators during your visit and see Animal Care staff caring for our animals on-exhibit. If you are interested in a more in-depth virtual experience, please visit At Home Events and Activities or Virtual Encounters.
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?
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?
As of May 29, we are allowing 50% occupany in the theatre, or 186 people per film. The theater normally seats 378.
Are masks required in the theater?
All visitors will be required to follow Aquarium mask-wearing policies. Per the latest CDC recommendations and City of Boston guidelines, face coverings are required at the New England Aquarium for all guests over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status.
What are the safety protocols in the Simons Theatre?
We are using touchless entry scanning and asking groups to leave a space between other groups. Hand sanitizer will be available at entrances and exits and in the lobby.
Will the concession stand be open?
The concession stand will not be open at this time. No outside food or drinks are allowed in the theater.
Health and Cleaning Questions
Will it be “necessary” to touch shared surfaces (doors) at any point?
We have taken many steps to reduce the necessity to touch any surfaces. Doors will be propped open or staffed, sculptures and interactive installations have been removed, and we are asking visitors not to touch the exhibits.
Will there be additional handwashing stations? Is it possible to wash my hands on the way out?
Handwashing will be available on the plaza and in the first-floor restrooms. There will be hand sanitizer available at an abundance of locations throughout your visit.
What if I have a medical emergency?
First responders are available on-site to respond to any medical emergency. Please contact a staff member or the Information Desk by calling the phone number on signage throughout the facility. First responders will call emergency medical services at their own discretion.
What if a visitor seems to be showing COVID-19 symptoms or asks for a first responder because they are sick?
As with any medical emergency, first responders will be deployed for any visitor who becomes ill or injured. Visitor Experience staff will help manage the scene while the first responders provide care. First responders will have been provided with additional training to handle first-aid emergencies while minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19. Guests are being asked to self-monitor. If you are displaying any symptoms, we ask you to not enter the building.
If I forget or lose my face covering, can I buy one at NEAq?
Fabric face coverings will be available for purchase in the gift shop, but should not be worn immediately, as they need to be washed first.
Disposable masks are available at the Box Office, scanning stations, and Information Desk for any visitors who forget or lose their masks.
If my face covering falls off and lands in an exhibit, or breaks, will I be given a replacement?
Disposable face coverings will be available at the Box Office, scanning stations, and Information Desk for any visitors who lose their face coverings during the course of their visit.
Will hand sanitizer be provided?
There will be hand sanitizer available at an abundance of locations throughout your visit.
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.
Can animals get sick with COVID-19? Can they transmit it to humans?
Current expert understanding is that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted person-to-person. Since COVID-19 first appeared last fall, New England Aquarium and the world zoological community has been closely following the virus and taking precautions to protect our guests, staff, and animals. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2. Based on the limited data available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low. We are still learning about the virus, but it appears that in rare instances, people can spread the virus to certain animals. New England Aquarium will continue to take every precaution to protect our staff and animals.
Has COVID-19 been found in any wild animals?
Our scientists study wild fish, marine mammals, and reptiles. So far, there has been no evidence of COVID-19 in these species.
Could COVID-19 be in the water?
There has been no evidence to date to indicate that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by water. There are no detailed studies yet regarding the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in salt water, but based on data for other viruses, the warm, disinfected salt water that we use at New England Aquarium is not a likely source of the virus.
OUR COMMITMENT TO SAFETY
The New England Aquarium has adopted the recommendations of the CDC to align with their latest guidance, which we’ve followed since the start of the pandemic. At this time, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission, which currently includes Suffolk County.
Based on this recommendation and City of Boston guidelines, face coverings are required at the New England Aquarium for all guests over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status.