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With Salem schools starting on Sept. 4, the Wednesday after Labor Day, parents and caregivers may be looking for that last summer vacation outing that is fun, affordable, and educational. So, the gift of free admission to the New England Aquarium for all Salem, Massachusetts, residents on Sunday and Monday of the Labor Day weekend and throughout the month of September is exciting news.

The special benefit for all Salem residents is made possible by the Norman H. Read Trust. Norman H. Read, a Salem native and generous benefactor who died in 1992 at age 100, made his fortune in the sciences of oil and natural gas in Texas and Alaska. Generations of his family were residents of Salem since colonial days. Before he died, he created a trust as a means to enhance excellence in science education for all Salem residents. 

Included among those efforts of the Norman H. Read Trust is sponsoring a free admission program to the New England Aquarium exclusive for Salem residents for all of September 2019. That is about a savings of more than $100 for most families to see the Aquarium’s new Indo-Pacific Coral Reef exhibit as well as the always-popular penguins, California sea lions, Northern fur seals, and thousands of other aquatic animals. September is a great month to visit the Aquarium as the crowds of summertime tourists have departed.

Proof of Residence
At the Aquarium’s box office, Salem residents will need to show either their licenses, state identification cards, passports, or current mortgage, insurance, utility, or banking statements. This offer is not available for phone or online orders, or for school or other group reservations. It may not be combined with other offers and is not valid on the New England Aquarium Whale Watch or in the Simons IMAX Theatre.

Take the Salem Ferry
For a car-free adventure, Boston Harbor Cruises offers discounted tickets for Salem residents on the Fast Ferry that runs four and five crossings a day from Salem’s Blaney Street Pier into Boston’s Long Wharf North, near the Aquarium.

Activities Near the Aquarium  

To build out a full day with kids in Boston beyond a free visit to the Aquarium, Salem residents might consider these entertainment options that are nearby. The Rose Kennedy Greenway in front of the Aquarium has a water feature called Rings Fountain for kids to run through and get wet, a merry-go-round, and other fun and walkable features down to South Station. 

Stroll over to Quincy Market and check out their street performers. A bounty of food options abound there or pack a lunch and cross the Greenway to have a picnic on the wide lawns of Christopher Columbus Park overlooking sailboats tied up in the harbor. This park is one of Boston’s best kept secrets, tucked between the Long Wharf Marriott and the North End. The lawns are big enough for the kids to play with a ball or a frisbee as adults get off their feet. You can finish the day by enjoying a gelato in the North End as you explore Boston’s iconic Italian neighborhood.