The sheer variety of sea creatures that make their home in the waters that surround Cape Cod constantly surprises and awes us, and the Woods Hole Science Aquarium is a special place that celebrates these wondrous beings. Home to over 140 species of northwestern sea animals, the Woods Hole Aquarium isn’t a large establishment, but the compassion and caring that our “refugee” friends receive compares to that from much larger aquariums. Dedicated to making the world a better place, the staff and volunteers who come back day after day deserve bigger applause and recognition than they receive—but they wouldn’t change a thing!

The History

Woods Hole Science Aquarium is one of the oldest in the nation, having opened its doors for business in 1885. New Englanders have always been ahead of the game when it comes to conservation and preservation! Originally established as a summer research station 10 years before it officially became WHSA, other aquariums may claim to be the oldest, but they don’t have the paperwork to back it up. Offering conservation, rehabilitation, education, and research since the beginning days, the original Woods Hole Aquarium was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1954; today’s building has been in use since 1961.


Featuring live fish, lobsters, and crabs, as well as being a major seal rescue center, this Cape Cod aquarium offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of our sea friends. Visitors can touch or hold some of the marine life that lives in what the aquarium calls touch tanks, but they need to be gentle; some of the creatures housed here are very delicate. Seals that can no longer live safely in open waters are housed in an outdoor 17,000-gallon pool, allowing them to reach full maturity in safety and security. Dry exhibits include collections of shells, skeletons, and teeth of local sea creatures, as well as teaching exhibits on whale protection and marine turtles.

The Details

Located at 166 Water Street and open year-round Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:00AM to 4:00 PM, admission is 100% free to all visitors. Donations are accepted, however, so if your experience is a good one (and they ALL are, trust us!), feel free to drop a few dollars in the donation receptacles. Woods Hole Science Aquarium is a non-profit organization and all proceeds go towards the care, research, and preservation of this worthy Cape Cod aquarium.

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