New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium to Reopen July 16, But With Capacity Capped

The beloved Boston aquarium is reopening to visitors while following, and in one case exceeding, state and local coronavirus safety guidelines

an Atlantic harbor seal, peeks out of an outdoor exhibit at the New England Aquarium in Boston.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The New England Aquarium will reopen its doors to the public on July 16, but with much smaller crowds and other changes designed to keep visitors safe from the new coronavirus.

The aquarium closed on March 13, as the coronavirus pandemic brought all non-essential businesses to a close in Massachusetts. But on Monday, Boston will join the rest of the state in Phase 3 of Gov. Charlie Baker's reopening plan, which allows museums to open again.

"We are thrilled that the Commonwealth and the City of Boston have deemed it safe for us to welcome back the public to our institution, and we are grateful for their leadership and guidance," said Vikki N. Spruill, the aquarium's president & CEO, in a statement. "These have been a challenging few months for so many, and we have missed our visitors. During our reopening, we are focused on providing a responsible, safe and fun experience for all."

To prepare for reopening, the aquarium said it has been carefully planning for the public to safely return. That includes capping the number of people allowed inside at 15% -- far lower than the 40% cap required by state regulations.

Myrtle, a green sea turtle, is estimated to be 90 years old and could live for decades more. She currently resides at the New England Aquarium.

Other measures the aquarium said it's taking include timed tickets, a one-way flow that will take guests through exhibits in the same direction, contactless entry so visitors don't have to physically interact with staff taking tickets, more thorough cleaning and more.

To learn more about what to expect from the aquarium's new set-up or to buy tickets, visit

While it was closed, the beloved Boston institution has been focused on caring for its 20,000 animals as well as continuing conservation work at its Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, according to a statement from the aquarium.

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