While on vacation during a family reunion in Connecticut over the 4th of July we had some not so accommodating weather. So on the holiday itself we were forced to find a fun activity that would keep the kids entertained, keep all of us out of the weather, and it had to be something that the adults wouldn’t want to rip their hair out during.  The opportunity to visit the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk was presented and we all happily packed up the cars to go.

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Aquarium Turtle

The thing that is different about this aquarium is that it focuses on the fish and animals that are from the Long Island Sound. The aquarium opened in 1988 in a refurbished 1960’s factory at the mouth of the Norwalk River. Visitors can visit the 34 exhibits at their own pace while seeing more than 1200 marine animals of 259 species. You see animals from freshwater, shallow waters of the salt marshes, and open ocean aquatic life as well.

We started our day with a movie in Connecticut’s largest IMAX Theater which is located in the aquarium. We saw Great White Shark which I thought was going to be a little disturbing for the little kids but it ended up being very informative and interesting with just enough gore for the big guys to enjoy it as well.

IMAX Aquarium

After the movie we went out and played in the Shark and Ray touch pool. The rays were actually swimming up the ramps and gliding on our hands. The kids were in heaven and I was amazed at how active they were. We have been to aquariums where you couldn’t get the ray to come within an arm length of you.

Touch Tank

Is it sad for me to admit that I am entranced by jellyfish? I can watch them float and propel themselves around all day long. (I am not positive about it because I have such a love/hate relationship with Spongebob Squarepants, but I think that it might have something to do with him, but if you asked me about it, I would never admit it in real life.) To be able to just float…



There is something so serene and relaxed about them, I just love it. And simple. You really can’t get any more simple than a jellyfish. At the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk you don’t just watch them in the tanks but you get to touch them as well. I have to say, they feel exactly like they look. They are smooth and soft and wet all at once. We had to be so careful when feeling them because if you poke too hard you can rip them.

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk jellyfish

All over the aquarium they have Nautical Notations that give you bits of trivia or information that you might not otherwise know. It is very interesting to see why we say certain things or how things came about. Some of these had me laughing out loud, and others had me amazed at how much I didn’t know about the ocean and sailors.


We all had a great day. We were able to see:

  • Shark and Ray Touch Pool
  • Jellyfish
  • River Otters
  • Harbor Seals
  • Sea Turtles (my favorite!)
  • Meerkats
  • And SO Much More!

You can visit The Maritime Aquarium at the following address:

10 North Water Street          Norwalk, CT 06854          Phone: 203.852.0700         Fax: 203.838.5416

Look them up here: http://www.maritimeaquarium.org/