a fun (and educational as well) outing? We had to look no farther than The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk,
Connecticut, which provided us
with hours of enjoyment and is perfect for all age groups. Sharks,
and rays, and harbor seals, oh my! There were so many
interesting exhibits to experience that kept us enthralled. Located 43 miles
from Manhattan, and is easily accessible by boat, car, or Metro-North train,
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is the perfect year-round destination for
We visited the Aquarium on
Saturday, June 2, 2022, and began our exploration in their new Flutter Zone Butterfly
Encounter (open until September 5, 2022), which provided us with an
exciting and informative look at butterflies and moths and where we learned to
identify the difference between the two. We entered the enclosed Flutter Zone
and watched in amazement as gorgeous butterflies flew around us with dazzling-colored
wings and landed on some of the visitors as well as the flowers in the garden. It
was a magical and breathtakingly beautiful experience.
A few of the butterfly species we
saw included the Giant Swallowtail distinguished by its yellow and
intricately patterned black wings, Blue Morpho butterflies with their
blue and brown wings, and Dot Bordered, distinguished by their black,
red, and white designed wings, to name but a few.
A Few Ways of How to Tell the
Difference Between Butterflies and Moths
Thin and smooth bodies
Thick and fuzzy bodies
Often dull in color
Active during the day
Active at night
Wings held vertically when resting
Wings held flat when resting
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is an undersea treasure chest for adventure with
its diverse exhibitions. Here are a few our favorite highlights from our visit.
A visit to the Aquarium is always
fun and educational, and we learn something new with each visit about the fascinating
creatures of the sea. We last visited the Aquarium in September 2020, and were
delighted at seeing the playful Harbor Seals, Ariel, Rasul, Leila,
Polly, and Tillie, in their new and enlarged two-level habitat. We were
fortunate to be there during feeding time, as the trainers demonstrated the
seals' natural responses to the delight of the visitors.
With the recent shark sightings
throughout Long Island beaches, we spent time at the shark exhibit watching the
sharks and learning
about the many species and their natural habitats. Interesting to note is that Long
Island Sound is home to the Brown shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus),
Sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus), Smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis),
and Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). Hawaii is home to the
Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyma lewini), Tiger shark (Galeocerdo
cuvier), Whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus), and Blacktip reef
shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus).
Coast of South America is home to the Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagenis),
Great hammerhead (Spyma mokarron), and White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias).
The Caribbean is home to the Caribbean reef shark (Cacharhinus perezi),
Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), Lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris),
and the Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum). The Gulf of Mexico
is home to the Bonnethead shark (Sphyma tiburo), Bull shark (Carcharhinus
leucas), Brown shark (Cacharhinus plumbeus), and the Atlantic
sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon terranovae). South Africa is home
to the Snaggletooth shark (Hemipristis elongate), White shark (Carcharodon
carcharias), and the Pyjama shark (Poroderma africanum).
Shark Touchy Feely
For us, a trip to the Aquarium would not be the same without petting
the gentle rays in the Touch Pool. Something new, visitors can now
purchase a cup of food for $3 to feed the Rays during their feeding times. This
was an amazing experience to watch as the Rays interacted with the visitors to
get their food and the sheer joy on the faces of the visitors.
Debra - Ray Touchy Feely
Giant Pacific Sea Nettle
The Jellyfish exhibit was another fabulous stop during our visit, as Jellyfish
are another fascinating creature as they have no brain and no eyes, are 98%
water, and are more than 600 million years old. From tiny thimble sized clear
jellies to the giant Pacific Sea Nettle, they are mesmerizing to watch as they
undulate in the water with their long tentacles gently undulating and swaying
in the current. In captivity, Jellyfish are kept in a brightly light circular
tank with light water flow to allow them to float freely as they do in the
Making Sensible Seafood Choices
Throughout the Aquarium there are
interesting signs that educate visitors. One of the many things we learned was
about making good choices when selecting seafood. Farmed mussels are a
"best choice" because they are farmed in an environmentally responsible way. U.S.
farmed freshwater prawns are the "Best Choice. U.S. farmed or wild-caught: Pacific
white shrimp, west coast white shrimp, prink shrimp, and spot
prawn are either "Best Choice" or a "Good Alternative."
are farmed and well managed. American oysters, blue points and common oysters
farmed and wild caught, all good. Clams are farmed in an environmentally
responsible way and most clams eaten are farmed. Crabs: Trapped
Dungeness crab from the U.S. Atlantic, and trapped stone crab are good choices.
is not a good choice. Many others are "Good Alternatives." Atlantic Sturgeon: the
decline is mainly due to human impacts. You can help sturgeon and other fish by
purchasing and eating only species harvested sustainably.
Information Before You Go
aquarium is easily accessible by car, train, bus, or boat. There are several
conveniently located parking garages. Visitors can travel on Metro-North. The
trip by train via Grand Central Station to the South Norwalk train station is
approximately 1-hour. Visit the Metro-North website for information on trains and discount Metro-North Packages.
Want to make the trip by your boat? Call +1-203-854-7806 to request fees to tie
up at the Norwalk Visitors Dock.
yourself a minimum of 2-hours (we spent 2.5-hours there) to fully experience
and appreciate all that the aquarium has to offer. The aquarium is conveniently
located in SoNo (South Norwalk) near many restaurants and shops so you can
easily make it a day trip.
Admission: Adults (Ages 13 - 64): $29.95, Children (Ages 3-12): $20.95, Seniors
(Age 65+): $25.95.
additional information on The Maritime Aquarium please visit their
website: www.maritimeaquarium.org or call them at +1-203-852-0700.
Encounter Cruises and More
to the Marine Life Encounter Cruise, The Maritime Aquarium offers the following
cruises: Seal-Spotting & Birding, TGIF, Sunset, Norwalk Islands cruises,
and more. Please visit their website for further information: https://www.maritimeaquarium.org/cruise-schedule or call them at
+1-203-852-0700 extension 2206.
Know Before You Go - Cruise Information
must be over 42 inches tall and if under 18 accompanied by an adult.
I will be looking for you at
The Maritime Aquarium
Pricing: $36.00 per person for all ages.
time, we sign our postcard, "With love from The Maritime Aquarium at
Norwalk, CT. Come and have some fun! Love, Debra and Edward"
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT
also like to read about our experience on their Marine Life Encounter Cruise in the Adventures section.
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Connecticut
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