Sensory Friendly Evening Maritime Aquarium

Maritime Aquarium Offers a ‘Sensory-Friendly’ Night April 8 for Those Who Need It

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is planning a special evening on Thursday, April 8 to give guests with sensory-processing differences a fun, comfortable and accepting environment. — an announcement from The Maritime Aquarium

During this “Sensory-Friendly Evening,” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., lights in the Aquarium will be lower, and music and other sounds will be turned down or off. Plus, admission will be discounted, and the aquarium will show movies in the new 4D Theater without special effects. Tom Naiman, the aquarium’s director of education, said the Aquarium created “Sensory-Friendly” events in 2016 to be supportive of children and adults with special needs who may find a visit to the aquarium too stressful. “We have been offering occasional ‘Sensory-Friendly’ events in recognition that some elements of our exhibits can present a challenge because the spaces may be seen as too bright or loud or crowded for some people,” Naiman said.

Maritime Aquarium kid touch tank

Maritime Aquarium Named Finalist for National Medal for Museum and Library Service

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today that The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is among 30 finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The Maritime Aquarium is the only aquarium in the U.S. selected as a finalist this year, and one of only two institutions — along with the Ferguson Library in Stamford — named in Connecticut. — an announcement from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Maritime Aquarium

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For more than 25 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities. Six National Medal winners will be announced in May.

Masked at Maritime Aquarium COVID-19

Maritime Aquarium Opens More as COVID-19 Eases, But With Tighter Capacity Limits Than State Allows

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As state-mandated capacity restrictions are lifted on Friday, March 19, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is ready with special COVID-19 protocols to welcome in additional guests. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

President and CEO Jason Patlis said special measures have been added and refined since the Aquarium’s reopening in June under Gov. Ned Lamont’s reduced-capacity rules. Although the South Norwalk family attraction is allowed to have full capacity as of Friday, it will loosen — but not eliminate — its own limits on how many guests can enter each hour, he said. “We continue to strongly encourage guests — even Aquarium members — to reserve their tickets in advance online so that the actual admission process can be quick and contactless, and to guarantee their entry when they arrive,” Patlis said. Upon entering the Aquarium, guests will find a number of protocols in place.

Aquarium Free for Essential Workers

Free Maritime Aquarium Tickets Available for Essential Workers This Monday to Wednesday

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In this season of Thanksgiving, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is expressing gratitude to essential workers who have helped the community respond to — and thrive during — the coronavirus pandemic by making free tickets available this Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 23 to 25. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

During these “Gratitude Days,” one free adult ticket will be available to essential workers with the purchase of any one full-priced Aquarium admission ticket. The offer is limited to one free ticket per household. Advance purchase is required via the aquarium website and will be available starting at noon on Sunday, Nov.

Maritime Aquarium virtual programs for Darien schools

Maritime Aquarium Offers Online Programs to Darien Schools

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Darien schools that have had to eliminate field trips from the new school year can still welcome seals, sea turtles, sharks and other marine animals into their classrooms through live online programs offered by the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

Long a regional resource to educators for fulfilling STEM-based teaching standards, The Maritime Aquarium has shifted from primarily presenting in-person classes to now offering 25 online distance-learning lessons. They’re available to any school anywhere. “Actual field trips are sometimes considered a luxury but, in the time of distance learning, virtual field trips are more important than ever,” said Tom Naiman, the Aquarium’s director of Education. “They inspire students, give teachers time to prepare their own future lessons and engage parents of younger students in their children’s education.”

Teachers can select from a menu of age-appropriate programs, including: an interactive story time for preschoolers (which also can be offered as a series); observing the adaptations and lifestyles of various sharks for Grades K-2; exploring the causes and solutions of water pollution for Grades 3-5; and investigating coastal resilience for middle- and high-schoolers.

