The Maritime Aquarium – Norwalk, Connecticut

The Maritime Aquarium - Norwalk, Connecticut.jpgThe Maritime Aquarium – Norwalk, Connecticut

The live animals from Long Island Sound were part of the key element in the revitalization of South Norwalk.  The desire to preserve the history of the area along with the showcasing of the animals all came together when the Maritime Aquarium, the IMAX theatre (an 8 story wide and 6 story wide screen) along with a boat collection were created to add to the SoNo region of the city.  With live animal exhibits this facility will certainly be a desirable stop on any vacation to Connecticut.

This facility not only is a fabulous stop for adults but an educational and enjoyable trip for students of all ages.  School children that have visited the aquarium total more than 150,000 on field trips.

Visiting the Harbor Seal Pool is one of the most popular stops on your tour.  Did you know that harbor seals can also be found in Long Island Sound during the winter?  Yes, they live there, in the wild.  Although they are “cute” you don’t want to get too close to them, the best way to see the harbor seal is to visit the aquarium.  Come around feeding time (11:45 am and 1:45 & 3:45 pm) and really see them in action.  Nothing brings them out more than the knowledge that there is food waiting for them!

These animals will grow between 5 and 6 feet long and can weigh between 175 and 225 pounds.  Occasionally the male is larger than this but the average is in this range.

These animals can be found throughout the northern Atlantic along both coasts.  They range in color from brown, tan, light grey and silver with dark spots.  Their thick short coat is made of coarse guard hairs and finer be denser under hairs.

There is also the River Otter Habitat where the sleep, furry, streamlined aquatic mammals live in the aquarium.  Not frequently seen by most people, river otters are actually very common in the Long Island Sound watershed and prefer life on the shores of deep, clear rivers, lakes, large marshes, and ocean bays. With their webbed feet and eyes near the top of their heads—our river otters are as adept at hunting under water (looking up to see prey near the surface) as they are on land. Their thick coats are waterproof and keep them warm during the winter and in cold water.

Did you know that the River Otter is a large type of weasel that can grow to 3 to 4 feet long?  They have a keen sense of smell, and use their sensitive whiskers to help find food in the muddy waters.  They eat mainly fish, insects, frogs and birds.  They are most active at night (nocturnal) and spend most of the day in their dens underground.

There are also displays of frogs from around the world.  Try to out jump a frog (on equal terms) and see that the frog can jump 20 times its body length…can you?  They can breathe through their skin and were the first land animals with vocal cords.

Visit the Rocky Intertidal Zone Touch Tank where you can feel such things as a green crab, a horseshoe crab, a sea star and more.

The open Ocean Exhibit shows you the Sand tiger Shark which is the fourth most dangerous species in the world so the best way to see them in at the aquarium. They can reach a length of about 10.5 ft., they eat mainly large and small bony fish, small sharks, rays, squid and crustaceans.  In some instances they swim down to depths of 200 meters but mot of the time they are found in shallow waters.  Their teeth are large, long, smooth, and narrow-edged arranged in three rows on each side of the upper jaw midline.

The Jellyfish Encounters lets you see them up close with out the worry of being stung by the lion’s mane jellyfish which has a vicious stinger.  The jellyfish are not really fish, they are 95% water and have no brain, heart, blood, lungs or gills, yet they have existed on Earth for 650 million years!

Most of the species in the Jellyfish Encounter are commonly spotted each summer in Long Island Sound.  The include moon jellyfish, which are relatively harmless, the lion’s mane (the largest of them all), and sea nettles, so named because encountering one feels like brushing into a thicket of nettles!  Some jellyfish can have tentacles that reach lengths greater than 100 ft.  They mostly live in shallow coastal waters, but a few inhabit depths of 12,000 ft.

You can see the loggerhead sea turtles in their 15,000 galloon habitat.  You can also see garden eels, jaw fish and diamondback terrapins in this display.  The loggerhead sea turtles live up to 60 – 75 years or more, reach 4 – 5 ft in length and weigh up to 400 – 500 lbs., and much more information on the turtle is available at the site.

These are just some of the things that you will be able to see while visiting the Maritime Aquarium.

Admission: Aquarium + Daytime IMAX Movie + Ride Film: Adults: $22.50; Children: (2 – 12); $18.50, Seniors: (age 65 +) $21.00.  Aquarium + Ride Film are $17.15; $15.25; $`6.15 respectively.  If you are interested in the aquarium only the cost is $11.75; $975; $10.75.  Other packages are available so check with the aquarium.

