Maritime Aquarium: Everything You Need To Know | Stanton House Inn

giant sea turtles are just a few of the examples of aquatic life from the Long island Sound ecosystem that you'll find hereRegardless of age or occasion, visiting an aquarium is an amazing experience where you can come face-to-face with some of the ocean’s wonders.

 

Whether you’re looking to bring your kids out for an adventure or spend the afternoon with friends, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is a great place to spend the day—rain or shine. 

 

Located in Norwalk, Connecticut, the aquarium has been open since 1988 and receives 500,000 annual visitors—a true testament to its incredible work.

map of attractions, activities, and things to do in Norwalk, Connecticut, including the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
Map design by Stanton House Inn

What’s the Maritime Aquarium About?

 

The Maritime Aquarium is the only aquarium devoted to Long Island Sound, also known as an “Estuary of National Significance.” Branching from the Atlantic Ocean, the Sound is an environment rich in aquatic life. And this extraordinary ecosystem, a veritable rain forest underwater, is just an arm’s throw from New York City.

 

freshwater turtle in its enclosure at the maritime aquarium in norwalk ct, one of the other fun animals you'll find here

The Maritime Aquarium’s mission is to inspire all visitors to learn more about the Long Island Sound and to protect its ecosystem. This is made possible through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

 

The place can really fill up on weekends, so it’s best to arrive early or opt for a weekday. 

 

The staff is incredibly friendly, so should you have any questions or inquiries about a specific animal or aquatic life, they’ll be happy to offer answers or at least point you in the right direction. There are also signs throughout the aquarium to offer some knowledge about the aquatic mammals, allowing you to learn some fun facts and maybe even some new appreciate for the animals you share the earth with.

 

Marine Mammals & More

 

At the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, you can come nose-to-nose with so much sea life, you’ll be excited to come back for a visit. 

 

Some of the marine mammals, aquatic life, and other fun animals you’ll be able to see include:

  • Sharks
  • Harbor seals
  • River otters
  • Sea turtles
  • Jellyfish 
  • Tamarins
  • Meerkats

 

green snakeAt the aquarium, you can feel like you step into a new world, getting up close to massive tanks where you almost get to feel part of the ocean, feeling the blue overtake you, swirling alongside the fishes.

 

The aquarium also hosts spaces that exhibit tropical travelers that get brought by the Gulf Stream north to Long Island Sound waters.

 

There are even touch tanks that allow you to pet the soft backs of stingrays—without the stingers. You can also face your fears by petting sharks and jellyfish. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to pet a baby gator! 

 

The jellyfish exhibit—Journey with Jellies—is quite amazing in and of itself. The aquarium presents various native and non-native species of jellies, letting you get up close to some of the most dangerous beings in the sea!

 

With the colors of the tanks bouncing off the jellies, they seemingly glow in neon colors. There are a bunch of species to be amazed by, but the Pacific sea nettles are especially crazy. These jellyfish are upside-down in a cool half-dome. And they’re in an 8-foot-tall display filled with moon jellies, and more!

 

There are tons of other exhibits too:

 

Meerkats!

 

This exhibit allows you to get up close and learn more about meerkats. You get to see these creatures eat, sleep, and play all in one location. 

 

Pinniped Cove

 

Want to check out some harbor seals? This is the location for you! They’ve had harbor seals since before this writer was a child. And now, you can see their new and improved home.

 

meerkats at the maritime aquarium in norwalk ct

Just Add Water

 

To see some animals from the desert to the rainforest, head to Just Add Water. This exhibit includes varieties of mammals from all environments. 

 

Sea & Discovery Zone

 

Sea & Discovery Zone is a wonderful interactive exhibit allowing kids to interact with education.

 

River Otters

 

Here you get to check out some of the cutest otters to come out of the Long Island Sound. 

 

Shark and Ray Touch Pool

 

Get your hands dirty here by touching some real-life sharks and rays—oh my!

