We've taken a few educational boat trips over the years but yours was by far the best all-around experience. The highlight had to be the breadth of sea life we pulled up and got a chance to investigate, interact with and, of course, learn about."

– Rockland County, NY, camp director

Fun & Learning

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Sand Tiger Shark Fun Fact

Looks closely at the sand tiger sharks in the "Ocean Beyond the Sound" exhibit. Their snout and jaws are covered in tiny holes. These are receptors for the sharks' "sixth sense" – their ability to detect bioelectric fields emitted by other animals (including potential prey).



R/V Spirit of the Sound™ Gets Closer!

RV-Spirit-of-the-Sound 4webRevolutionary in design, this new catamaran is the only research vessel in the world with hybrid-electric propulsion. She'll run virtually silently on electric power for our 2½-hour “study cruises” on Long Island Sound.

Beginning with our Seal Spotting Cruises in December, the 63-foot all-aluminum vessel will replace our current 34-year-old diesel-powered trawler.  With more room inside and out, the new research vessel will double our capacity for getting participants out on the water.

Designed by Incat Crowther of Australia, Spirit of the Sound was built in Mamaroneck, NY, at the Robert E. Derecktor Inc. shipyard, with construction managed and integrated by Alternative Marine Technologies (Amtech). Her hybrid-electric propulsion system was made by BAE Systems Inc., Corvus Energy and Northern Lights Hybrid Marine.

Major contributors include: the Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, George & Carol Bauer of Wilton, and The TK Foundation.

Coverage of cristening ceremony:

Christening of the R/V Spirit of the Sound

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Our new boat's godmother, Astrid Heidenreich, breaks the ceremonial bottle of champagne on the bow of our new boat. Pulling the boat closer to the dock is Project Manager Robert Kunkel, Amtech.

Launch season sponsor

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Cool video of our new boat being built (time-lapse), launch, it's first arrival in Norwalk and its christening. Describes the new boat's hybrid electric propulsion system.

Cruises for Schools & Other Groups 

School groups, Scouts, camps and other groups can charter the R/V Spirit of the Sound for study cruise programs onto Long Island Sound.

For Grades 3-5, click here.  

(This link is to Grades 4 & 5, but the cruise content on that page applies to Grade 3 as well.)

For Grades 6-8, click here.

For High School cruises, click here


Public Cruises 

Seal Spotting Cruises

Offered annually from December through early April; dates & times are tide-dependent
Public schedule: see list below.
School/Group charters:  for dates, call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Study winter biodiversity, including waterfowl and plankton, as you seek out some of the seals that winter in Long Island Sound. Learn about the seals and get a broad picture of how the Sound's animal population changes in the winter -- which animals swim south, which bury in the mud and which have adapted to the cold. Dress very warmly!  Passengers must be over 42" tall.  If under the age of 21, you must accompanied by an adult. Capacity: 30.

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Tickets: $22.95 per person 
Aquarium Members: $17.95

Discounted Combination Cruise + Aquarium admission:
$39.95 adults; $38.95 youths (13-17) & seniors (65+); $33.95 ages 12 & under.

Groups of 10 or more must call reservations at 203-852-0700, ext. 2206, Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  

Cost for school groups or other charters: $425 for up to 30 participants. Additional Aquarium admission is optional.

2015 Seal Spotting Cruises Public Schedule

Sat        3/14        Noon
Sun       3/15        1 p.m.
Sat        3/28        1 p.m.
Sun       3/29        1:30 p.m.

Sat       4/11        11 a.m.
Sun      4/12        11:30 a.m.


rvo-touchtable-photoPublic Marine Life Study Cruises

1 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays May & June
1 p.m. daily in July & August
1 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays in Sept. & Oct.

Study marine biodiversity from the water’s surface down to the bottom for a first-hand understanding of Long Island Sound's interdependent marine life. Participants utilize such sampling techniques as a plankton tow, biodredge, mud grab and otter trawl that may bring up fish, crabs, squid, skates and more. A videomicroscope and touch tank onboard enhance observations.

Passengers must be over 42" tall. If under the age of 21, you must accompanied by an adult. Capacity: 29.

ADVANCE RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Capacity is limited. Cruises do sell out. We recommend you purchase your tickets in advance. (Walk-up tickets are sold, space permitting. Ask any cashier when you arrive.) The U.S. Coast Guard sets limits for number of passengers on board.

 buy tickets button

Cost: $22.95 per person
Aquarium Members: $17.95

Discounted Combination Cruise + Aquarium admission:
$39.95 adults; $38.95 youths (13-17) & seniors (65+); $33.95 ages 12 & under.

Groups of 10 or more must call Reservations at (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

What happens on a Marine Life Study Cruise?

Here's a story by It's Relevant

Cruises can occur in rain, cold and wind, and are canceled only if conditions are dangerous. Please dress accordingly!

All observations made on study cruises are recorded. This data is part of an ongoing student-based research project called the Long Island Sound Biodiversity Study. Details ...



Norwalk's public dock is just across the river from our dock. Join us to learn what's under your keel, or spot seals or experience the first hybrid-electric research vessel in the U.S.A. There is plenty here for a weekend trip. Check out this travel story by New England Boating, Report from the field: Norwalk, CT.



The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate Long Island Sound
and protect it for future generations. A vibrant and entertaining learning environment,
it achieves this goal through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

10 North Water Street          Norwalk, CT 06854          Phone: 203.852.0700         Fax: 203.838.5416

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation


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