The Woods Hole Science Aquarium was established in 1875, making it the country’s first – and oldest – marine aquarium. The facility is home to more 140 marine species of marine animals, touch tanks, dry exhibits, and so much more.
If you enjoy ocean science – or just looking at fascinating and colorful fish – you’ll love the Woods Hole Science Aquarium! The historic facility has been in operation on Cape Cod for almost 145 years. Nearly 80,000 people visit the aquarium every year, with over one million visitors since 2002!
Visiting The Aquarium
Woods Hole Science Aquarium is just 4 miles South – less than a 10 minute drive – from our Falmouth bed and breakfast, The Captain’s Manor Inn.
The historic facility focuses primarily on marine animals found in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic waters of our country’s coast. It also features tropical fish that come into our waters seasonally via the Gulf Stream.
The aquarium includes an outdoor seal pool, 20 tanks, 15 aquariums, and two touch tanks. You never know what animals you’ll see at the aquarium, as they are regularly rotated back to the wild. Typical tank residents include: cod, haddock, flounder, striped bass, triggerfish, lionfish, toadfish, sea ravens, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, and skates.
Smaller, hardier creatures populate the aquarium’s touch tanks. Lobsters, quahogs, horseshoe crabs, spider crabs, starfish, and hermit crabs.
Dry exhibits at the aquarium include information on marine environments, endangered species, and marine science. You’ll also see bones, skulls, teeth, shells, and baleen from a variety of endangered species, including whales and turtles.
Visitors to the aquarium enjoy self-guided tours of the main tanks and exhibits. You can also take a behind-the-scenes peep at Aquarium operations and talk with staff. You never know what fascinating tidbits or special surprises they may have to share.
Harbor Seals at the Aquarium
One of the most popular attractions at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium are the harbor seals. Tens of thousands of visitors come every year specifically to watch the seals get fed and trained and to learn more about them.
Seals at the aquarium are rescues who are only kept until they can be safely returned to the wild. Sometimes their injuries cause them to become permanent residents of the aquarium, however.
That was the story with LuSeal and Bumper, both of which lived at the aquarium for nearly a full decade before passing in 2017. Harbor seal rescues are common, though, and the aquarium will soon have more temporary seal guests for you to meet.
Woods Hole Science Aquarium
166 Water Street Woods Hole, MA 02543
The aquarium is currently on winter hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 4pm. It is closed all federal holidays. Admission to the aquarium is free but you should consider making a donation if you enjoyed your visit.