The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk wants its final hours of 2016 to be among the best — and longest — of the year, so the popular attraction is staying open later on New Year’s Eve.
And it’s got some special treats planned, especially for kids.
For “Maritime ExtraTime: New Year’s Eve,” the Aquarium will stay open two extra hours — until 7 p.m. — and is welcoming a magician, “bubble-ologist,” juggler and other bonus guests and activities to help bid adieu to 2016.
“New Year’s Eve can be a tough call for young families, with the parents wanting to do something special with their kids but not wanting to have them out until midnight,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth.
“So The Maritime Aquarium’s ‘Maritime ExtraTime: New Year’s Eve’ offers early-evening family fun, but also the chance to get home for the night. It also offers the option of parents going home, having a sitter take over, and still getting to their adult festivities.”
All the bonus New Year’s Eve offerings are from 3 to 7 p.m. They include these special guests:
•Strolling street magic by The Great Dubini — Using cards, coins and borrowed objects, New York-based magician Gregory Dubin will perform amazing sleight-of-hand magic and mentalism.
• “Bubble-ologist” Kim Winslow — Winslow developed his skills with bubbles as a member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit, which entertains patients in hospitals in New York and around the world. Simple soap and water become delicate kinetic sculptures that spin, glide, bounce and move in ways that will delight.
• Strolling family comedy and juggling by Peter Straus — Straus has toured America as a clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and worked extensively with the Big Apple Circus. He also has had numerous appearances on TV, including several spots on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and has been a featured comedian and fire juggler at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
In addition, Aquarium guests can squeeze into a giant arcade-style photo booth and commemorate the night – and the end of 2016 – with free photo strips of their funniest faces. Face-painting by Picasso Parties of West Haven will make faces even funnier. ($5 cost for face-painting.) And a DJ will provide the beat.
As another special treat (literally), Forever Sweet Bakery of Norwalk is supplying a selection of free cookies and cake pops, while supplies last. Plus, guests can choose from a variety of free non-alcoholic drinks at a special Aquarium mocktail bar.
And of course the entire Aquarium will be open until 7 p.m., with its amazing exhibits of sharks, harbor seals, sea turtles, jellies, river otters and other animals native to Long Island Sound and its watershed.
Aquarium admission includes a classic IMAX movie. Titles and show times on Dec. 31 are: “Secret Ocean” at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; “National Parks Adventure” at noon and 4 p.m.; and “A Beautiful Planet” at 1 p.m.
Aside from optional face-painting, there’s no extra cost for the “Maritime ExtraTime: New Year’s Eve.” Admission to The Maritime Aquarium is $22.95 for adults, $20.95 for youths (13-17) & seniors (65+), and $15.95 for children 3-12. Kids under 3, and Maritime Aquarium members, are free.
Also showing on Dec. 31 is the animated holiday IMAX movie “The Polar Express” at 5 p.m. Because it’s one hour and 40 minutes long, it’s specially priced with separate admission at $11.95 for adults, $10.95 for youths and seniors, and $9.50 for children 3-12. Kids under 3 are free.
Can’t make it on New Year’s Eve? The Maritime Aquarium is open for regular hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on New Year’s Day.
Get more details about all upcoming events and programs at the Maritime Aquarium website.
Editor’s note: This article originally was published Dec. 30. The time stamp has been changed to move the link higher on the Darienite.com home page.