New England Aquarium
New England Aquarium plaza
|Date opened||June 20, 1969|
|Location||Boston, Massachusetts, USA|
|Land area||75,000 sq.ft.|
|Number of animals||20,000|
|Number of species||600|
|Annual visitors||1.3 million|
In addition to the main aquarium building, attractions at the New England Aquarium include the Simons IMAX Theatre and the New England Aquarium Whale Watch, which operates from April through November. The aquarium has more than 22,000 members and hosts more than 1.3 million visitors each year.
Planning for the aquarium began in 1962, with the principal designer being Peter Chermayeff of Cambridge Seven Associates. The building was opened to the public in 1969. The Giant Ocean Tank opened in 1970, and at the time was the largest circular ocean tank in the world.
In 1974, a multi-storied ship, Discovery, was moored next to the Aquarium. It served as a floating mammal pavilion for the aquarium as the lack of land limited the aquarium's ability for expansion. This 1,000 seat observer stadium overlooked a 116,000 gallon pool. It hosted dolphins, until the mid-1990s, and sea lions, until the ship's retirement. Discovery was officially retired due its old age and high cost of maintain the ship in the mid-2000s.
The new West Wing was completed in 1998 by Schwartz/Silver Architects. The glass and steel addition includes the harbor seal exhibit on the public plaza, ticketing booth, changing exhibit galleries, gift shop, cafe, and lobby.
In 1999 the aquarium opened a new rehabilitation center for harbor porpoises in Duxbury, Massachusetts. The facility includes a 29,000-US-gallon (110,000 l; 24,000 imp gal) rehabilitation tank that can house three porpoises at a time.
The 428  seat Matthew and Marcia Simons IMAX® Theatre opened in 2001 in a separate building designed by E. Verner Johnson and Associates. The 6 story high screen is 85 feet wide by 65 feet high and its projector can show both 2D and 3D movies.
In 2003 the aquarium opened Amazing Jellies, a $1.9 million, twelve tank jellyfish exhibit emphasizing that jellyfish are survivors and are actually likely to increase with climate change.
In 2006, the aquarium earned full accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
In 2009, the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center opens. This open-air exhibit lets visitors view the aquarium's Northern fur seals.
In 2010, the Animal Care Center opened. This 23,000 sq.ft. off-site facility in Quincy, MA, includes holding space for animals during exhibit renovations, quarantine space for new arrivals and is home to the marine animal rescue and rehabilitation center.
Located in the central open atrium of the main building, the principal feature of the Aquarium is the Giant Ocean Tank, a cylindrical 200,000-US-gallon (760,000 l) tank simulating a Caribbean coral reef. This tank houses sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, eels, barracuda, and many smaller reef-living fish. Open at the top, the concrete tank is surrounded by a walkway that spirals down, allowing visitors access to 52 windows that offer views of the reef from every angle and level.
At the bottom, the tank stands in a large, square 150,000-US-gallon (570,000 l) penguin exhibit, hosting African penguins, Northern and Southern rockhopper penguins and little blue penguins. The penguin exhibit can be seen from the spiral walkway of the central tank or from elevated viewing areas that completely surround the perimeter. The penguins live on several artificial rock islands in the exhibit.
Surrounding the atrium are three levels of smaller exhibits including:
- The Thinking Gallery, also known as the Temperate Gallery, featuring Goliath grouper, ancient fishes, rare sea dragons, coastal environments, and thousands of schooling fish.
- The Freshwater Gallery focuses on freshwater habitats in South America compared to New England river systems. This gallery features piranhas, anacondas, electric eels, and Atlantic salmon.
- The Edge of the Sea tide pool. Visitors are allowed to touch New England tide pool animals including sea stars, sea urchins, snails, hermit crabs, and horseshoe crabs.
- The Northern Waters of the World Gallery focuses on New England marine habitats compared to Pacific Northwest habitats. The gallery features shorebirds, colored lobsters, goosefish, Giant Pacific Octopus, and countless other invertebrates.
- The Tropical Gallery features many colorful tropical fish, cuttlefish, venomous fish including lionfish, scorpionfish, and living corals.
