I’m going to join! Can I start using my benefits right away?

Regardless of how you join—online, in person or over the phone—Aquarium admission benefits are active upon the conclusion of your purchase. Please note, however, that memberships purchased online require a minimum of 48 hours to be processed into our system, which means that access to other member benefits and discounts, such as member IMAX passes, whale watch tickets and educational programs will not be available until after that time. To take immediate advantage of any such benefits, please purchase your membership in person in our lobby or by calling 617-973-6555 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

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How long is a membership good for? What if I want to upgrade at some point?

A membership is valid for 12 months from the time you purchase it. If you decide during your membership year that you need to upgrade to a higher level, you may do so at any time. However, please note that we do not pro-rate our memberships. Regardless of when you upgrade, you will need to pay the difference between the full cost of the membership level you currently have and the level to which you are upgrading. Also please note that upgrading your membership does not extend your expiration date. Membership discounts are not applicable to upgrades.

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Who may be named on my membership?

You may name up to two adults residing in the same household on your membership. For security reasons, it is Aquarium policy not to put children's names on membership cards. If you have a nanny/babysitter who regularly brings the children of the member household to visit the Aquarium, we are happy to add his/her name to the member record, but the caregiver's name will not appear on the membership cards and his/her use of the membership will be limited to visits with your children.

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How do I check in when I visit?

Aquarium members always go to the Main Lobby to check in and never stop at the Box Office.

If you have your valid bar-coded membership card and do not need any additional tickets, you can take advantage of our express member check-in. Simply proceed directly to an entry scanner to the left of the Information Desk with your membership card and ID ready. An Aquarium staff member will scan your card and provide you and your party with hand stamps.

If you don’t have your card, want to purchase tickets, need to renew or update any of your membership information or have any questions, you can visit the Information Desk in the lobby, where our Member Services team will be happy to assist you.

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I’m a member, but I can’t make it in today. Can I send family or friends instead?

Sorry, membership benefits are non-transferrable, which means that someone from the member household must be present in order for the benefits of membership to be honored. We do reserve the right to request a picture ID, such as a driver's license, when you are checking in for your visit.

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I'm very excited about attending member events. Whom can I bring with me?

Member events are extremely popular and generally fill up very quickly. Due to building fire code and to ensure the best possible experience for all attendees, unless otherwise noted, we do require advance registration for all member events – which is always detailed on your event invitation, in blue and on our website. In fairness to all our members, we must strictly limit attendance to the number of admissions permitted with your membership level. Of course, within your permitted number of admissions, you are welcome to bring any combination of family or friends you choose, providing at least one person in the party legally resides in the member household. If you want to bring more guests than your membership level allows, you may upgrade your membership to the next level simply by calling the Membership Department at 617-973-6555 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) prior to making your event reservations.

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I used to get IMAX passes in my membership packet but they aren't in there. Where are they?

In February 2010, the Aquarium switched to IMAX e-passes for our members. E-passes are stored in our ticketing system, so you simply need to let the reservationist or cashier know that you want to use them. Please note that e-passes are activated as soon as a new membership is entered into the system (there is a processing delay of at least 48 hours when you purchase a membership online) and are valid until the last day of your current membership. When you renew your membership, any new e-passes will become active the day after your previous membership expires.

Any paper passes you may be holding are good through the date indicated on them and may be redeemed in person at the Box Office, in the Aquarium lobby or in the IMAX theater. You may also make reservations over the phone (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) using paper passes, but please remember that you MUST bring the passes with you when you come to pick up your tickets, otherwise you will be required to pay for the reserved tickets.

All passes, whether paper or electronic, are valid only at the Simons IMAX Theatre at the New England Aquarium, are one-time-use and cannot be honored after their expiration date. We regret that we are not able to replace lost passes or extend expired passes.

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I understand that I can get discounted tickets for myself and my guests. How does that work?

Members may purchase discounted tickets for as many additional guests as are covered by your membership level. For example, a Patron level membership admits four people (one member and three guests) PLUS discounted admission may be purchased for an additional three guests. Discounted tickets may be purchased over the phone (617-973-6555) or in the lobby.

