Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: The New England Aquarium, Boston

I have to admit my opinion of the New England Aquarium is probably tainted by the fact that we visited it on a Sunday, when the weather was lousy, and every tourist in Boston with children was also there. It was crowded. It was noisy. But we knew that would happen and expected it.

What I didn't expect was the price of $22.95 per adult or $20.95 for over 60 (me). The adult price is only $2 less than the National Aquarium in Baltimore, an aquarium that is in my opinion far superior.

My daughter and I were disappointed in the signage and layout of the aquarium. There is a huge reef tank in the center and it is possible to look down into it ... only after CLIMBING up stairs to the top level ... there is NO access for the handicapped. Restrooms are located only on the lower level unlike the super Museum of Science (we visited two days later) which had bathrooms on every level and in every wing and was totally accessible with escalators and elevators.

When we entered the aquarium, we were immediately asked if we would like to have our picture taken. No commitment to buy. Sure. But because of the photo taking, and how we were directed around the area, we totally missed the signage to the new huge shark and ray touch tank, an exhibit the aquarium is very proud of and is promoting all over the place. (We left during the afternoon and returned later in the day with free re-entry, to visit when it was a bit quieter ... that's when we finally found the exhibit.)

If visiting a big city aquarium is new to you, then a visit to this aquarium on a sunny day when it is less crowded would probably be a nice experience. But if you have visited aquariums like the National Aquarium in Baltimore, don't bother. I had a better time with my husband and grandkids when we visited the small Atlantic City aquarium priced at $6 for a senior and $5 for the children.

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