The re-energized focus on Long Island Sound's story is obvious in the colorfully redesigned main hall, which has been renamed Newman's Own Hall in celebration of a $1.2 million grant from Newman's Own Foundation."

–  The Norwalk Citizen

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We’ve Got ‘Spirit’, How ‘Bout You?

Kiara Velazquez beat out nearly 400 other Norwalk high school students in The Maritime Aquarium's boat naming contest with her submission "Spirit of the Sound.

The “Spirit of the Sound” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s new hybrid-powered research vessel will take on the name dreamed up by Kiara Velazquez, a sophomore at Brien McMahon High School.

Kiara won the Aquarium’s boat naming contest, beating out 399 other fellow Norwalk students’ submissions. The only rule: the world “Spirit” had to be somewhere in the name.

Naming the new boat is just one of many of Kiara’s connections to the Aquarium and Long Island Sound.  She’s been aboard the Aquarium’s current research vessel, Oceanic, for a study cruises, she fishes in the Sound with her grandfather, she’s a part of the Aquarium’s after school program “Dead Reckoners,” not to mention she’s about to go through training to become a volunteer!

The Spirit of the Sound, a $2.7 million, 65-foot catamaran, is expected to make its debut in late spring. The new research vessel will be bigger, quieter and greener than the Aquarium’s current 34-year-old trawler.

What makes it unique is that it will be powered by a unique hybrid electric propulsion system, which will reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 75 percent.

The new boat will have a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space with total capacity of 65, more than twice that of the Aquarium’s current 40-foot boat.

Maritime Aquarium president Jennifer Herring said she loved the name and the liberating image of the research vessel it creates.

“It will be our job to help every student and every adult who comes aboard for an Aquarium program out on Long Island Sound to feel the spirit of the Sound and carry it with them long after they step off the boat,” she said.

Congratulations, Kiara!

Want to be one of the first aboard the Spirit of the Sound? Enter our Facebook contest!

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Mission: 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.


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


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