Aquariums Near The Seacoast


As a former marine biologist, I’m partial to the occasional aquarium trip. I love viewing the animals, learning about new ones, and experiencing the “vibe” of being surrounded by living things swimming in water! As it turns out, my children have shown interest in this subject as well, and lucky for us – there are multiple aquariums to visit within a short drive of the Seacoast. Here is my list of aquariums near the Seacoast and what to know before you go.

children look at otters at aquarium
To view playful otters, visit the Living Shores Aquarium in Glen, NH.

Why visit an aquarium near the Seacoast

Aquariums hold a unique allure for both children and adults alike. For children, however, they offer a truly enriching and captivating experience. Aquariums provide an invaluable opportunity for kids to connect with the wonders of the underwater world. As they gaze at the vibrant fish gliding through the water, they not only witness nature’s beauty but also develop a deep sense of curiosity and awe. Moreover, these aquatic wonderlands serve as living classrooms, teaching children about marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and conservation. They can witness firsthand the intricate balance of life and the importance of preserving our oceans.

toddler girl stares into aquarium
My daughter views the tanks at the Seacoast Science Center.

What to know before you go to an aquarium near the Seacoast

Before you go to an aquarium near the Seacoast, go through this check list to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Check the season, days, and hours of operation. Most Seacoast-area aquariums change hours by season to accommodate tourists.
  • Check to see if you need to reserve your ticket online. Some aquariums require advance ticket orders – especially during busy summer weekends.
  • Ask your local library if they have free passes. Many Seacoast libraries offer half price or even free passes. This usually requires advanced planning.
  • Research parking. Make sure you have a plan for parking and know if you have to pay.
  • Find out the stroller policy. Some of these aquariums are not stroller friendly. If you are bringing a baby, I recommend bringing a carrier just in case.
  • Pack the essentials: water, (lots of) snacks, and diapers/extra clothing (if appropriate).

Ready to go? Here are five aquariums near the Seacoast

Seacoast Science Center – Rye, New Hampshire

Address: 570 Ocean Blvd, Rye, NH 03870

Summer Hours: Wednesday–Monday, 10am-4pm

Cost: Age 12-adult: $12, Age 3-11: $10, Seniors, Military, and Veterans: $10, Members: Free

Tickets: They recommend you purchase tickets in advance to ensure entry. Walk-in visits to SSC are subject to availability.

Parking: Parking is at Odiorne Point State park and is an additional fee of $4 for teens/adults and $2 for age 6-12. SSC members and state park plate owners receive free parking.

The Seacoast Science Center is a gem of a small aquarium in the heart of the Seacoast. Highlights of this aquarium included the suspended whale skeleton, intertidal touch tank, lobster tank, jellyfish, and seahorses. Located on the rocky shore of Odiorne Point State park, visitors can also access the state’s best location to tide pool, as well as hike the perimeter loop, or visit the playground. 

boys at touch tank
My son and his friend love the touch tank at the Seacoast Science Center.

Great Bay Discovery Center – Greenland, New Hampshire

Address: 89 Depot Rd, Greenland, NH 03840

Summer Hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm

Cost: Free, suggested donation

Tickets: Free, there is no advanced ticket sales

Parking: Free, with a large parking lot

The Great Bay Discovery Center exhibit hall is open seasonally from May to October. This newly renovated education center features interactive exhibits including a live osprey cam, lobstering and clamming play corner, and viewing tank with local mudflat organisms – including horseshoe crabs. I recommend following the center on social media since they offer many kid-friendly community outreach events including weekly storytime, touch tank interpretive programs, and more. In addition to the small science center, the campus has a phenomenal short trail that offers attractions for youngsters as well as views of the wetland. Lastly, this site has picnic facilities and a unique naturescape playground

boy holds horseshoe crab
Attend a “Critter Dinner” hour and you can feed a horseshoe crab!

Living Shores Aquarium – Glen, New Hampshire

Address: 850 Pinkham Notch Road, NH-16, Glen, NH 03838

Summer Hours: 7 days a week, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cost: $24.99 a ticket at the door, $19.99 a person if purchased online, Age 2 and younger are free, Senior and Military discount

Tickets: Purchase online or at the door. Advanced tickets are discounted $5.

Parking: Free, with a large parking lot.

The Living Shores Aquarium is located just across the parking lot of Storyland in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. This fairly large, single story aquarium has a number of large, interactive displays. With so much to touch, my five and seven year old spent a very active two hours here. Highlights included the stingray touch tank, lorikeet aviary, petting a bearded dragon, having their hands nibbled by little fish, and watching the otters train. 

boys hand covered in fish at living shores aquarium
My 5 and 7 year old loved all the hand on exhibits at Living Shores Aquarium.

New England Aquarium – Boston, Massachusetts

Address: 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

Summer Hours: 7 days a week, 9 a.m–6 p.m

Cost: Adult: $34, Child (3-11): $25, College/Senior: $32, Children under 3: Free. This price does not include tickets to the movie or whale watch

Tickets: Highly recommend purchasing tickets online – it regularly sells out.

Parking: There is no official parking for the aquarium, however the Harbor Garage is just 0.1 miles away. Parking here costs $32 for up to 8 hours with aquarium validation and $42 without.

The New England Aquarium of Boston is arguably one of the best aquariums in the country – as well as being the most expensive visit on our list. With a large diversity of fish and sea creatures, the stunning enormous grand ocean tank, and four levels of exhibits – you can literally spend all day here. With the high price, this one to ask your local library about. Many Seacoast libraries (including Dover and Rochester) offer free or discounted tickets to their members. This is a must-visit in the region.

Boy next to whale skeleton at New England Aquarium
My son loved the big whale skeleton and the touch tanks, while my daughter enjoyed the Great Ocean Tank with the sea turtle at the New England Aquarium.

Oceanarium – Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

Address: 367 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842

Summer Hours: 6 days a week (closed Wednesdays), 10 a.m–5 p.m

Cost: $8 a person

Tickets: Purchase tickets at the door. Groups should schedule ahead of time.

Parking: Hampton Beach parking varies based on location. Hampton Beach State Park is $15.00 per auto & $30.00 per RV/empty bus/van.

The Oceanarium at Hampton Beach is a two-room, small aquarium located in the heart of Hampton Beach. Visitors entry includes a “biologist-led” talk followed by access to the exhibits and touch tanks at your leisure. Organisms include lobster, crabs, and sea stars. In addition, there are touchable shells, shark teeth, and other natural history items. This is a great stop to add to a beach day, and don’t forget to check out the playground as well!

boy looks at sea star at touch tank
The Oceanarium at Hampton Beach provides opportunity to view and handle lobster, crab, and sea stars.

Make an aquarium visit part of your family summer bucket list

Whether you are seeking a moment of peaceful reflection or a chance to learn about marine ecosystems, visiting an aquarium near the Seacoast offers an enriching and unforgettable experience. It opens a gateway to the wonders of the ocean, leaving you with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and fragility of aquatic life. So, take a plunge and allow the enchantment of the underwater world to leave an indelible mark on your soul.