 

“Sketch and Release” Digital Wall

 

Become an artist on the largest digital wall in New England at this exhibit.

 

river otter

Ocean Beyond the Sound

 

Face your fears of getting up close to large sharks at this 110,000-gallon habitat.

 

Sea Turtles

 

With three big sea turtles, children and adults alike can witness the reptiles in action.

 

Jiggle-a-Jelly

 

Ever wanted to touch a jellyfish without getting stung? Now’s your chance!

 

Untouchable

 

Small but mighty—meet the little ocean creatures that cause big pain.

 

Horseshoe Crabs

 

Meet the marine creature with massive environmental importance! 

 

Long Island Sound: From Risk to Resilience 

 

Here, you can learn about the changing climate and the importance of the Long Island Sound ecosystem, an Estuary of National Significance.

 

Other Activities at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

touch tank at the maritime aquarium in norwalk ctAfter spending an afternoon at the aquarium, you can hop on a cruise through the water to see where some of the marine life comes from. The year-round cruises are made possible by its 64-foot research vessel, the R/V Spirit of the Sound.

 

The Maritime Aquarium also has a café if you’re looking for a bite to eat and a gift shop if you’re itching to bring one of their unique Connecticut souvenirs home or gift it to a loved one.

 

And if you’re interested in poking around in another unique gift shop or two, the shops on Washington Street of South Norwalk are just around the corner from the aquarium.

 

The new 4D cinematic experience is also something you need to do when you visit Maritime, with massive screens making it hard not to feel immersed in the movie you’re watching, especially when other elements are included, such as smells, bubbles, mists, wind, and more. You will be just as amazed as the kids around you!

 

The aquarium also offers special events and camps, so be sure to inquire about what new adventures you and your kids can get into. 

 

How to Get to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk from Manhattan

 

It’s every New Yorker’s guilty pleasure to leave the city on weekends when all the tourists head into town—and it’s actually pretty easy to get to Norwalk via train trips from the Big Apple.

 

All you have to do is take the Metro North Railroad New Haven Line from Grand Central to South Norwalk Station in CT. From there, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the South Norwalk train station to the aquarium on Water St. 

 

The best part is that if you purchase the package, you receive a train ticket and admission to the museum. You can learn more about it online

 

To purchase, you can go to any Metro-North Railroad ticket office or full-service ticket vending machine (excluding South Norwalk Station).

 

jellyfish

Here’s the price breakdown:

  • Adults: $42.75
  • Seniors: $37.25
  • Children 5-11: $18.50
  • Children 3-4: $16.50
  • Children under 3: $3

 

And here’s what’s included: 

  • Metro-North tickets
  • Admission to the Museum

 

All of this helps you save up to 25%, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to bring the whole family to a fun-filled weekend out of state. 

 

Visit Information

 

Pricing: Adult (age 13-64): $29.95; Child (age 3-12): $20.95; Senior (age 65+): $25.95. Children under 3 are free.

 

Address: 10 North Water St., Norwalk, CT 06854

 

Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas.

 

Parking: There is convenient covered parking in a garage across the street.

 

Hotels near the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Planning a visit to town and want to stay near the aquarium?

 

That’s easy!

 

The Norwalk Inn is a short distance away.

 

Hotel Zero Degrees is another nearby Norwalk hotel with comfortable rooms and amenities.

 

If you’re looking for a nearby bed and breakfast inn near the Maritime Aquarium, a few to consider within a reasonable driving distance:

 

 

  • The Inn at Gray Barns is in Norwalk’s Silvermine neighborhood

 

 

Enjoy even more things to do in Norwalk after the Maritime Aquarium

While without question the most famous of the Norwalk attractions, there’s plenty more to keep you entertained.

 

Start the day with breakfast in Norwalk at one of the spots most unique to here. Then, within walking distance of the Maritime Aquarium, in South Norwalk alone, you’ll find:

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this and many more picks for the top activities and things to do in Norwalk, be sure to read the full guide!

 

 

Updated and republished: October 28, 2023

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