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Resident blue lobsterThe collection consists of approximately 140 species of fish and invertebrates (crabs, lobsters, sea stars) found in New England waters, including tropical fish that ride the Gulf Stream into our waters every summer.

Some animals you may see:

  • cod, haddock, flounders, lobster, striped bass, and other animals important to commercial and recreational fishermen
  • toadfish, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, skates, and other animals important to biomedical researchers
  • shells, bones, and baleen from endangered turtles and whales
  • other animals with unusual colors (blue lobsters), odd life histories (sea bass change gender), or striking appearances (toothy wolfish, lovely angelfish, and sea ravens with their bizarre beards

Open work area

Icky stinky fish foodThe work area behind the tanks is open to the public. WHSA visitors can talk to the staff as we prepare fish food, feed animals, and clean tanks. So come back with your questions and get ready to see some pretty unfamiliar delicacies.


Touch tanks

Holding a brittle sea starThe open work area includes touch tanks where visitors can gently touch marine animals. The touch tanks usually contain labeled shells and a variety of living animals that may include lobsters, horseshoe crabs, spider crabs, hermit crabs, whelks, sea stars, and fish (tautogs) that don’t mind being touched gently with two fingers.

Seal habitat

Examining a sealOur only outdoor exhibit, the seal habitat includes an enclosed, 17,000 gallon pool that is the permanent home for seals who are unable to live in the wild. When seals are in residence, we usually feed them when we open in the morning and when we close in the afternoon. Feeding sessions are also training sessions during which we give the seals exercise and train them in husbandry behaviors. Most training sessions are open to the public. We have no seals in residence at this time.


Dry exhibits

The aquarium has display cases with bones, skulls, and teeth of sharks and other marine creatures. We also have non-living exhibits on:

  • whale protection
  • marine turtles
  • the science of “aging” fish
  • the New England marine environment
  • the history of science in Woods Hole

did you know
More people are killed each year by electrocution by Christmas tree lights than by shark attacks.

view slideshow
See photos of the animals we love and care for.
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