My friends, Jowanna, Kevin and I visited the Ocean Explorium in New Bedford last week. It was our first time visiting here and we discovered accessing the Ocean Explorium is not easy for a person in a wheelchair yet once inside we found the Ocean Explorium is an accessible educational and recreational place to visit. The Ocean Explorium is open to public Thurs- Sun from 10-4. The cost of General Admission is: Adults: $7.50; Seniors: $6.00; and Children:?$5.50.

Upon arriving, we realized immediately that there isn’t any handicap parking spaces located in front of the Explorium and we didn’t see an accessible ramp at the main entrance. Yet that didn’t detour us. We parked our van in a space on the public street right around the corner and proceeded with our visit. First stop, the inaccessible main entrance. A very kind woman came outside and told us that we can enter through the Bank Five’s entrance and then take an elevator to first floor which is where the rear door of the Ocean Explorium is located. You will need to call when you arrive to have the door unlocked.

After entering Bank Five we took the elevator to the first floor and arrived at the rear entrance of the Ocean Explorium. Here a very nice lady greeted us at the door and held it open for us to enter. Once inside we proceeded to the main information desk; here we found the volunteers were very eager to share information with us. The money collected for admission is used to keep the Explorium open and running. There are sphere shows to watch and other daily activities; all which teach the visitors about the life of all the sea creatures. We decided to stroll around and visit all the exhibits. While here I was happy to see my friend Amanda’s brother, Joe and stopped to take a picture.

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I really enjoyed seeing the Living Ocean exhibits of vibrant living coral reefs, New England fishes, scallops, jellyfish, seahorses and more. My best experience was holding some of the sea creatures in the hands-on touching tank. I held a spider crab and other little sea creatures. The young lady who volunteers was very knowledgeable, kind and helpful; she told us all about these sea creatures.

The restrooms are wheelchair accessible but not fully ADA compliant because the pipes are not covered under the accessible sink.

The Ocean Explorium volunteers deserve FIVE STARS for their wonderful customer service and teaching us all about the lives of all the fish and sea creatures on exhibit.

I give Ocean Explorium THREE STARS for wheelchair accessibility. In order to earn the other Two Stars they would need to place handicap parking spaces close to the main entrance; place an accessible ramp leading to the main entrance; install automatic entry doors so a visitor in a wheelchair can enter and exit independently; and cover the pipes under the accessible sink in the restroom as is ADA required. Until this can be done, they need to provide signage at the entrance of the Ocean Explorium directing wheelchair seated visitors how to access the Ocean Explorium; which is thru the entrance of Bank Five; take the elevator to the first floor; and call to have the rear door unlocked.

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