Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are our answers to visitors’ most frequently asked questions.

Ticketing and Visit Planning

Learn more about timed-ticketing and planning for your visit.

Every Boston Public School (BPS) student and up to three family members receive free admission to the New England Aquarium on the first and second Sundays of each month in 2024. Read more about BPS Culture Pass.

Advanced reservations are strongly recommended if you are purchasing general admission tickets. Due to the nature of timed-ticketing, the Aquarium frequently sells out on weekends, holidays, and during summer months.

Certain ticket types can only be accommodated at the box office.

Please note: Availability for walk-up purchases is not guaranteed. If you arrive without pre-booking and your desired time or day is sold out, we will offer you the opportunity to purchase a ticket for another available time or day.

You can purchase tickets up to 180 days in advance of your visit.

The last entry time is one hour and twenty minutes before closing.

We strongly encourage you to pay in advance online or over the phone. However, cash transactions can be made at the box office.

Yes. However, Aquarium gift cards cannot be redeemed when purchasing tickets online. They must be used to purchase tickets over the phone by calling Aquarium Reservations at 617-973-5206 or at the box office.

Purchase New England Aquarium gift cards online or at the Aquarium.

The building capacity for each time slot is limited. We ask that all guests make every effort to arrive on time. We cannot guarantee immediate entry to guests who are late for their time slot. We strongly encourage you to arrive up to 10 minutes before your assigned time slot.

Please note: Due to current capacity limits, Aquarium tickets are non-refundable.

Capacity within time slots is limited. We ask that all guests make every effort to arrive on time. We cannot guarantee immediate entry, even if other members of your party are inside the Aquarium. We strongly encourage you to arrive up to 10 minutes before your assigned time slot.

Please note: Due to current capacity limits, Aquarium tickets are non-refundable.

Yes, bundle Aquarium admission with 3 other top Boston attractions and save 45% with Boston CityPASS®. One easy purchase and mobile ticket delivery saves time and money. Simply buy CityPASS® online and then, for the best experience, reserve your visit date and time here: My CityPASS™.

If you cannot access the tickets on your phone, you can go to a ticket booth window to request they print the ticket or resend the email with the ticket to someone else in your party with a functioning phone/email. Aquarium Reservations (617-973-5206) can also resend your ticket to a new email.

Your time in the Aquarium is not limited or restricted, and you can take as long you would like to enjoy the Aquarium.

Yes, you may leave the Aquarium and come back in. You may be required to show your ticket upon re-entry.

Yes, you do need a ticket to enter the gift shop.

We do everything we can to streamline entry. However, there might be a brief waiting period outside ahead of your time slot while an Aquarium representative assesses lobby capacity. Please dress accordingly for weather conditions.

We are proud to be recognized by KultureCity as a trained and trusted advocate for those with sensory needs. Sensory bags are available at our Information Desk, and all items in the bags are cleaned with antibacterial wipes between every use. You will also be offered disinfectant, so you can re-sanitize the bag before using it.

Yes, parking validation is available for many local garages. Get more parking information.

Please visit the Information Desk to obtain validation for garages with which we have parking validation programs. If you forget to validate your parking, you may re-enter the Aquarium.

Please note: Parking validation for the Harbor Garage is only available for members and Whale Watch guests.

No. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defined service dogs are welcome, but must always be under control due to the nature of the facility and the animals under our care. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Advanced reservations are not required for library patrons with coupons. Library patrons should present their coupons on-site at the Aquarium ticket booth. Once tickets are issued, library patrons will be admitted to the Aquarium.

Please note: Coupons to the Aquarium will be valid only on the date printed on the coupon.

We do not have our own school or camp programs right now, but we welcome field trip groups from schools and camps.

We might! Check out the ways you can get involved.

Health and Safety Questions

Learn more about health and safety precautions at the Aquarium.

Per the latest City of Boston guidelines, face coverings are no longer required at the New England Aquarium. However, the City does still recommend masking in certain situations to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and for those with heightened risk factors.

The City of Boston’s vaccination mandate has been lifted, so proof of vaccination is no longer required to enter the Aquarium and Simons Theatre.

