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Winter Fun at the Aquarium

February Events at The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk


Escape the winter chill by checking out these events at The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk this February!

Touch A Live Shark

Come and play in the shark-infested waters of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, in the Sharks & Rays gallery that offers the chance to touch a live shark.
The gallery’s Shark & Ray Touch Pool features nurse sharks and several species of rays. More than 90 feet of pool-edge access allows more visitors more chances to run their fingers down the backs of these prowling – but harmless – predators.
A clear side panel on the new exhibit provides fascinating underwater views of the sharks and rays as well.
Other don’t-miss exhibits in the new “Sharks & Rays” gallery display the creatures as they come to life. Watch as skates and chain dogfish sharks develop in – and hatch from – their embryonic egg cases. Be charmed by baby sharks and rays. And get a real feel for sharks, by touching replica shark teeth and cartilage at an artifacts display.
This permanent gallery is part of the Aquarium’s $4.5 million “FINtastic RefurbFISHment.”

Winter Vacation Adventures, for ages 6 to 12

Feb. 18-22, each day from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Kids ages 6 to 12 can keep busy over their winter school break with this fun exploration of our natural world.
Ages 6 to 9:  One-day programs are offered, with a different themed topic each day, including “Sharks & Fins,” “Whale of a Day” and “Deadly Creatures.” Sign up for one, some or all days. See the Aquarium’s website for all the daily topics and activities. Cost is $98 per day, or $435 for all five days. (Aquarium members get a 20 percent discount: $78.40/day and $348/week.)
Ages 9 to 12:  Older kids can participate in the five-day “Junior Marine Biologist” program. Activities include setting up and stocking an aquarium display, testing water chemistry, dissections and using microscopes to peer into Long Island Sound’s unseen marine life.  Cost is $435 ($348 for Aquarium members).
No matter the child’s age, all programs run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Pre-care for all children is available from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., for $17 per day or $72 for the week. (Aquarium members get a 20 percent discount: $13.60 or $57.60.)
And post-care, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., is offered as well, for $33 per day or $143 for the week. (Aquarium members: $26.40 or $114.40.)
Children should bring a bag lunch, a snack and an appetite for adventure.
Advance registration is required. Call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Sat., Feb. 16 at 8:15 a.m.
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk opens its backstage spaces for a rare behind-the-scenes tour. Conducted before the Aquarium opens, from 8:15 to 10 a.m., the guided tour offers unique opportunities to see how the animal-husbandry staff meets the varying food and water needs of some 2,000 resident animals.
The tour includes stops at the Aquarium’s “fish kitchen,” where 18 tons of fish a year is prepared, and above the 110,000-gallon Open Ocean tank, where the dorsal fins of 8-foot sand tiger sharks cut through the water surface. Learn the delicate requirements of a jellyfish “nursery.”
Participants must be at least 10 years old; under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $32.50 ($22.50 for Aquarium members) and includes Aquarium admission.
The tour is limited to 25 people, so reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting.
For reservations or more details, call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Winter Creature Cruises

Many weekends through mid-March 2013. Dates and times vary by low tide.
Journey out onto Long Island Sound in hopes of seeing some of the seals that spend the winter just off our shores during The Maritime Aquarium’s new season of Winter Creature Cruises.
These invigorating cruises seek out the harbor seals, gray seals and even harp seals that have been coming down into the Sound in growing numbers each winter.  Educators on board the research vessel Oceanic will point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories.  They’ll also help identify such winter waterfowl as buffleheads, mergansers and Old Squaws.
Winter Creature Cruises will occur on many weekends from Dec. 22-23, 2012, through March 16-17, 2013.  Dates and departure times will vary by the tide schedule.  Departures in February are: Sat., Feb. 2 at 9 a.m.; Sun., Feb. 3 at 10 a.m.; Sat., Feb. 16 at 9 a.m.; and Sun., Feb. 17 at 10 a.m.  See the full season schedule here.
Tickets for a Winter Creature Cruise are $20.50, or $18.50 for Aquarium members.  Maritime Aquarium Study Cruises are good for ages 8 and older.  We recommend that you bring binoculars and plenty of warm clothes!
Space on the research vessel Oceanic is limited so advance reservations are strongly recommended.  Walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting. The cruises depart from the dock outside the Aquarium’s IMAX movie theater.
For reservations or more details, call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

The Maritime Aquarium

10 N. Water Street, Norwalk, CT
Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.  (Closed only Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day)
(203) 852-0700
Admission: Aquarium only:  $13.95 for adults, $12.95 for seniors 65+ and $10.50 for children 2-12. Members free.
Adventure Pass (Aquarium + IMAX movie):  $20.95 for adults, $19.70 for seniors 65+ and $15.50 children for 2-12.
IMAX movie:  $9.50 adults, $8.75 seniors and $7 kids 2-12.  Members save $2.

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