Yes, I am in a relationship with the city of Boston. No, I am not Katelyn Crowley. But when Katelyn Crowley was too busy having dates to write about dates, she asked me to fill in.
Date number six: The New England Aquarium
I feel like when most people ask where to go on a casual date in Boston, a lot of people will answer, "The Aquarium." This idea appeals to me because I am a child in a 21 year-old's body. With a boy, friends, my parents on a Saturday night, I'm going to be down. So when I was wooing my boyfriend, Gino, obviously the New England Aquarium seemed like the perfect place for said wooing. Getting all up on manta rays, the constant fishy smell, crying children--romance. Most guys would not say no to an aquarium invitation, and if they do, they are certainly not my type anyway. Coercion is even easier when you can get free tickets from Robsham (one per ID per semester).
So when I invited Gino he was just like, "Well is there a walrus that can do this?"
And I said "Probs not, but there's penguins," so we went regardless of the Aquarium's glaring lack of a walrus with moves like MJ.
It's pretty easy to get there from the Reservoir station, especially if you forgo going to the obvious "Aquarium" stop and instead get off at Government Center and walk through Faneuil Hall.
It was midday on a hot Saturday, so there was a mad long line. With our free Robsham tickets in hand, however, we cruised by straight on through to the shark and ray touch tank on the left side of the aquarium entrance. I'm sure most aquariums have touch tanks, but this was cool to do and a great way to get your hands smelling nice. I was about as excited as this kid that you could touch "whatever you want."
The main area of the aquarium is awesome. The primary exhibit, the giant ocean tank, has been under renovation for a while, and just opened back up this summer. I'm going to pretend I'm educated artistically and say it reminded me of the Guggenheim, but really the circling ramp just allows for you to chase fish better as they're swimming by.
As the ramp goes up, each floor has a ton of different tanks. There's some interactive options, like recording your voice to try to match that of a whale's (hilarious, trust me). The layout of the aquarium is kind of a confusing free-for-all, but it allows you to go at your own pace and stay as long as you'd like.
You can't not have fun at this aquarium, unless you're a weirdo. Or an adult, I guess. It's definitely a good idea for a date when you're still getting to know someone. Does he shy away when confronted with touching a crab? Does she find penguins amusing? Crucial information. Plus there are seals, and everybody likes seals.
I would say the pièce de résistance by far was the penguin exhibit, which circles the bottom of the big ocean tank. I mean look at this guy mean muggin' all of the obnoxious kids (and us) pointing at him. Pure aquatic gold.
Penguins, seals, and the ability to freely grope fish aside, there's another perk of going to the Aquarium: it's right on the harbor by Faneuil Hall. So once you're done with the aquarium and you've decided that you still like your date, you can get something to eat at Quincy Market, grab a drink at one of the great bars by Government Center, or walk along the harbor. Or all of the above (recommended).
Summer hours for the aquarium are Sunday-Thursday 9AM-6PM and Friday-Saturday 9AM-7PM. Click for more information. Tickets are $25, $30 if you opt to see an IMAX movie as well.
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