It's all within an easy walk of the [train] station too – including The Maritime Aquarium, the one relatively new building in the group and the one that enables grownups to enjoy browsing and shopping while still entertaining the children."
– The New York Times
Visit the Aquarium

Sea Star Fun Fact

Try not to call these cool shoreline creatures "starfish." Sea stars aren't fish, so the proper name is "sea star."  (Similarly, call them jellies, not jellyfish.)



R/V Spirit of the Sound™

Aquar.RVSpiritoftheSound 4 webRevolutionary in design, this new catamaran is the only research vessel in North America with hybrid-electric propulsion. She runs virtually silently on electric power for our 2½-hour study cruises on Long Island Sound.

The 64-foot all-aluminum vessel replaces a diesel-powered trawler. Public cruises, school group charters and private parties now enjoy a cleaner and greener venue on Long Island Sound. 

Passengers must be over 42" tall.   If under the age of 18, you must be accompanied by an adult.

ADVANCE RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. A capacity limit is set by the U.S. Coast Guard. 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.)  Refunds are not available on pre-purchased tickets; cruises canceled by the Aquarium due to weather will be rescheduled.

For options, select from:

Public Cruises

   Marine Life Study Cruises

   Central Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruises

   Western Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruises

   Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises


Public Cruises 

Marine Life Study Cruises

at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays Oct. 15-16, 22-23 & 30. 

MLSC  4webStudy marine biodiversity from the water’s surface down to the bottom for a first-hand understanding of Long Island Sound's interdependent marine life. We utilize such sampling techniques as a plankton tow, trawl net and biodredge that generally bring up a variety of fish, crabs, mollusks and more right out of Long Island Sound right before your eyes! A videomicroscope tied to a giant-screen monitor and a large touch tank on board enhance observations.  2.5 hours. Cost: $29.95 per person ($24.95 Aquarium Members)
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Central Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruises

Next date:  Sat., Oct. 29

Aquar.Middle Light 4webVenture out for a rare close-up look at five historic lighthouses on Long Island Sound!  Participants aboard R/V Spirit of the Sound will make passes by five century-old beacons: Peck Ledge, Greens Ledge and Sheffield Island lighthouses in Norwalk, Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Fairfield and Stratford Shoal (Middle Ground) Light. All the lighthouses are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 5-hour cruises depart at 10 a.m.

Aquar.Lighthouse Cruise3 4webAquarium educators will share histories and anecdotes about the lighthouses, and also point out the Sound’s waterfowl.

Binoculars are provided. The Maritime Aquarium Lighthouse Cruises are a special photo opportunity for both lighthouse buffs and bird-watchers, so bring your camera! 

R/V Spirit of the Sound has a climate-controlled cabin. 

We will provide water. Food is not available for purchase on the boat. You may bring food and non-alcoholic beverages in a small bags or soft-sided cooler. Glass bottles are prohibited.

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Tickets are $70 ($60 for Aquarium members). Advance purchase is required. Capacity is limited to 25.  Reserve your tickets by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" button or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.


Seal-Spotting and Birding Cruises

Watch here for details about our 2017 winter season.

Aquar.sealsinsound.Ramsey 4webCruise out with us in hopes of spotting some of the seals that come into Long Island Sound each winter.  We'll seek out the seals to observe them near the Norwalk Islands as they “haul out” to rest on rocks exposed at low tide. During the 2.5-hour cruises, educators will talk about the seals’ natural histories and use artifacts to discuss seal anatomy. And they’ll discuss what happens with the Sound’s marine population during the winter: who stays, who migrates out and who migrates in (besides the seals).These cruises also give birders unique “on-the-water” access to see and photograph visiting winter waterfowl, such as buffleheads, mergansers, Brant geese and long-tailed ducks.Binoculars will be provided.   R/V Spirit of the Sound has a climate-controlled cabin.  All participants must be at least 42 inches tall.


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.School Bro cover shot 2014-15 copy

For High School cruises, click here

Schools or other groups of 10 or more interested in a Marine Life Study Cruise should click on the appropriate grade levels above under Cruises for Schools & Other Groups. Or call our Reservations Dept. 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  

Corporate and Private Charters 

Our new, quieter, greener boat offers a unique platform for corporate team building, meetings, parties and more. We can custom design a private cruise for companies and individuals. A range of food and beverage options are available. Add an exciting program: marine life study, remotely operated underwater vehicle, marine navigation, lighthouse tour, history tour, bird watching and more. Capacity: 40 people.


Party at the Dock 

If you have more people or less time, consider a special event on our spacious dock and boat without the cruise. We can accommodate up to 65 people with broader catering choices. You can still add an interpretive program: remotely operated underwater vehicle, marine navigation, bird watching, animals of Long Island Sound and more.


Here's a great video about R/V Spirit of the Sound: 


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.

Who Built Her:

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.


Mission: The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect
the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits,
marine science, and environmental education.

10 North Water Street  •  Norwalk, CT 06854
Tel: 203-852-0700

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

© 2016 The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

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