Maritime Aquarium keyboard

Three Maritime Aquarium Live Virtual Programs Aug 11 to 13 Will Have Closed-Captioning

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Three of the popular live-streaming educational animal programs offered by the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be available with closed captioning in Spanish and English Aug. 11, 12 and 13. Each of the programs is free (a donation is suggested). — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

Closed captioning will be added to these live programs on Zoom: “All About Sea Turtles” on Tues., Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.; “All About Seals” on Wed., Aug.

Osprey Maritime Aquarium

Maritime Aquarium Offering Cruises for Birdwatchers, Others

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Birdwatchers can enjoy close access to a federally protected haven for native and migratory species through three special Birding Cruises offered this summer by the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The cruises aboard the Aquarium’s quiet hybrid-electric research vessel will bring birdwatchers close to the Norwalk islands — just outside the city harbor — to look for osprey, oystercatchers, terns, egrets, herons and more. Dates and departure times are: Saturday, July 18 at 9 a.m.; Wednesday, July 29 at 6:45 a.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 16 at 8:30 a.m. Each cruise lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes. A portion of the Norwalk islands chain is protected as part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, a collection of coastal areas in Connecticut that provide important resting, feeding and nesting habitat for many species of wading birds, waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds and terns.

Aquarium denizens await visitors COVID-19 reopening June 2020

Maritime Aquarium To Reopen Saturday (Members With Reservations Get In Thursday, Friday)

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After a three-month closure, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will reopen to the public on Sat., June 20 with online ticketing for timed entry and other special guidelines for guest and staff well-being. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

In aligning with the state’s phased approach and federal and state public-health directives, The Maritime Aquarium will limit guest capacity, require masks to be worn at all times, sell tickets only online with timed entries, provide one-way flow through the Aquarium, and stress physical distancing. “We were among the first aquariums in the country to close on March 12, and we are so excited to welcome back our members, volunteers and guests,” said President and CEO Jason Patlis. “The new measures we’ve implemented prioritize the health and safety of our guests, volunteers and staff first and foremost, with comprehensive and detailed changes to the guest experience that meet or exceed the requirements for re-opening.”

Maritime Aquarium members and special invited guests can return first, on Thurs., June 18 and Fri., June 19 with advance reservations. Along with attendance limits that reduce capacity and support physical distancing, the Aquarium is changing its admission policy to advance, online-only ticketing with timed entry.

Lighthouse Maritime Aquarium photo

Celebrate World Oceans Day All Weekend, Starting Today, June 5, with Maritime Aquarium Events

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Held annually on June 8, World Oceans Day encourages people around the planet to celebrate and honor the ocean, which connects us all. This year, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk has prepared an ambitious lineup for an entire weekend full of events and experiences that everyone can do while social distancing. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The experiences begin Friday, June 5 and culminate on Monday, June 8 – officially recognized globally as “World Oceans Day.” The lineup covers a wide range of experiences for all ages including indoor, outdoor, time-scheduled and “anytime streaming.”

“Especially during this current pandemic, digital technology provides us access and connectivity to many of the educational and entertaining activities otherwise not available when we are closed,” said aquarium President and CEO Jason Patlis. “The ocean, however, is what truly connects us all. We are delighted to showcase how the ocean is a vital part of our lives during our ‘World Oceans Weekend’ celebration.”

The schedule of events kicks off Friday, June 5 at 6 p.m. with the aquarium’s first-ever virtual gala.

Maritime Aquarium teacher appreciation week

Maritime Aquarium Hosts ‘Teaching During a Pandemic’ Webinar and Salutes Teachers This Week

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The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk will host a timely webinar on Thursday, May 8 at 5 p.m. focused on the current situation within which educators are working. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

At a time of unprecedented challenges for teachers, the aquarium is celebrating educators the week of May 4 as part of “Teacher Appreciation Week” via daily raffles, social media shout outs and a specially-themed webinar. “Teaching during a Pandemic: a Sea Change for STEM Education and a New Role for Partners” will be hosted by aquarium president and CEO Jason Patlis and aquarium director of Education Tom Naiman. The online panel discussion will explore the challenges educators have faced since schools closed, how they’ve adapted and what is working for them, and how parents can best support their efforts. Registration is free and available on the aquarium’s website.

