The New England Aquarium in downtown Boston is built around a 4-story, 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank. A wrap-around ramp, with viewing windows along the way, leads up and around the tank to exhibits on other floors that range from penguins to octopus to jellyfish. We spent a full day at the aquarium, enjoying the exhibits, taking a behind-the-scenes tour, and watching two ocean-themed IMAX films.
Trip highlights from our day in downtown Boston and at the aquarium follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps
The Old State House, built in 1713, housed the colony’s government. A number of key events in the American Revolution occurred here, including the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence from the State House’s balcony in 1776.
The Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads is the first public sculpture project by internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. The bronze animal heads represent the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac and is here on the Rose Kennedy Greenway as part of a multi-year global tour.
On the ground floor at the New England Aquarium. The view is looking across the penguin exhibit to the 4-story, 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank that anchors the aquarium. A wrap-around ramp leads up and around the tank to the exhibits on other floors, with viewing windows into the tank all along the walkway.
An African Penguin at the New England Aquarium. Also called the Jackass Penguin due to their donkey-like braying sound, these are the same species of penguin at the Stoney Point Penguin Colony we visited in the wild in South Africa.
The Southern Rockhopper penguin breeds on rugged, rocky islands located in the sub-Antarctic and south temperate regions of the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans. They look similar to the Fiordland Crested Penguin we saw in Fiordland.
Looking through one of the viewing windows into the Giant Ocean Tank as we walked between levels. The tank is spectacular and packed with more than a thousand animals. They’re all well-fed so the larger animals don’t usually prey on the smaller ones.
Anacondas are the largest snakes in the world, growing to 30 feet long and weighing more than 500 pounds. They can eat mammals that weigh up to about 150 pounds. They wrap around their prey and squeeze, tightening each time the animal exhales until it can’t take another breath, then they swallow it whole.
The aquarium galleries are built with service floors a half level above the viewing galleries so that the tops of the tanks are accessible roughly at waist level. On the right is one of the exhibit tanks and on the left are breeding, research or holding tanks.
One of the few open tanks we saw from behind. Many exhibits have to be carefully closed and sometimes sealed so their occupants don’t escape. Octopus are particularly adept escape-artists and can fit through anything the size of their beak or larger.
The Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center was closed for the day when we first visited, so we stopped in on our way back to Dirona.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.