- The Animal Medical Center gives visitors a behind-the-scenes view of what it takes to care for thousands of creatures including fish, reptiles, mammals, and birds.
In front of the Aquarium is a harbor seal exhibit. It can be seen for free without going into the building. Seven Northern fur seals are on exhibit behind the Aquarium in the open-air New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center on the harborside terrace, which opened in 2009 with views of Boston Harbor. All the New England Aquarium's marine mammals participate in daily training sessions that are open for public viewing and participation.
The Amazing Jellies exhibit in the West Wing features moon jellies, sea nettles, upside-down jellies, Palauan Lagoon jellies and Australian spotted jellies, all from diverse habitats around the world. In 2011, the Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank opened in the West Wing. At 25,000 US gallons (95,000 l), it is the largest on the east coast. Some of the species in the exhibit include cownose rays, yellow rays and guitarfish. It is a permanent exhibit that will allow for more interaction between the animals and the visitors.
Special exhibits 
- Penguin Power
Focusing on the aquarium's penguins in 2010, this theme helped show off the natural powers of penguins. Visitor learned how penguins survive in the wild and how to protect them.
- Move It! Marine Mammals in Motion
Coinciding with the opening of the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center in 2009, Marine Mammals In Motion highlighted the athleticism of the Aquarium's Northern fur seals and Atlantic harbor seals. A program pathway encouraged kids to be active with calf stretches, dancing, spinning and jumping. The Marine Mammal Center also draws connections between marine mammals and humans and points out the challenges marine mammals face in our oceans today.
- Turtles Uncovered
In this 2008 exhibit, visitors learned that turtles and tortoises have lived on Earth for about 300 million years, long before the dinosaurs were around, but now some turtles are faced with the threat of extinction due to pollution, habitat loss and global climate change.
- Sharks and Rays
A temporary touch tank in 2008, home to southern stingrays, cownose rays, yellow stingrays and coral catsharks,has now become a permanent exhibit, officially named the Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank. The clear, shallow water allows visitors to touch and feel the different species, watching them feed in the reconstruction of their natural mangrove and lagoon themed habitat. The tank not only promotes the animals' importance in maintaining the ecosystem, but also the maintenance humans can provide for the environment.
- Killer Instincts
This special program in 2007 helped visitors learn about the animals that we fear the most. The special program included an interactive passport program along with live animal presentations and a large-format, high definition shark video. Prehistoric marine reptiles appeared in 3D at the Simons IMAX Theatre in Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure. Featured animals included the sand tiger shark, anaconda, great barracuda, electric eel, lionfish, moray eel, giant Pacific octopus and southern stingray.
Presentations and Shows 
The aquarium has wonderful informative and entertaining live animal presentations around the aquarium every day. These live animal presentations bring the visitors up close with the animals.
- Penguin Feedings (currently suspended due to renovations)
Twice a day the Aquariums staff feed the penguins herring in the Penguin exhibits.
- Penguin Presentations (currently suspended due to renovations)
The Aquariums staff will teach the visitors about the three different species of penguins the aquarium has like where they live in the wild and what they eat.
- Giant Ocean Tank Divers (currently suspended due to renovations)
This is when the Aquariums divers would hand feed the animals in the 200,000 gallon tank.
- Giant Ocean Tank Talks (currently suspended due to renovations)
At the top of the GOT, visitors would learn about the animals (sea turtles, sharks, barracuda, etc.) that live in this huge exhibit including how this exhibit enormous tank was built and how the staff takes care of the animals in the exhibit.
- Harbor Seal Training Sessions
Taking place in the front plaza, visitors would see how these harbor seals interact with their trainers. These seals can give kiss, wave, and say a friendly hello.
- Fur Seal Training Sessions
These Northern Fur Seals in the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center will show visitors how these seals stay healthy and active with each activity such as rolling, waving, and stretching.
- Live Animal Presentations
Located at the presentation area on Level 1, this presentation will show off the aquariums most fascinating and frightening animals and that there is nothing to be scary about them.
