Aquarium to welcome guests during school winter vacation week with extended hours and new animals

Spend the holidays with sea lions, sharks, documentaries, and more

California sea lion Gio sticks out her tongue
California sea lion Gio joined the Aquarium this year Photo: Vanessa Kahn

BOSTON, MASS. (December 2023) – The New England Aquarium is excited to welcome guests this holiday season to see two newly arrived California sea lions, a new film in the Simons Theatre, and a free outdoor photo exhibition called “Voices of the Waterfront.”

The Aquarium will extend its hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from December 26 to January 2. Guests are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets online in advance at, as timed ticket slots may sell out. Highlights for the week include:

Meet Gio and Farley

  • The Aquarium recently welcomed two California sea lions, Gio and Farley. The 15-year-old sea lions are now permanent residents in the Aquarium’s New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center, and join three other California sea lions: Zoe, Sierra, and Tipper. Daily presentations have returned to the Marine Mammal Center at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and are a great way for visitors to see the sea lions interacting with their trainers.

Nurse shark feedings

  • Continuing its decades-long commitment of caring for and protecting sharks, the Aquarium is welcoming a new nurse shark, named Cirri, to its Caribbean coral reef exhibit. Guests can view daily feedings at the top of the Giant Ocean Tank with Cirri and other animals at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Simons Theatre films

  • The Aquarium’s Simons Theatre is now showing ARCTIC: Our Frozen Planet, a 45-minute documentary filmed on a scale never attempted before. The film captures a year-long adventure across the seasons in the Arctic—and the subsequent impact our changing climate has had on it. Tickets and show times are available at all Aquarium ticketing locations by calling 617-973-5206 or by visiting Also showing are Blue Whales: Return of the Giants 3D, Great White Shark, Incredible Predators 3D, and Secrets of the Sea 3D.

Voices of the Waterfront

  • In partnership with the Coalition for a Resilient and Inclusive Waterfront, the Aquarium created “Voices of the Waterfront,” a free exhibition of 27 large-scale photos wrapping around the Aquarium’s exterior along Central Wharf. The exhibition celebrates the creative ways that people and organizations are accessing Boston’s waterfront and encourages more involvement to bring about more change to it as a public good amid environmental challenges.

The Aquarium gift shop will have extended hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week of December 26, and the Harbor View Café will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of December 31, when it will close at 3 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 617-973-5200.


MEDIA CONTACT: Pam Bechtold Snyder,; 617-686-5068