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

Exhibits & Animals

Blue Crab Fun Fact

Blue crabs are good swimmers. Their specially adapted pair of back legs are "swimmerets" that help move them effectively through the water.



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"Whale of a Month" celebration

featuring a "Giant Walk-In Whale"

Aug. 6 - Labor Day (Sept. 5)

We're celebrating the second summer of humpback whales visiting Long Island Sound with special whale-related offerings, most notably our "Giant Walk-In Whale!"

Even during a whale-watch cruise, it’s hard to appreciate the size of mostly submerged whales. So our “Giant Walk-in Whale” lets you pose beside – and go inside – a life-size 43-foot inflatable humpback whale.

Take a selfie with the whale. Then play Jonah and go inside the whale to see its lungs, heart, tongue and stomachs. (Most baleen whales have three stomach compartments.)  

Visit the "Giant Walk-In Whale" between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

Adjacant to the “Giant Walk-In Whale,” between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., stop by a whale activity station to learn how blubber insulates whales from the cold waters of the North Atlantic and to touch real baleen and other whale artifacts. (This station – and an activity station about butterflies tied to our “Flutter Zone” exhibit – will be offered on alternating days. Check "Today's Events" to see which station is offered on the day of your visit.

Plus, make it a "Whale of a Visit" by including the IMAX movie "Humpback Whales" and checking out the "Animals Without Passports" exhibit (about whale migration).

It's all free with your Maritime Aquarium admission. (Note: please be sure to wear or bring socks. No bare feet inside the whale.)



Open May 28-Sept. 5

Step into a magical environment all aflutter with exotic tropical butterflies in this special walk-through encounter!

"Flutter Zone" features dozens of varieties of beautiful butterflies from Asia and South America, all free-flying among Aquarium visitors.

Some may even land on you!flutter zone.1.4web

Plus, watch the amazing life cycle of butterflies unfold in our "Chrysalis Hut," featuring the chrysalises whose metamorphoses keep the exhibit stocked with flittering butterflies throughout the summer. 

Displays also emphasize the horticultural and agricultural importance of butterflies and other pollinators.  

"Flutter Zone" is free with your Maritime Aquarium admission.

Be sure to double your butterfly fun by choosing a screening of the IMAX movie "Flight of the Butterflies," which tells the amazing story of monarch butterflies and their multigenerational migration to Mexico.

See what's happening in "Flutter Zone" any time via our web cam!
Click on the image:

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"Animals Without Passports" exhibit

Learn about the humpback whale

Open now through Jan. 2, 2017

Animals w-out Passports1 4webThe large humpback whale population in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off Cape Cod supports a popular whale-watching industry. And, for the first time in decades, at least three whales spent the late summer of 2015 in western Long Island Sound.

But humpbacks aren’t in New England waters year-round and their annual international migration is the focus of the special exhibit, “Animals Without Passports."

Displays explore the challenges of humpback whales’ annual 3,000-mile round-trip migration between New England and the Caribbean. Learn when and why the whales migrate, and the hazards they face as they cross ocean borders, including being entangled in fishing gear, being hit by boats and ships, and encountering pollution, loud noises and degraded habitats.

The exhibit is installed in the lobby of The Maritime Aquarium’s IMAX® Theater because it is a perfect tie-in to the movie “Humpback Whales,” showing daily through May 26.

“Animals Without Passports” tells its story by focusing on one whale, a female humpback named Salt who has been studied by researchers for 40 years. Trace Salt’s “family tree” as you also learn how scientists identify and track individual whales. Learn how New England's only national marine sanctuary partners with sister sanctuaries along the charismatic species' migratory route.


Aquar.Lighthouse15win1.Keene 4web

Festival of Lighthouses Contest

Our 15th annual contest is now open to all people 14 years and older.

There will be a total of 20 entries this year.
Application must be received by Friday, October 21, 2016

Fill out the online application here!

pdfFestival of Lighthouses Rules.pdf

You will receive an email confirmation upon completed application.
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Official rules and guidelines are below. Read them carefully. For those of you who have participated in the past, we have made some changes you should be aware of.

2016 Rules Changes:
NO food products or animal parts of any kind.
All lighting MUST be LED-powered lights.

• Open to both individuals and groups of artists (one entry per organization or school) who are at least 14 years old by midnight on Sun., Nov. 6, 2016. Entry forms must be received at The Maritime Aquarium by Friday, October 21, 2016.
• Completed lighthouses are due at the Aquarium no later than Monday, November 14, 2016.
• The Maritime Aquarium reserves the right to reject entries that do not meet the specifications indicated below, are unsafe, or that are deemed offensive or inappropriate.
• Paid and Volunteer staff of The Maritime Aquarium (TMA) and CulinArt and their immediate families are not eligible to participate.
• Only 20 applications will be accepted.
• All applications will be completed online at
• Lighthouse must be a 3-dimensional structure, no less than three feet high and no more than six feet high, from the bottom of base, to the highest point, with a base no wider than 30 inches. Lighthouses will be measured upon arrival. Note that one side of your lighthouse will be against a wall.
• Lighthouse must be a stable structure, not easily tipped over if bumped.
• NO food products of any kind will be allowed.
• No loose or fragile pieces! Lighthouses will be on display to the public. Everything must be securely attached. Lighthouses will be inspected for durability upon arrival, and the Aquarium won’t be responsible for any damage incurred.
• Lighthouses cannot contain the remains of any animals, i.e. shells, bones or feathers.
• Lighthouses must include only functioning LED-powered lights. (Battery-powered LED lights are accepted.) Lights and mechanisms should be designed to last for duration of display time, which is 10 weeks. Spare bulbs are required. TMA will replace bulbs (if spares are provided) as needed so long as lights are easily accessible.
• The structure cannot include any sharp edges or other hazards.
• The structure cannot include interactive parts that invite touching the lighthouse.
• No text panels allowed. Only the information on the entry form will be used in labeling the lighthouse.
• Any repairs that require substantial alterations will be the responsibility of entrant. In such cases, entrant will be notified.
• Lighthouse must be designed and constructed by participant(s).
• Past participants’ entries must be materially unique from previous entries.
• Lighthouse must be easy to move by 2 people.

• Lighthouses must be delivered by appointment, to the main entrance of the Aquarium between Nov. 11-14; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Only completed lighthouses will be accepted at the Aquarium.
• No partial or incomplete construction.
• No alterations can be made to your lighthouse once delivered. Lighthouses not received by 4 p.m. on November 14 will not be accepted. Detailed instructions for delivery will be sent to you when your entry form is completed and accepted.
• Entries will be on display at The Maritime Aquarium from Nov. 19, 2016, to Jan. 16, 2017.

This is a People’s Choice contest. Winners will be determined by votes cast by Aquarium visitors. Ballots are issued to visitors of all ages. One per visitor.

1st: $1,500
2nd: $750
3rd: $300
4th: $150

Facebook contest: $500

• Odds of winning depend on the number of ballots received.
• Winners may be required to provide copies of their birth certificate to verify eligibility.
• Winners will be asked to provide their social security number to receive payment if they win.
• Winners will be announced at an evening reception at the Aquarium on Thurs., Jan. 19, 2017, from 6-8 p.m.
• Each artist receives 4 free passes to visit during the duration of the contest: Nov. 19 – Jan 16.
• Plus a Family Membership for each lighthouse entry. Groups of four will receive just one membership.
• All Entrants should remove their lighthouses the night of the awards reception.
• Lighthouses not picked up by January 23, 2017, will become the property of The Maritime Aquarium.


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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