Aquarium welcomes guests during February school vacation week with extended hours and educational programs

Spend the week with sea lions, animal encounters, films, and more

Harbor Seal Encounter
Harbor Seal Encounter A harbor seal encounter. CREDIT: Tony Rinaldo for the New England Aquarium

BOSTON, MASS. (February 2024) – For February school vacation week, the New England Aquarium is ready to host guests with animal encounters, a new café menu, films on the largest screen in New England, opportunities to get involved in advocacy efforts, and more.

The Aquarium will extend its hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from February 19 to 23 when Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine public school students have vacation weeks. Guests are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets online in advance at, as timed ticket slots may sell out. Highlights for the week include:

Daily presentations and behind-the-scenes opportunities

  • Aquarium guests can enjoy daily presentations with the penguins, sea lions, and harbor seals, along with the residents of the Giant Ocean Tank. Full schedule available here.
  • The Aquarium is also offering special encounters with its resident Atlantic harbor seals for an additional fee. The daily programs provide guests with an exclusive inside-the-exhibit experience and the opportunity to interact with and learn more about these marine mammals. Guests can also register for an art-making session, where they will receive a one-of-a-kind painting made by a seal during their visit. More information and pricing here.

Sea turtle advocacy programming

  • During school vacation week, the New England Aquarium will offer visitors an opportunity to help protect endangered sea turtles. Guests are encouraged to stop by the Blue Planet Action Center during their visit to learn more about the Aquarium’s sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation program and write to their members of Congress to encourage their support of these critical conservation efforts. The station will be active from February 19 to 23 and is an exciting chance to contribute to the collective work to protect these endangered animals.

Meet the Aquarium’s newest residents

  • Toward the end of 2023, the Aquarium 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., when visitors can see the sea lions interacting with their trainers.
  • The Aquarium also recently welcomed a nurse shark, Cirri, to its Giant Ocean Tank, continuing a decades-long commitment of caring for and protecting shark species. The 3.5-foot, 22-pound shark joins Myrtle, the Aquarium’s famous green sea turtle, cownose rays, eels, and hundreds of colorful reef fish in the Caribbean coral reef exhibit.

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 3D, Incredible Predators 3D, and Secrets of the Sea 3D.

Elevated Café Offerings

  • Whether visitors are looking for a full meal or a quick bite, the cuisine at the Aquarium is elevated in a fresh, exciting way that features sustainably sourced ingredients, thanks to a new partnership with Sodexo Live! The café now features diverse choices, including healthy dishes as well as favorites from the grill, all aimed at an inviting and environmentally-friendly dining atmosphere, along with visitor education around sustainable initiatives.


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