Something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while was visit the Boston Aquarium. It had been years since I’d been, since elementary school. Last weekend, I finally made my way back to Boston to check it out and it was all that I remembered it to be! If you’re thinking about escaping off campus for the day, I strongly recommend visiting the Aquarium. Here are some tips and tricks on getting to Boston (affordably!), what to look for once you get there, and fun things to do afterwards in the area.
The most accessible way to get into Boston, of course, is the train station here on campus. Tickets are pretty affordable and run on weekends, ranging from around $18 to $25. The C&J bus is another good option and also has stations in both Dover and Portsmouth. We, however, ended up driving into the city and parking nearby — in the Rowes Wharf garage at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Not only was this super close to the Aquarium but they offered an Aquarium discount, making it only $15. There are also several stops on the subway if you want to go that route too.
At the Aquarium:
Once you get there, you purchase your tickets in the tent outside (they also take your picture in front of a green screen which is then turned into an underwater scene and can be purchased when you get into the building.) One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to touch the stingrays and horseshoe crabs in the stingray tank. On the left when you walk in, there is a shallow open pool where you can actually pet these adorable, mini stingrays. They’re smooth and gentle and when you’re done there are sinks conveniently located nearby to rinse your hands off. If you take the stairs on the other side of the tank, you are taken down to the jellyfish exhibit. In the main room are the penguins and a cylindrical center tank surrounded by ramps leading upwards. As you ascend to the top-level, there are many different types of fish, eels, frogs, and even birds to look at. Some of the highlights were the electric eels (with an electrical current meter that monitors their voltage. As the eels hunt, the monitor buzzes to indicate how high the voltage is.) Keep your eyes peeled for the octopus tank near the top floor – she wasn’t very active while we were there, but we could see even the smallest suction cups on each tentacle. In the main tank, there is a colorful array of different corals and of course the two giant sea turtles and stingrays (much larger than the little baby stingrays you could touch!) Quick tip: make sure you read through the pamphlet they provide to see when the different events are. We got to see the penguin feeding, divers enter the big tank to clean the corals, and a question and answer session at the top of the big tank.
What to do After:
Naturally, there is an expansive gift shop that is worth stopping in and you can also pick up the photo you took in the tent before entering the aquarium. If you’re hungry (we were), Faneuil Hall is only about a five-minute walk and has all the food you could ever imagine (not to mention shopping)! If you go on a nice day, it’s always fun to walk around by the shore and check out all the yachts. If you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner, there is a Legal Seafood’s quite close too for a taste of fresh Boston seafood.
Quick tip: You can buy your tickets online if you want to book your trip in advance!
Want to get more involved? Check out the Boston Aquarium’s research opportunities on sea turtle conservation