Seal Deal

One of the best shows at the aquarium is free.

sealdealPhoto: New England Aquarium

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dmission to the New England Aquarium may cost an arm and a fin, but you can see one of the best shows for free, and another for cheap, if you know where to look. Tucked behind the aquarium’s ticket booths, seven Atlantic harbor seals are on permanent free display. Catch them at 11:45 a.m. for a daily training sesh, when they show off some water acrobatics. If that’s not enough, head to the 3-D IMAX theater next door, which you’ll be surprised to find costs less than your two-dimensional neighborhood megaplex. (Icing on the cake: The snacks are cheaper too.) There’s a rotating selection of shows every hour on the hour. Templeton

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The Boston Aquarial Gardens, which opened in 1859, was the world’s first freestanding aquarium, which used steam engines to pump salt water from the harbor to tanks that, among other things, housed a 12-foot beluga whale. The aquarium was taken over in 1862 by showman P.T. Barnum, and closed in 1863.

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