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Is my membership tax-deductible?

The New England Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The amount of membership dues that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is the amount paid less the fair market value (FMV) of benefits provided in return, whether used or not. For New England Aquarium memberships, that FMV is determined by the value of the member IMAX passes included with the membership level.

For memberships purchased on or after April 1, 2014, member IMAX passes are valued at $7.31 per pass provided with your membership level. For memberships purchased on or before March 31, 2014, member IMAX passes are valued at $7.51 per pass provided with your membership level. Membership cards arrive attached to a "card carrier" which is also a tax receipt.

Please note that giving society levels (Conservation Society and higher) default to full tax deductibility by not automatically providing IMAX e-passes. Should you choose to accept the IMAX passes for which you are eligible with your giving society donation, your tax deductibility will be affected.

Prices and fair market value are subject to change. We always recommend that you consult a tax advisor with questions.

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My child is coming on a school trip. Can we use my membership to pay for that visit instead of paying for the school trip?

Sorry, membership admission privileges may not be applied to school trips, group visits or non-member events.

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I haven’t received my membership cards yet and I’m planning a visit!

It does normally take four to six weeks to receive your membership cards, but that doesn't mean you can't visit the Aquarium in the meantime. Simply check in with Member Services in the Aquarium Lobby with your pink copy of your membership application form (if you joined in person), your confirmation email (if you joined online) or a picture ID with your name/address (such as a driver's license) and we will be happy to look you up in the system to get you on your way to a great visit!

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Does the Aquarium have an automatic membership renewal program?

We sure do! Auto Renew is a great way to renew your membership year to year without ever experiencing a lapse in benefits. Simply enroll in the program within the first eight months of your current membership year, and we'll automatically renew your membership in your month of expiration on the credit card you provide. By enrolling in Auto Renew, you save the Aquarium resources and administrative costs—a savings we can then to give back to you! Each year your membership renews on the program, you'll save 10 percent off the then current rate for your membership level. You will receive one notification letter about a month before your credit card is to be charged, reminding you of the upcoming renewal and giving you the opportunity to make changes to your enrollment information, such as new credit card information, name and address changes, or changing your membership level.

If you are a member of the New England Aquarium Dive Club as well, we will conveniently renew your Dive Club membership at the same time we renew your Aquarium membership. Please note though that the 10 percent discount ONLY applies to your Aquarium membership, NOT to Dive Club.

To enroll in Auto Renew, simply complete this form (PDF 96K) and return it to us within the first eight months of your membership year. If you are within four months of your membership expiration date, you will need to pay the full amount for your upcoming renewal and enroll in Auto Renew at that time. You'll receive the 10 percent discount each following year your membership renews on the program.

The Fine Print: Auto Renew is only available on credit card purchases of Associate, Patron, Ambassador and Ocean Explorer level memberships. Auto renew is not available on gift of membership purchases. Non-U.S. credit card accounts are not eligible for the Auto Renew program.

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Will the Aquarium ever sell my information?

The New England Aquarium respects our members' privacy and will never sell or exchange your email address or telephone number. Periodically, we may exchange member names and mailing addresses with like-minded local non-profit organizations. If you prefer to opt out of opportunities arising from these collaborations, simply notify us at members@neaq.org or 617-973-6555 and we will be happy to accommodate your request. Please be aware that exchange lists are often pulled several weeks in advance of any given mailing. Please allow six to eight weeks for complete removal from our exchange list.

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Does the Aquarium have a program that donates or sells memberships for local fundraising events?

Unfortunately, the Aquarium is not currently able to donate memberships. However, if you are interested in purchasing a membership to donate on your own to a fundraising auction or raffle, you may purchase a Prize of Membership online or by contacting the Membership Department at 617-973-6555 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

Prizes of Membership are available in all four of our household membership levels (Associate, Patron, Ambassador and Ocean Explorer). After purchasing a Prize of Membership, you will be sent a Prize of Membership Certificate that can be redeemed by the recipient within 30 days of the fundraising event. Once redeemed, the membership will be valid for one full year from the date of redemption.

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Have questions that aren’t answered here? Contact Membership at members@neaq.org or 617-973-6555, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.