Driving
FROM POINTS IN CONNECTICUT

I-95 Northbound. Exit 14 in Connecticut. Go straight at end of ramp. Continue straight to next stop sign. Continue straight down the hill to stop light. Right at first light on to West Avenue. Bear left at third light on to North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
I-95 Southbound. Exit 15. Exit ramp splits: stay to right following signs for South Norwalk. Left at light on to West Avenue. Bear left at fifth light on to North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
The Merritt Parkway Northbound. Exit 39A onto Route 7 south. At end of Route 7, take middle exit (for South Norwalk). Right at light on to West Avenue. Bear left at fourth light on to North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
The Merritt Parkway Southbound . Exit 40B. Right at light on to Main Avenue. At the light at the DMV, take a left on to Grist Mill Road, then the second left on to Route 7 south. At end of Route 7, take middle exit (for South Norwalk). Right at light on to West Avenue. bear left at fourth light on to North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
The Danbury Area.Take Route 7 south. Just after entering Norwalk, watch for the Starbucks on your right, then take your next right on to Grist Mill Road. Take the second left on to Route 7 south. At end of Route 7, take middle exit (for South Norwalk). Right at light on to West Avenue. Bear left at fourth light on to North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
ROCKLAND AND ORANGE COUNTIES, NEW YORK: Take the Tappan Zee Bridge to 87 East. Take that to 287 East. At the end of 287, take the Exit for I-95 North. Take Exit 14. Continue straight at two stop signs. At the first stop light, make a right onto West Avenue. At the third light, make a left onto North Main Street. Take the second left (Marshall Street). Go under railroad tracks. Parking in garage on the left.
FROM WESTCHESTER, NEW YORK HIGHWAYS
From the Hutchison River Parkway: Take the Hutchison River Parkway (becomes the Meritt Parkway in CT). Use Exit 39A, Route 7 connector South. At the end of the connector, take the middle exit, South Norwalk/Maritime Aquarium. Take a right at the end of the ramp onto West Avenue. At the third light, make a left onto North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
From Route 123: Follow Route 123 into CT (through New Canaan) and into Norwalk. Take the ramp on your right for the Route 7 connector South. At the end of the connector, take the middle exit, South Norwalk/Maritime Aquarium. Take a right at the end of the ramp onto West Avenue. At the third light, make a left onto North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
Coming from the The Tappan Zee Bridge: Follow the signs for 287 East to I-95 North to Connecticut. Exit 14 in Connecticut off I-95. Go straight at end of ramp. Continue straight to next stop sign. Continue straight down the hill to stop light. Right at first light on to West Avenue. Bear left at third light on to North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.
From Route 87 / Route 287 East (and from Tappan Zee Bridge):

If coming from Route 87 (NY State Thruway), take it across Tappan Zee Bridge to Route 287. At the end of Route 287, take the Exit for I-95 North. Take Exit 14. Go straight at end of ramp. Continue straight to next stop sign. Continue straight down the hill to stop light. At the first stop light, make a right onto West Avenue. At the third light, make a left onto North Main Street. Left at second light on to Marshall Street. Please park in the parking garage.

Parking

The Norwalk Parking Authority has over 1,400 spaces available in three facilities all located within one block of the Aquarium!

Maritime Garage

This facility offers 769 spaces and is located directly across the Aquarium on North Water Street between Ann and Marshall Streets. You are encouraged to bring your parking ticket with you as payment is required when returning to your vehicle and submitted to the cashier located in the elevator lobby of the parking garage. As and added convenience, payments are also accepted via MasterCard or VISA from your vehicle when exiting the garage. Simply, insert your ticket into the receptacle and follow the directions on the screen.

Garage Prices

Up to 1 Hour — $2.00

1 Hour to 3 Hours — $6.00

3 Hours to 7 Hours — $7.00
North Water Street Lot

Located adjacent to the IMAX Theatre on North Water and Washington Streets this lot has 60 parking spaces. Payment is required in advance at the automated pay station located under the shelter on the boardwalk leading to the theatre. Please note your parking space number and follow the payment instructions on the pay station. Space permitting, this lot also serves as the oversized vehicle parking location.

Lot Prices

Up to 1 Hour — $1.00

1 Hour to 2 Hours — $2.00

2 Hours to 3 Hours — $3.00

3 Hours to 4 Hours — $4.00

4 Plus Hours — $5.00
Webster Lot

600 spaces are available in this facility located one block from the Aquarium on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard between South Main and West Washington Streets. This lot also serves as the oversized vehicle facility.

Lot Prices

Up to 1 Hour — $1.00

1 Hour to 2 Hours — $2.00

2 Hours to 3 Hours — $3.00

3 Hours to 4 Hours — $4.00

4 Plus Hours — $5.00
Directions to the Webster lot from I-95 exit 14: From exit follow signs toward The Maritime Aquarium. When you are on West Avenue you will come to a fork. The Maritime Aquarium is to the left and the train station is to the right. Bear right. The parking lot will be on your left.

Directions to the Webster lot from I-95 exit 15: Turn left at the end of the ramp. You will be on West Avenue. You will come to a fork. The Maritime Aquarium is to the left and the train station is to the right. Bear right. The parking lot will be on your left.

By Boat
Tie up at the Norwalk Visitors Dock located on the starboard side as you’re heading in, immediately before the Strofolino/Washington Street Bridge. (Fees are minimal.  Call 854-7806.) Walk across the bridge into South Norwalk, and The Maritime Aquarium will be right there on your right.

Physical address: 10 North Water St., Norwalk, CT

Phone: 203-852-0700

Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Everyday except Thanksgiving & Christmas.  10 am – 6 pm July & August.

The live animals from Long Island Sound were part of the key element in the revitalization of South Norwalk.  The desire to preserve the history of the area along with the showcasing of the animals all came together when the Maritime Aquarium, the IMAX theatre (an 8 story wide and 6 story wide screen) along with a boat collection were created to add to the SoNo region of the city.  With live animal exhibits this facility will certainly be a desirable stop on any vacation to Connecticut. Because of the wide range of USA Flights , this place attracts millions of tourists every year, with many famous and historic visitor attractions mostly known to all tourists.

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