Maritime Aquarium Just Added ‘Just Add Water’ Permanent Exhibit, Featuring Land Animals

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Trace a path from desert to rain forest, and meet animals of those environments — such as quail, an owl, macaws, reptiles, monkeys, a porcupine and skunk — in “Just Add Water,” a new permanent exhibit now open in the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

This new second-floor exhibit opened Friday Aug. 3 and features 23 species of animals, including 21 that have never been displayed at the Maritime Aquarium.


— an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium


New species include Geoffroy’s tamarins (a type of monkey), Gambel’s quail, a striped skunk, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, a screech owl, a savannah monitor lizard, Cuvier’s dwarf caiman (related to alligators), and blue-and-gold macaws.

In addition, the Aquarium’s rare 6-foot black dragon has relocated into “Just Add Water.” And more than a dozen species of fish populate different biomes.

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

A prehensile-tailed porcupine

Barrett Christie, director of Animal Husbandry, said “Just Add Water” adds an exciting new element to the Aquarium’s story.

“Guests are going to find this exhibit to be beautiful in its design, accessible for how closely they can see the animals, and maybe a little surprising for what animals are displayed,” Christie said.

Gambel's quail Maritime Aquarium

Gambel’s quail are among the featured animals in the new exhibit.

How All This Is Related to an Aquarium

How does this land-based exhibit – with quail and monkeys – fit into an aquarium? Christie said the 1,000-square-foot exhibit explains how the oceans drive climates around the globe.

“The exchange of heat between the ocean and atmosphere drives much of Earth’s atmospheric circulation,” Christie said.

Dragon Just Add Water exhibit

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s big black dragon – specifically, an Asian water monitor lizard that has a melanistic gene that makes it all black – has moved into the new Just Add Water exhibit.

“When you factor in currents and winds, you have the oceans helping to create and shape the world’s habitats for wildlife through climate and weather.

“For example, Gambel’s quail live in the deserts of the American Southwest, while Geoffroy’s tamarins are found in the tropical rain forests of Panama — but those animals’ incredibly dissimilar environments are both the product of the oceans’ influence.”

Geoffroy's tamarins Maritime Aquarium Just Add Water exhibit

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

Two Geoffroy’s tamarins – a type of small monkey – are among the featured animals in the new exhibit.

“Just Add Water” consists of separate biomes; that is, distinct communities of plants and animals that have adapted to a defined physical climate.

The exhibit’s biomes begin at an arid desert and transition into habitats that receive increasing amounts of annual rainfall — through grasslands and temperate forests, among others — ending at a tropical rain forest.

Striped skunk Maritime Aquarium

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

A striped skunk is among the featured animals in the exhibit.

If You’re Going …

“Just Add Water” is free with Aquarium admission: $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors (65+), and $17.95 for children (3-12). Admission also includes an IMAX movie, shown in Connecticut’s largest IMAX Theater, with a screen that’s six stories high.

Learn more about the popular family attraction’s exhibits, movies, camp programs, cruises onto Long Island Sound this summer and more at the Maritime Aquarium website.

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