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.

Harbor Seals Seal-Spotting and Birding Cruises

Maritime Aquarium Offers Winter Seal-Spotting, Birding Cruises

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You can cruise out onto Long Island Sound with the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk this winter in the hope of seeing some of the seals and birds that spend the colder months just off shore. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The Maritime Aquarium’s 2020 season of Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises offers outings on many Saturdays and Sundays now through April 12. Dates and departure times vary by low tide. The next cruises are on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. and on Sunday, Jan.

Great Barrier Reef green sea turtle IMAX aquarium 2019

IMAX Movie on the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Rescue Exhibit Now at Maritime Aquarium

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Plunge in for an IMAX movie adventure into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and also visit actual live corals saved from a ravaged Florida reef this winter at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium; information about tickets and times are below in the “If You’re Going …” section. The IMAX movie “Great Barrier Reef,” which opened in mid-December, offers a giant-screen exploration of one of Earth’s greatest natural wonders and introduces audiences to scientists and volunteers working to preserve it. The film is a timely addition, as the Maritime Aquarium displays a new collection of corals that — it’s hoped — one day will help to save the Florida Reef Tract, America’s largest bank reef.

Tenet poster wide horizontal

You Can See, for Free, the 6.5-Minute ‘Prologue’ to Christopher Nolan’s Movie, ‘Tenet’ at Maritime Aquarium’s IMAX

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A short prologue to Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” one of the most anticipated movies of summer 2020, is now playing in exclusive 15/70 IMAX film – for free – over the holiday period at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium with additional information from Show times for the 6 1/2-minute prologue at The Maritime Aquarium are 5 p.m. daily Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 26-31.

Greg Dubin magician Maritime Aquarium

Count Down to Noon at New Year’s Eve Celebration for Families at Maritime Aquarium

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On Dec. 31, count down to 12 o’clock — 12 o’clock noon — in a special “Noon Year’s Eve” celebration geared for families at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The aquarium’s “Noon Year’s Eve” party offers fun midday activities for families with younger children who want to celebrate the end of 2019 together, but not at the stroke of midnight. Guests also can “string” in the new year on New Year’s Day during a performance by a string quartet from the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. “‘Noon Year’s Eve’ is a fun way for parents and children to count down to 2020 together, but without the kids needing to stay up way past their bedtimes,” said aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth.

Shark Aquarium Drop n Shop

The Maritime Aquarium Will Babysit Your Kids for 3 Hours Saturday Afternoon, Dec 21

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Give yourself the gift of some solo holiday shopping on Saturday, Dec. 21 while your kids spend a fun afternoon hanging out with sharks, seals and sea turtles during the “Drop ’n’ Shop” program at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. From 1 to 4 p.m., the Maritime Aquarium has an ocean of age-appropriate hands-on activities and explorations planned for ages 4 to 10, giving parents three solo hours for shopping, wrapping or other holiday prep.

— an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

“With the new SoNo Collection mall just a five-minute walk from the Maritime Aquarium, the ‘Drop ’n’ Shop’ program offers a convenient way for everyone in the family to have a winning afternoon,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth. Kids will learn from Aquarium staff about the expert care given to the sea turtles, sharks, seals and other animals. They’ll meet and touch live creatures, and also make a holiday ornament to take home.

Horseshoe Crab Culture Lab

Maritime Aquarium’s New Horseshoe Crab Culture Lab Combines Research with Exhibit

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is inviting guests to follow along as it seeks insights into horseshoe crabs, a favored marine creature whose mystique and environmental importance make up for what it rather lacks in charm. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The Maritime Aquarium recently opened its new “Horseshoe Crab Culture Lab,” where staff will investigate the creatures’ physical processes, food preferences, breeding behaviors and more. A lab window lets Aquarium guests check out the work, especially following along as tiny young horseshoe crabs molt their exoskeletons to grow. “I look at this exhibit and I see a perfect marriage of everything that the Maritime Aquarium does well: from our exhibits to our education programs to our conservation work in the field,” said Aquarium President Jason Patlis. The lab was created thanks to a gift from Richard and Kim Alexander of Rowayton and their family’s Ballard Foundation.

Area Teachers and Other Educators Can Get Into the Maritime Aquarium for Free on Saturday, Sunday

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On Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3, area educators and school administrators receive free admission to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk during “Teachers’ Weekend” for the opportunity to learn how to use the aquarium as a standards-fulfilling educational resource. Each year, thousands of students from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey participate in the aquarium’s educational programs — during field trips to the aquarium, through “Traveling Teacher” programs presented at schools, during field explorations at local beaches, and out on Long Island Sound aboard the aquarium’s revolutionary hybrid-electric research vessel. But many school teachers do not know how the Maritime Aquarium’s programs can help to fulfill Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). “The Aquarium is an incredible educational resource for the region, bringing to life lessons in environmental, life and earth sciences, yet many teachers may not know what we offer beyond being a fun place for a field trip,” said Tom Naiman, the aquarium’s director of education.

Maritime Aquarium kid tank

Sensory-Friendly Evening at Maritime Aquarium for Those With Special Needs

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On Thursday, Nov. 7, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is offering another of its occasional events for guests with sensory-processing differences — but instead of the usual “Sensory-Friendly Morning,” the aquarium is hosting a “Sensory-Friendly Evening.”

— an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

During “Sensory-Friendly” events, the aquarium makes simple changes — such as dimming lights and muting louder sounds — to offer guests with sensory-processing differences a fun, comfortable and accepting environment. On Nov. 7, the aquarium will close at the normal time of 5 p.m. but reopen from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with discounted admission, lighting lowered and sounds turned down or off. A “quiet room” will be available for guests that need a place to calm.