Friday, June 28, 2013

Visiting the New England Aquarium (Pictures and a couple of tips...)

Thanks to free tickets from a fellow homeschool mom, we were able to visit, 
minus the daddy unit, as he had to go to work... 

Although my children have lived all their lives in the greater Boston area, the youngest had never been to the aquarium before today, just a few days shy of his 6th birthday! We hadn't been in 8 years, and the last time I took a picture on the dolphins was 10 years ago! MY how they have changed and been added to! :)

The aquarium has changed and been added to as well! A renovation project is nearly completed, and the very last bit will be open on July 1 (The only thing we missed was visiting the top of the giant ocean tank~ everything else was open and fully populated).

Word to the wise~ there is a new "Timed-ticketing" feature~ unless you are a member, you are now required to use "Timed-tickets."The basic idea is to keep the aquarium from getting too crowded (And I'm sure, to encourage membership sales). The timed tickets allow you to enter at a certain time. This means that if you are using  Library pass tickets and "Complementary tickets" they need to be exchanged at the aquarium "Express" entrance for timed tickets. If you go early, there shouldn't be much of a problem heading right in, but if you come during a busy time, you'll want to plan on a little bit of extra time (The good news is that the Harbor Seals create ample entertainment if you have someone old enough to hang out there with the younger children...).

Newest, most exciting exhibit? The shark/manta ray touch pool~  you can see that  I timed my photos rather poorly, but they all got to "pet" a manta ray, and Middlest touched a shark (Not seen in photo). Eldest was squeamish about the sharks, and youngest's arm wasn't long enough~ his sleeve got soaked, and his hand still wasn't quite down far enough to touch the sharks that were swimming right along the sand.

 We were happy to see that most of the penguins had returned from their "Vacation" in  Quincy...

the Little Blues were the only ones who hadn't left the building, but also weren't returned to their "Rock" habitat.
You can see them here... waiting.... they want to go! (Or the want to be fed! :) )

One of our very favorite creatures ~ the leafy seadragon ~ was in fine form ~

What an incredible creation!
The imagination of our God is just incredible! :)

Of course the seahorses were fun to look at as well~
can you find that sea-going crown of creatures? 

In the upper "Atlantic Ocean" touch tank, I encountered something new ~ we were allowed to touch a sea anemone ~ This photo is NOT of the atlantic anemone (My hands were wet, so I didn't take pictures! bad homeschooling momma! ;) ), but it will serve the purpose. It was interesting to feel the tentacles try to "attach?" and sting my fingers~ there was no sting, just a very tiny "Suction cup" sensation.

The pacific and warm water anemones. Amazing colors.
Eldest took the left-most photo, I took the right-most photo~ love how our cameras saw it differently~ neither one is totally true to the color we saw with the naked eye~ the lighting was very... interesting...

There are loads and loads of Jellyfish at the New England Aquarium~ one of my favorite things to watch~ mesmerizing!!!


 Aren't these just amazingly lovely???
 One of our very favorite Five In A Row stories is Night of the Moonjellies, so these hold a special place in our hearts. :)






(To join the rest of the crowd???)

Just a couple

more photos
of this photogenic
set of Jellies.

Eldest took these last two~
Love the way her camera saw the lighting, and the detail is just amazing!

Here is another variety of Jelly~ >

And here are some amazing Australian Jellyfish~ 
I dubbed them dotted swiss jellyfish :) 
The Aquarium recently (I think) acquired some Lions' Mane Jellyfish~ 
They are minuscule! (About the size of a quarter, maybe a little smaller...???) 
Just a few more Jellies (and a cool starfish) 
Do you see the upside-down jellies, that just lie on the sand,
 and the camouflaged starfish?  

Another case of camouflage.... sandpiper anyone? 
Tropical fish and Starfish
Did you know that Sea Lions look kind of like frogs??? I didn't till I saw the first photo I took!  I had to look at the next photo to figure out what I was looking at! 

The sea lions and the fur seals have a beautiful new open air pool in the back of the aquarium. Lovely wooden benches and clear walls to make viewing the "Show" easy even for the smallest visitor. Much nicer than the old boat that used to float right next door in the harbor. One of the greatest benefits is that the animals can be seen swimming, playing, and generally doing what they do, instead of being confined to the "tanks" they were in on the boat. Good job, NEAQ! 

The Big Tank~ with big turtles and Manta rays...

I know that you already know who visited the aquarium with me, 
but I kind of like this mystery photo... 

And the photo with the flash that reveals them all

My final set of pictures are related to parking and the aquarium. Downtown Boston parking tends to be rather pricey~ $35 for non-members to park at the lot right next to the aquarium. I did discover that "Central Parking" owns a number of garages throughout the city, and some of them have coupons that you can print and scan in that makes this sort of trip much more reasonable. We parked at the International Place Garage for "only" $25 and walked on the "Greenway" for the first time ever. For those not in-the-know, the Greenway (Officially the "Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway") takes the place of the elevated highway that used to run through the center of the city. Although I am not enamored of the "Big Dig" tunnel, I have to say that this definitely makes it pleasant to walk around the perimeter of downtown!
Nifty Harbor Fog sculptures that light up, AND blow mist~ great on a hot day!
(I understand that there is an audio quality to the sculpture, but I didn't notice it)  

Used to be cars were the only things running along here

The cement shows where the tunnel entrance is~ used to be a ramp UP instead of down
Who would have thunk it? Solomon's Seal in the city! Beautiful! 
Just a little more information about the Greenway (You can explore more through the previous link...). Just the Greenway, in and of itself is a very cool "Destination/Activity" to my way of thinking. There are plenty of "Foodie" opportunities along the way, with unique "Trucks" parked in specific spots. They are scheduled, and rotate.... very cool!
Eldest was excited to see that The Chicken and Rice Guys are at the Chinatown park on Monday's & Wednesdays~ we at their food at the Boston Irish Festival, and it was YUM!

There are activities scheduled, fountains and water features to splash around/play in, and even a few "Scavenger Hunts" to engage your children... I *like* this relatively new feature of the Boston Landscape. (Play) I see another blog post in my future, with a whole new set of photos! :D

I hope you enjoyed coming along on this mini-travelogue/field trip to the New England Aquarium with us! Hopefully it won't be 8 years before we visit again!



  1. We love the aquarium! The jellyfish pics are stunning!

    1. Thank you! Amazing what even point and shoot cameras can accomplish these days! :)

  2. I love leafy seadragons :) We learned about them in Amanda Bennett's Creation Camouflage Download N Go a couple of years ago. Very cool!

  3. Awesome pictures! This is one thing my children beg to do yearly! It's a personal favorite of ours! I am so glad your family got to experience it!

  4. Thanks for the info. I'm planning to head there this summer. I didn't realize the ticketing had changed. :-)

  5. We were just in Boston last weekend. Matthew wanted to go to the Aquarium, especially since it was next door to our hotel, but we just ran out of hours in the day! Maybe next time!

  6. Wow, what stunning photographs! We would like to visit Boston someday. My kids would love to visit that aquarium. It looks absolutely amazing. :-)

  7. We love our aquarium in Atlanta and ave visited often over the years. Great pictures - thanks for sharing them.


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