- Climate Change Activities
New for 2011, taking place at the Penguin exhibit, the Aquariums staff will teach the visitors on how they can help protect the ocean animals from climate change.
The New England Aquarium is on Central Wharf along Atlantic Avenue in Boston and adjacent to Long Wharf and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The nearest subway stop is Aquarium Station on the MBTA's Blue Line, but the aquarium is a short walk from the Haymarket Station on the Orange and the Green Lines. The Aquarium is within walking distance of the North End, Government Center, and the Financial District.
Whale Watch 
During the months of April to October, the aquarium hosts a whale watch cruise. Aboard the Voyager III, watchers will interact with naturalists and educators. The ship whisks the watchers to a location 30 miles east of Boston called the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. This rich feeding ground is home to a wide diversity of large whales, such as humpback whales, finback whales, minke whales, pilot whales, and the endangered right whales. Also, in some cases, a white-sided dolphin might be seen. Most trips last around 3 to 4 hours.
If, in the unusual circumstance happens that no whales are sighted, then a voucher would be given to the watchers to come back again.
Cancelled Expansions 
In the late 1980s there were plans to sell the current land to build a bigger aquarium in the Charlestown Navy Yard (Drydock #5). The project was to cost $150 million and was to take up 278,300 square feet (25,850 m2) of land. Designs had the drydock to be flooded and at one exhibit visitors were 19 feet (5.8 m) below ground. If it had been built it would have been the largest aquarium made at that time. The proposed aquarium was predicted to attract around 2 million visitors each year. However, the proposal to move the aquarium was cancelled in 1991, when neighbors of the proposed site objected it and when the aquarium couldn't make a reasonable amount of money from the Central Wharf site.
When the site movement was cancelled, the aquarium proposed to expand the current aquarium on both sides in 1992 (East wing expansion and West wing expansion). The East wing project would have been a 79,000 - 90,000 sq ft (8,400 m2). expansion costing $43 million including a 1.1 million gallon Gulf Stream Exhibit. Also it included a 20 ft (6.1 m) x 30 ft (9.1 m) window of the new 550,000 gallon Gulf of Maine Exhibit. It was proposed to be finished in 2004, but was cancelled after 9/11 due to the attendance dropping because of fear of bombing of crowd areas, the Big Dig project closing the Aquarium T stop, and the rising cost of the project, up to $125 million. In order to pay back the money they raised, they had to have major cuts ($1.4 millions in debt), causing the aquarium to lose its accreditation in 2003.  However, now the aquarium is back on track financially and is doing very well. A new facility, if built in 2012, would cost about $400 million to build.
The Future 
Cambridge Seven Associates is working with the museum on upgrades to the Giant Ocean Tank, as well as creating other exhibits. As a final part to their five-year $42 million dollar upgrade, which started in 2007, the New England Aquarium will begin renovating the Giant Ocean Tank around Labor Day of 2012 to July 2013. The 200,000 gallon tank will receive enlarged viewing windows, a new reef inside it, enhanced lighting, and a reflective domed ceiling overhead. In addition, the wooden wall encircling the ocean tank would be replaced with a transparent acrylic wall to facilitate better viewing, a new ramp would be constructed from the fourth floor elevator to the top of tank, a new education center will be located on the top floor, giant screens will be added that connect to divers helmet camera for onlookers to see, and on the ground floor a new exhibit called the Blue Planet Action Center will be constructed to show the aquarium's conservancy efforts. During the renovation the Giant Ocean Tank's inhabitants will be temporarily relocated to the penguin exhibit. Most of the aquarium's penguins would be moved to the aquarium's animal care center in Quincy. However, the little blue penguins will stay at the aquarium in a temporary exhibit near the New Balance Marine Mammal Center. By June 2013 the animals should be back in their home with 70-80 new species of sharks and fishes, including Georgio, Fredrick, and Pasqualay, the 5 year old axolotl triplets.
As of October 5, 2012, the aquarium's renovation has begun with the penguins being moved into their new temporary homes. Also construction has started on the Giant Ocean Tank with the penguin exhibit temporary renamed as the Tropical Oceans exhibit.
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