There is hand sanitizer available at an abundance of locations throughout the Aquarium and Simons Theatre.

Facility-Related Questions

Learn more about our facilities and accommodations.

Yes, there are several dining options available at the Aquarium. The Harbor View Café is located on Level 2 of the Aquarium, while Central Snack Bar and Dockside Beer Garden are open on Central Wharf Plaza, outside the Aquarium, in the spring and summer.

You can bring your own food and eat at the blue picnic tables outside. For the safety of our animals, you cannot eat in the Aquarium exhibit areas.

Yes, water fountains and bottle refill stations are available. Canned water is also available for purchase at Harbor View Café and at vending machines located on the plaza, in Simons Theatre, and in the gift shop. You may drink water while in the Aquarium’s exhibit areas, but no other food or beverages are allowed.

Nursing is allowed wherever you feel comfortable. The first aid/lactation room is also available for visitors who would like privacy. Please see the Information Desk to access this area.

We have a limited number of wheelchairs available to borrow. Wheelchairs are free and thoroughly cleaned before and after each use. You will need a form of ID in order to borrow a wheelchair.  Some Aquarium spaces, such as the Harbor View Café, Science of Sharks exhibit, and top of the Giant Ocean Tank, will require the use of an elevator to access by wheelchair.


We do not have strollers available to borrow or rent. While strollers are welcome in the Aquarium, we strongly recommend leaving your stroller at home or in your car. Some Aquarium spaces, such as the Harbor View Café, Science of Sharks exhibit, and top of the Giant Ocean Tank, will require the use of an elevator to access with a stroller.

No, there is not currently an area available to check strollers.



Yes, lockers are available for use. Small lockers are $5, and large ones are $7. There is a kiosk for locker rental, and each locker has a QR code, so they can also be reserved from your phone.


You’ll find bathrooms in the lobby as you enter. Family restrooms are located near the Harbor View Café on level 2 of the main building. Simons Theater also has bathrooms.

Animal-Related Questions

Learn more about the animals you’ll see during a visit to the Aquarium.

Yes! Our sharks can be found in the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, Science of Sharks exhibit, and our nurse shark, Cirri, can be found in the Giant Ocean Tank. While we don’t have space to comfortably support larger species, our sharks are a great representation of the majority of sharks in the ocean—80% of shark species are four feet long or less!



We are home to Atlantic harbor seals and California sea lions

North Atlantic right whale conservation is also a major focus area for the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life. You can learn more about our efforts to protect this critically endangered species at the Aquarium or have the opportunity to see several whale species in the wild on a Whale Watch Cruise.

Yes, we have daily presentations at the Giant Ocean Tank, Penguin Colony, and Marine Mammal Center exhibits.

At any time during your visit, you can ask questions and converse in-depth with knowledgeable educators who are located throughout the building. If you are interested in additional experiences, please check out Animal Encounters, educational activities, or contact Aquarium Reservations at 617-973-5206.

Yes, we do allow photography in the main building. Please respect the animals in our care by avoiding using flash or tapping on exhibits.

You can interact with a variety of ocean animals in the Shark and Ray Touch Tank! If you are interested in additional interaction experiences, check out Animal Encounters.

At the Aquarium, ocean conservation is at the center of everything we do. Explore our conservation work.

The Aquarium responds to distressed sea turtles only. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responds to calls about stranded seals, dolphins, and whale species. To report a sea turtle stranding, call the Aquarium at 617-973-5247. To report a stranded seal, dolphin, or whale, call NOAA at 866-755-6622.

Simons Theatre Questions

Learn more about our giant screen movie theater.

You are strongly encouraged to make advanced reservations via our website. The box office on the plaza is also open for walk-up visitors who need assistance or want to use cash.

The movies range from about 45 to 49 minutes in length.

Yes, you may. Please keep your tickets accessible (hard copy or electronic) so you may show them upon reentry.

Concessions are available during daytime films. Concession hours are subject to change. Outside food and drinks are not allowed in the theater.

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please get in touch with us.