Aquarium kicks off summer season with extended hours, food and drinks on Central Wharf Plaza, and outdoor photography exhibition

mural of ocean photography
“Space to Sea: A Photographic Journey into Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary” is on public view outside the New England Aquarium until November 1. CREDIT: New England Aquarium

BOSTON, MASS. (June 23, 2022) – The New England Aquarium is kicking off the summer on Central Wharf with extended hours; an outdoor public photography exhibition; the return of The Reef, an outdoor bar along Boston Harbor; and three new films at the Simons Theatre.

The Aquarium’s summer hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Highlights of the summer season include:

Aquarium After Dark

  • The “Aquarium After Dark” experience has returned so visitors who come during Friday night hours will experience the unique change in lighting, particularly in the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT) which has a system that simulates natural lighting transitions. Beginning at 6 p.m., the Aquarium lights dim to mimic nighttime for animals in the tank.

Stellwagen Bank photo exhibition on Central Wharf

The Reef returns to Central Wharf Plaza on June 24

  • The Reef, a bar located inside a tent on Central Wharf Plaza with views of the Boston waterfront, will be open seven days a week for drinks and light fare starting June 24.
  • Menu offerings include pretzel twists, cheese board, salads, and sandwiches in addition to an assortment of wine, beer, and cocktails.
  • Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Central Snack Bar open on Central Wharf Plaza

  • Central Snack Bar will operate seven days a week beginning on June 24.
  • The food truck-style outpost on Central Wharf Plaza offers a variety of snack, sandwich, and drink options.
  • Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New Simons Theatre films

  • Cephalopods: Aliens of the Deep, shot over three years and around the globe, presents the magical world of octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid through macrophotography. Experience the fascinating environments that have evolved their physiology and what allows them to survive against all odds.
  • Wings Over Water, narrated by Michael Keaton, shares the compelling story of three amazing bird species—the Sandhill Crane, the Yellow Warbler, and the Mallard Duck—with extraordinary footage of their fascinating behavior. Explore the little-known water highways of the Great Plains, created by glacial movement at the end of the last ice age. These waterways mark an astounding gift of connected rivers, lakes, and wetlands across the heartland of North America that support the remarkable birds of the prairie.
  • Superpower Dogs, narrated by Boston native and “Captain America” actor Chris Evans, transports viewers around the world to meet the incredible dogs who save lives and discover the special bond they share with their human partners. Learn the science behind the canine superpowers that allow these dogs to achieve feats of bravery alongside their human companions who fight crime and save lives during earthquakes, avalanches, and sea storms.

New England Aquarium Whale Watches

  • With one of the world’s most active marine sanctuaries just a short boat ride away from Boston, the New England Aquarium Whale Watch in partnership with Boston Harbor City Cruises offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see various species of whales, dolphins, sea birds, sharks, and other marine life at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The cruises have onboard naturalists who lead the trips, and visitors are guaranteed to see whales or they receive a free ticket for a return trip. Boats run every day from May through November, depending on weather conditions.

New programming for educator carts

  • The Aquarium’s Conservation Learning team is rolling out new educational programming for the summer tourism season including highlighting marine protected areas, which are integral in the global initiative to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.
  • Educators focus on migratory species, tracking where they are in the ocean, and the importance of protecting key areas to ensure these animals can thrive.


Pam Bechtold Snyder –, 617-686-5068