AAA Editor Notes
New England Aquarium, on the city's waterfront at Central Wharf off Atlantic Ave., is home to more than 40,000 animals representing more than 750 species of fish, invertebrates, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. A 200,000-gallon, circular glass tank with 52 crystal-clear viewing windows rises from the center of the building. The exhibit showcases a re-created Caribbean coral reef community and more than 2,000 tropical fish and marine life, including sharks, sea turtles and moray eels.
Encircling the Giant Ocean Tank is the first-floor penguin habitat, where more than 80 birds socialize, preen or simply chill out. On the second level, weedy and leafy seadragons swim about a display replicating Australia's temperate reef. Hands-on areas crowded with grade-schoolers include Edge of the Sea and The Trust Family Foundation Shark & Ray Touch Tank. In the west wing a 5,000-square-foot gallery highlights changing exhibits.
A Simons IMAX theater next door shows 3-D films such as “Great White Shark” and “Turtle Odyssey.” The Atlantic Harbor Seals Exhibit, a free viewing area just outside the main entrance, allows visitors to watch the playful animals frolicking above and below the water's surface. In the back of the facility abutting the Boston Harborwalk is the glass-walled, open-air New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center, home to Northern fur seals and California sea lions.
Picnicking is permitted. Food is available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.