I Went to the Aquarium and All I Got Was an Empty Bank Account

Will and I have been meaning to take Natalie to the New England Aquarium for ages. We went to an aquarium in Tennessee when we visited my parents in April and she LOVED it – as much as an 8-month old can, at least.

We thought that visiting the aquarium now that she’s old enough to walk around by herself but still young enough to get in for free would be perfect.

We arrived bright and early just a few minutes after they opened, joining the short line of other parents with very young children that had the same idea. Hey, we’ve already been up for three hours, what else were we going to go?

I know aquariums are expensive to maintain but I still choked a bit at the $25 per ticket price tag. I’ve since learned that it is possible to get in for cheaper than that (with a museum pass, apparently? Must investigate.) but GOOD GOD that’s a lot of money for what we knew would be a short outing. It’s not like my toddler has the attention span to spend three hours there. And, to be totally honest, neither do I. It’s a great aquarium but you can only walk around the main tank so many times before becoming totally blasé about the stunning array of sea creatures inside.

The thing I always forget about aquariums is that they smell like aquariums. The NEAQ folks seem to run a tight ship and everything is very clean (we even got to watch them scrub down the rocks in the penguin enclosure), but, birds + sea life + salt water + damp, humid air = ick. It always feels like getting smacked in the face with a fish as soon as you walk in the door.

It was quiet enough that we released the kraken the toddler from the Ergo and let her walk by herself. She was drunk on freedom and dashed from tank to tank, pointing at each one for a moment, grinning, and then lurching on to the next.

Overall she did really, really well. There were a few instances when we tried take her hand to stop her from crashing into fellow aquarium-goers and she’d squawk and yank her hand away, careening off in the opposite direction. But for the most part she let us lead her through the slightly more crowded areas and didn’t mind standing back a few paces from the tanks so she couldn’t bang on the glass. Gentle gentle gentle!! 

2014-11-30 09.26.33-1 She didn’t seem quite as entranced by the fish as she did in April, but she was quite taken with the sea lions and the penguins. She waved bye-bye to the sea lions over and over again (“buh-buh!), perhaps trying in vain to tell her clueless parents that she was ready to go. And then my favorite moment of the day: we walked back to see the penguins, and she pointed at them and said, “Roooooooooooooo!”

2014-11-30 13.51.36 Animal identification: you’re doing it…surprisingly well, actually.

We walked back to our car in the parking garage, satisfied with our short outing and enjoying the rare warmth and sunshine of a late fall day. Excursions are the best! Let’s do more field trips like this! Boston is awesome!

Will put our ticket in the machine. That will be $37, please.

THIRTY-SEVEN DOLLARS FOR NINETY #$%*#$%)(*& MINUTES OF PARKING ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW.

Excursions are dumb. Let’s never leave the house again.

2014-11-30 10.22.18-1

Exactly, Natalie.

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