Shark Maritime Aquarium

Presenting the Maritime Aquarium Online: Including Live Q&As, Streaming IMAX Movies

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is offering special online ways for guests and educators to still connect and learn during the current COVID-19 time of closure, including live Q&As with staff as well as streaming IMAX movies. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

On March 17, the Maritime Aquarium began offering live Q&As with members of its Animal-Husbandry team at 3 p.m. each day on the Aquarium’s Facebook page. Each session will mainly focus on an animal or topic shown via recorded video, but questions can be about any related Aquarium subject. Questions can be submitted any time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. via the Aquarium’s social-media pages – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – and then live on Facebook during the 3 p.m. “Watch Party” webcast. “We very strongly feel the need to make our resources available to our guests, members and schools, even though we are required to be apart,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth.

Lego Weekend 2020 Maritime Aquarium

This Weekend, March 7 to 8, Is Lego Weekend at the Maritime Aquarium

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Piece together a shark, jellyfish, seal or other marine animal to add to an enormous ocean scene March 7 and 8 during “Lego Weekend” at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. Editor’s note: This is a prudential question for individual parents to answer: Do you mind if your kid goes to an event now or in the very near future where your kid might pick up COVID-19? Or is it better to get your child to some events now, before we find out that COVID-19 is already nearby and it may be much less safe for a while? Now is safer than later, when the pandemic inevitably comes here, but is it safe enough? On the other hand, will you be keeping them at home (when they’re not in school) for months, perhaps well over a year, until a vaccine is created?

Frog Maritime Aquarium Frog Watch 2020

‘Citizen-Scientists’ — Including Older Children — Wanted to Listen for Frogs

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk needs “citizen-scientist” volunteers for a ribbeting project that will reveal important details and trends about our local frog and toad populations. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

An army of trained volunteers is needed to collect local data for a national program called “FrogWatch USA.” The local effort is a collaboration between The Maritime Aquarium, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. Although it’s called “FrogWatch,” volunteers are asked to listen, not to watch, and to report what they hear. You don’t have to know anything about frogs and toads and their different calls to sign up. That will be taught during upcoming training sessions at each of the local institutions:

• Wednesday, March 4 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

• Friday, March 6 at Yale University’s Class of 1954 Environmental Science Center

• Friday, March 13 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Each training is from 7 to 9 p.m. You only need to attend one.

South Pacific Cast Sept 8 Norwalk Concert

‘South Pacific’-Themed Dinner, Concert and IMAX Movie on Saturday, Feb 8 in Norwalk

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For one night only, Saturday, Feb. 8, you can have a “South Pacific”-themed dinner and a concert along with an IMAX movie in Norwalk. The “midwinter tropical escape” has three parts:

The highlight is a concert with Broadway actors and Norwalk Symphony Orchestra performing songs from the musical “South Pacific”; also, a prix fixe dinner at one of several Norwalk restaurants; and before all that, an IMAX movie at the Maritime Aquarium, “Journey to the South Pacific” will be presented twice in the afternoon. The Show (a Concert Adaptation)
Norwalk Symphony Orchestra is producing the famed Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, “South Pacific,” for one night only in a unique collaboration with actors and singers of New Paradigm Theatre of Stamford. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. in Norwalk City Hall’s Concert Hall.

Cownose ray Maritime Aquarium

Nothing Says ‘I Love You’ Like Feeding a Cownose Ray at the Maritime Aquarium

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Nothing says “I love you” like giving your sweetheart the chance to hand-feed a cownose ray, and the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is making that romantic gesture possible for 10 lucky couples on Sunday, Feb. 9. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

On the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is putting a special twist on its behind-the-scenes “Feeding Time” program by offering it only to couples age 18 and older. Participating couples will make the morning feeding rounds with staff — and sometimes help serve the food — prior to the Aquarium’s opening. All couples also will go home with a box of specialty chocolates.