Friday, March 5, 2010

New England Aquarium on Family Fun Friday

Zoos, aquariums, and nature reserves are all places my family loves to visit.  As a result, animal related field trips are high on our list of fun activities.  And better yet, we get to count our field trips as doing school!

Knowing his love for animals (in books or behind glass), it came as no surprise that visiting the New England Aquarium for his birthday sounded fun to Benjamin.
The major exhibit of the Aquarium is a giant tank holding a man-made "coral" reef in which lots of different sea creatures swim around together.  A ramp gradually spirals around the tank with lots of windows for you to watch the animals.  On each of the 3 floors are additional tanks with smaller exhibits.

Overall, my family enjoyed our visit.  We observed living examples of various species that we've been learning about this year in Science.  Nothing beats seeing a leafy sea dragon, sea turtle, shark, or octopus in person (as long as there's glass between you!).

We also climbed to the top level of the tank to watch the divers hand feed some of the animals.  Looking into the tank from the top gives you a very different perspective from looking in the windows.

Even though we had a great time I was really disappointed in the Aquarium.  It is NOT at all stroller friendly.  One entire exhibit is closed to strollers, to get to the top of the tank we had to carry Sam and the stroller upstairs, and visiting the Cafe required wandering through back hallways to use the elevator.

We did not see a hands-on pool, though after looking at the website again I think we just missed it because we were searching for the elevator.  If it's the area I remember, it was small and very crowded while we were there.

It's also very expensive.  We spent over $80 on admission for my family.  Because this was a birthday celebration I'm o.k. with spending that much.  We also bought 4 burgers and 2 large fries at the Cafe for $31!!  Holy Smokes!  I am not o.k. with that but we didn't have a lot of options.

Like I said, overall it was a fun day but there were a lot of little things that disappointed me.  Next time I think we'll drive to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut.  They don't have a giant tank but the animals feel a lot more accessible.

What aquariums, zoos, and reserves does your family enjoy visiting?

Family Fun Friday is a weekly column.  Feel free to leave a link in the comments to your own posts about a fun activity your family has recently experienced.


Jenn said...

That sounds like fun- we love aquariums!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

We loves zoos and aquariums. We spend a lot of time at the zoo and when we travel we try to make it a point to visit the local zoo. I have yet to take Emily to the nearest aquarium (about 2 hrs away). I worried about how accessible it would be. Guess that would be a valid concern if I was taking her to NE Aquarium. good to know.

Kat said...

After my family moved to NJ, we always went to the Camden Aquarium (Camden, NJ). They are extremely accessible, although a little pricey. But they have very good 'kid friendly' areas where you can touch, and feel, and there are a lot of moving parts.
Also, they offer a picnic option. They have eating areas where you can bring your own lunch and sit and eat during your visit.
It was always a lot of fun going to the aquarium with my family.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

John and I visited that aquarium on our honeymoon! We honeymooned in Boston (LOVED it) and our hotel was actually on the same wharf (Long Wharf?). I thought it was cool... still have some pics around here somewhere!

Glad you had fun, and sorry it was so expensive!

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