Photo credit: Nicole Wakelin / Nerdy TravelingMom

There be dragons at the aquarium! Photo credit: Nicole Wakelin / Nerdy TravelingMom

The New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts opened back in 1969. That was a year before I was born and three years before my family moved to New Hampshire. I can’t really say when I first visited because it has just always been there as a place to go and look at ocean life.

I remember the commercials from when I was a kid and I can remember begging my parents to make the drive into the city. It seemed like a very long drive, but it’s only about 45 minutes and it’s a straight shot right down the highway right to the parking garage. This is something I only discovered as a grown-up.

Spend the Day at the Aquarium

Once I had my own kids, the aquarium became a frequent haunt for me and my friends with kids. It’s fantastically located right on the water in the heart of Boston so on a nice day you can grab food from a street vendor, sit on a bench, and eat by the ocean.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped going to the aquarium. I couldn’t say why, but it probably was just a matter of my kids getting a little older. They’re 11 and 12½ so they’re pretty much done with little kid outings.

Photo credit: Nicole Wakelin / Nerdy TravelingMom

Penguins. So cute in their tuxedos. Photo credit: Nicole Wakelin / Nerdy TravelingMom

A few weekends back, my husband thought it would be a great idea to travel into Boston for the day and visit the aquarium once again. I thought the kids would never go for it but they jumped at the chance.

The one drawback to visiting this time of year is that the line to get in is outside the building. It’s January as I type these words and Boston is cold. We had a bit of a wait but survived the cold and were once again looking at the giant fish tank from my childhood.

The tank is in the center of the aquarium – and it is huge. It starts at the ground floor and goes all the way to the top of the building. You follow a twisting pathway alongside it and can eventually look down into the tank from above. It’s kind of spooky and kind of cool all at once.

So Many Penguins!

There is a huge area with penguins right at the base of the fish tank and, for the first time, we saw them feed the penguins. It was one of the cutest things ever. We learned a lot and must have stood there a good half hour before the kids had their fill and we wandered further into the building.

We visited display after display on our way to the top of the tank and still didn’t see it all. The place is truly huge and almost overwhelming, but we just looked at the things that caught our attention. Trying to really see everything would ruin the experience.

Photo credit: Nicole Wakelin / Nerdy TravelingMom

One cannot have too many penguin things. Photo credit: Nicole Wakelin / Nerdy TravelingMom

It’s not a matter of seeing every last exhibit and reading about every last fish. Truly, in some ways, it wasn’t about the fish at all. It was about spending a day with my family, goofing around, learning a little something, and traveling back to a place that I’d forgotten could be fun.

The only thing we didn’t get to do was sit outside and have lunch, but we’re already planning another day in the city when the weather gets warm. Instead, we walked just across the street to New England staple Legal Seafood for dinner.

I know, don’t even get me started on the fact that we spent the day looking at fish at the New England Aquarium and then proceeded to eat some of them for dinner.