Exploration Center & Aquarium

jelly fish

Easton's Beach, Newport

Whether you're a local or just visiting the Newport area, our Exploration Center & Aquarium with its beachfront location, is the perfect family destination. 

Our interactive marine science center is home to more than 140 species from Narragansett Bay. Children can get face-to-fin with lobsters, crabs, and fish from our local waterways. With Newport's only ocean-facing beach just outside our front door, you can continue the beachcombing experience after your visit.

February Theme - Sensational Seals 

The wildly diverse and enduring seal species of Narragansett Bay and beyond take center stage this month at our Aquarium. Throughout February the Exploraiton Center & Aquarium will hold special activities centered on Sensational Seals and their adaptations to life in the Bay. The fun doesn’t stop there, however, as our weekend seal tours allow visitors to see the fur-covered mammals resting on rocks, or “hauling out,” and “bottling” in the water by floating with their nose just above the surface.

Narragansett Bay is visited in the winter by several different seal species that may look similar at a glance. Their size and adaptations, however, show the diversity among them. The hooded seal, for instance, might be confused with the commonly seen harbor seal at first, but hooded seals have a strange red “balloon” that inflates from their noses when they try to court females. Also, they are often much bigger than their cousins of the Bay. Many of the hooded seals can reach lengths over 7 feet long and weigh upwards of 900 pounds. The trait that all types of seals share is their layer of “blubber,” a thick covering of fatty skin beneath their fur that naturally insulates them from the cold, even the waters of New England they visit every winter. Even though the water is frigid to us, to the seals it’s actually considered warmer than their chilly, northern habitats.

Sensational Seals Daily Schedule:

11:00 Story Time: Seals
12:00 Critter Feeding
01:00 Scavenger Hunt with Sealia
02:00 Creature Feature: Harbor Seals
03:00 Beach Walk (weather dependent)

Featured exhibits

  • Three touch tanks
  • Big Fish of the Bay 
  • Smooth dogfish sharks
  • Little skates
  • Rare lobsters

Location

Easton's Beach Rotunda, 175 Memorial Boulevard, Newport, RI 02840 (map & directions)

Hours of operation

  • Memorial Day thru Labor Day: Daily 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Labor Day thru Memorial Day: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • February and April public school vacations: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Other important dates for the Exploration Center & Aquarium

  • OPEN - Monday, January 18, 2015 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

For more information call 401-324-6020

Admission

General admission is $8; Discounts for military ID and senior citizens

Family members and above enjoy FREE admission for 2 adults and 4 children. Become a member now

Open year-round for Schools and Groups, and offering education programs linked to the Grade Span Expectations.  Browse & book programs > 

Volunteer at the Exploration Center!

Interested in welcoming visitors to the center, taking care of the animals and teaching about marine life? Join our team as an intern or volunteer! Visit our volunteer & internship page or contact Volunteer Manager July Lewis for more information.