You Can Enjoy Long Island Sound on a Maritime Aquarium Cruise

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Come out onto Long Island Sound this summer with the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk to meet live marine animals or to see lighthouses, sunsets and even holiday fireworks.

— an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

A fun mix of cruises are available aboard The Maritime Aquarium’s R/V Spirit of the Sound, the first research vessel in the country with quiet “green” hybrid-electric propulsion:

Marine Life Encounter Cruises

At 1:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays from June 25-Sept. 2 (no cruise Sat., July 13)

The Maritime Aquarium’s signature cruise offers the chance to meet a variety of marine animals brought up right out of the water right before your eyes.

Avalon Bunge Marine Life Encounter Cruise Maritime Aquarium

Avalon Bunge, an educator for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, helps participants touch a flounder during a past Marine Life Encounter Cruise on Long Island Sound. These fun eye-opening cruises will depart at 1:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays from June 25 through Sept. 2.

These 2.5-hour cruises reveal what is, to many, a surprising diversity of marine life just off our shores in Long Island Sound.

Aquarium educators put participants to work in collecting and examining animals from all levels of the water column: tiny plankton gathered at the surface (and viewed on a large monitor via a videomicroscope); little crabs and worms grabbed from the muddy bottom; and a variety of fish, crabs, mollusks — maybe even squid or a small shark – brought up in a trawl net.

Beginning July 1, tickets are $31.95 ($26.95 for Aquarium members).

Norwalk Islands Cruises

At 6 p.m. each Thursday (except July 4) now through Aug. 29

During these two-hour cruises, Maritime Aquarium educators will offer information and tales about Shea, Chimon, Tavern and other islands just off the Norwalk harbor, as well as about the three lighthouses that the cruises will pass: Pecks Ledge, Greens Ledge and Sheffield Island. They’ll also point out waterfowl and provide details about the Sound’s marine life.

Primarily, though, the cruises are a nice evening boat ride out onto the Sound. Food and drink is not available for purchase on the boat. You may bring food and beverages in a small bag or soft-sided cooler. Glass bottles are prohibited.

Beginning July 1, tickets are $31.95 ($26.95 for Aquarium members).

TGIF Cruises

Each Friday at 6:30 p.m. through Sept. 6

TGIF cruises Maritime Aquarium

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

On a past TGIF cruise.

Saturday Sunset Cruises

Each Saturday from June 1 to July 20 (7 p.m.) and July 27 to Sept. 7 (6:30 p.m.)

Both of these cruises offer a relaxing evening tour out onto Long Island Sound timed to include the setting sun. Maritime

Aquarium educators will point out sights and wildlife, but these 90-minute cruises stress de-stressing while twilight paints the western sky.

Food and drink is not available for purchase on the boat. You may bring food and beverages in a small bag or soft-sided cooler. Glass bottles are prohibited. Get back in time to enjoy an evening out with friends just steps away in the restaurants and nightspots of South Norwalk (SoNo).

Beginning July 1, tickets are $31.95 ($26.95 for Aquarium members).

Fireworks Cruises

Fireworks cruises Maritime Aquarium

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

Enjoy a unique water view of the Norwalk (July 3) and Rowayton (July 4) holiday displays, and avoid the crowds and traffic, by coming aboard a Fireworks Cruise offered by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

On Wednesday, July 3 and Thursday, July 4, both departing at 7 p.m.

Enjoy a unique water view of municipal holiday displays and avoid the traffic jams afterward.

These special outings will offer beautiful views of the fireworks — times two, with the reflections on the water — on Tuesday, July 3 for the Norwalk fireworks, and on Wednesday, July 4 for the Rowayton fireworks.

Capacity for each cruise is 40. Small soft-sided coolers are allowed, but alcoholic beverages and glass bottles are prohibited.

Tickets are $75 per person. Advance reservations are strongly suggested.

Central Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruise

Saturday, July 13 at 10 a.m.

Venture out for rare close-up looks at historic lighthouses on Long Island Sound during this special boat offering.

The 5.5-hour cruise will get participants close to six beacons in central Long Island Sound: Peck Ledge, Greens Ledge and Sheffield Island lighthouses in Norwalk; Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Fairfield; Black Rock Harbor Light in Bridgeport; and Stratford Shoal Light. Maritime Aquarium educators will offer histories and anecdotes about the lighthouses, and also – when they’re in view – point out waterfowl.

Tickets are $70 ($60 for Aquarium members).

What to Know

The Maritime Aquarium participates in the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s “Lighthouse Passport” program, a fun way to log your lighthouse pursuits. (Bring your “passport” or buy one onboard.) Plus, members of the U.S. Lighthouse Society receive 10 percent ticket discounts for Aquarium lighthouse cruises.

On all cruises, binoculars will be provided. But bring a camera!

The Maritime Aquarium’s cruises are perfect for family fun. However, for all cruises, all passengers must be at least 42 inches tall. Participants under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

R/V Spirit of the Sound has a climate-controlled cabin but participants should dress for time outside on deck, where the best viewing occurs. Cruises depart from the dock near the Aquarium’s IMAX Theater entrance.

Cruises also are available by charter for summer camps, Scouts and other groups.

Capacity is limited so advance reservations are strongly suggested for all Aquarium cruises. Reserve your tickets online – and see the full summer schedule for R/V Spirit of the Sound, or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

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