"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 investigated, interacted with and, of course, learn about."

– Rockland County, NY, camp director

Kids & Families

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Sand Tiger Shark Fun Fact

Look 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™

Aquar.RVSpiritoftheSound 4 webRevolutionary in design, this 64-foot all-aluminum catamaran was launched in 2015 as the first 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.

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 Encounter Cruises

   Central Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruises   

   Western Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruises

   TGIF Cruises  

   Sunset Cruises

   Fireworks Cruises

   Sailfest 2017

   Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises


Public Cruises 

Marine Life Encounter Cruises

Nearly daily at 1 p.m. in July & August.  No cruises on Tuesdays.  Next available: June 28-30 and July 2-3 & 5.
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Our signature cruise!  Dioscover 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.

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Tickets are $29.95 ($24.95 for Aquarium members). Advance purchase is strongly recommended. Capacity is limited. "Walk-up" tickets will be sold, space permitting. Reserve your tickets by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" button or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

 


TGIF Cruises

Every Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Start your weekend off with a fun relaxing boat ride out to the Norwalk islands. 90 minutes. Aquarium educators will point out sights and wildlife. Get back in time to enjoy a late dinner or evening out with friends ... all just steps away ... in SoNo!   Food & drink is not available for purchase on the boat. You may bring food and beverages in a small bag or soft-sided cooler. Glass bottles are prohibited.

Reminder that all passengers must be over 42 inches tall.

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Cost: $29.95 ($19.95 for members). Space is limited. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Reserve your tickets by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" button or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

 


Sunset Cruises

Every Saturday at 7 p.m.Aquar.sunset cruise 4web

Enjoy a fun relaxing boat tour out to the Norwalk islands timed to include the setting sun and – providing cooperation beyond our control – a dazzling western sky reflecting on the water. Aquarium educators will point out sights and wildlife.   90 minutes.

Food & drink is not available for purchase on the boat. You may bring food and beverages in a small bag or soft-sided cooler. Glass bottles are prohibited.

Reminder that all passengers must be over 42 inches tall.

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Cost:  $29.95 ($19.95 for members). Space is limited. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Reserve your tickets by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" button or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

 


Western Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruises

Offered monthly.  Next are Sat., July 1 and Sat., Aug. 5

Venture out for a rare close-up look at eight historic lighthouses on Long Island Sound!  Participants aboard R/V Spirit of the Sound will make passes by these lighthouses:  Greens Ledge, Sheffield Island, Stamford Harbor (or Harbor Ledge), Great Captain Island, Execution Rocks, Stepping Stones, Sands Point and Eatons Neck.Greens Ledge light 4web

The 7-hour cruise departs at 9 a.m.

Aquarium educators will share histories and anecdotes about the lighthouses, and also point out the Sound’s waterfowl.

Binoculars are provided. 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 bag or soft-sided cooler. Glass bottles are prohibited.

NEW FOR 2017!  The Maritime Aquarium is now participating in the U.S. Lighthouse Society's Lighthouse Passport program, a fun way to officially log your lighthouse adventures. Bring along your Passport, or buy one aboard the R/V Spirit of the Sound. We'll stamp your Passport for every lighthouse we see during your Aquarium Lighthouse Cruise.  Also, members of the U.S. Lighthouse Society now receive 10% discounts on the Aquarium's Lighthouse Cruises.

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Tickets are $75 ($65 for Aquarium members). Advance purchase is required. Capacity is limited to 30. Reserve your tickets by clicking the "Buy Tickets" button or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

 


Central Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruises

Offered monthly. Next are Sat., July 15 and Sat., Aug. 19

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 cruise departs 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 bag or soft-sided cooler. Glass bottles are prohibited.

NEW FOR 2017!  The Maritime Aquarium is now participating in the U.S. Lighthouse Society's Lighthouse Passport program, a fun way to officially log your lighthouse adventures. Bring along your Passport, or buy one aboard the R/V Spirit of the Sound. We'll stamp your Passport for every lighthouse we see during your Aquarium Lighthouse Cruise.  Also, members of the U.S. Lighthouse Society now receive 10% discounts on the Aquarium's Lighthouse Cruises.

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Tickets are $70 ($60 for Aquarium members). Advance purchase is required. Capacity is limited to 30  Reserve your tickets by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" button or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

 


Fireworks Cruises

Mon., July 3 at 7:30 p.m. (Norwalk) and Tues., July 4 at 7 p.m. (Rowayton).fireworks

Avoid the crowds and experience one of the best views of local Fourth of July fireworks displays when you celebrate our nation's birthday aboard R/V Spirit of the Sound. Join us as we watch the fireworks of Norwalk on July 3 and Rowayton on July 4.  

No lawn chairs to lug. No trees in the way. Get back to the dock with no traffic to sit in!

Food & drink is not available for purchase on the boat. You may bring food and non-alcoholic beverages in a small bag or soft-sided cooler. Alcohol and glass bottles are prohibited on this cruise.

Reminder that all passengers must be over 42 inches tall.

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Cost:  $75 ($70 for members). Space is limited. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Reserve your tickets by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" button or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

 


Sailfest in New London, CT

July 7, 8 & 9

Join us on our research vessel, R/V Spirit of the Sound at Sailfest in New London this Summer! Sailfest is Southeastern Connecticut's premiere summertime event featuring a major fireworks display, amusement rides, free entertainment, tall ships and over 300 vendors lining the street. There will also be multiple chances to join a cruise on the R/V Spirit of the Sound. See below for ticket information! Reminder: As part of Sailfest, these cruises will leave and return to New London, Connecticut.

Thames River Cruise - 2 Hours

Fri., July 7: 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.  |  Sat., July 8: 10 a.m., 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.  |  Sun. July 9: 10 a.m., 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.

Cruise the Thames River during historic Sailfest in New London, Connecticut. The cruise will visit lighthouses and discuss the history of the river and surrounding area. $29.95 per person (Aquarium Members receive a $10 discount)
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Thames River Sunset Cruise - 2 Hours

Fri. July 7: 7 - 9 p.m.

Cruise the Thames River just in time for the sunset during historic Sailfest in New London, Connecticut. The cruise will visit lighthouses and discuss the history of the river and surrounding areas. $29.95 per person (Aquarium Members receive a $10 discount)
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Thames River Sunset & Fireworks Cruise - 2.5 Hours

Sat., July 8: 7 - 9:30 p.m.

Cruise the Thames River just in time for the sunset during historic Sailfest in New London, Connecticut. The cruise will visit lighthouses and discuss the history of the river and Surrounding areas. It will conclude with an on-the-water viewing of the Sailfest/New London fireworks display! $49.95 per person (Aquarium Members receive a $10 discount)
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For more information on Sailfest, visit: http://sailfest.org/

 


Seal-Spotting and Birding Cruises

Our 2016-17 season is completed. We'll resume later this year when the seals return to Long Island Sound
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Cruise 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.

These cruises will be offered many weekends from December through March. Dates and departure times vary by 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.
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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 reservations@maritimeaquarium.org 
 

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 ...

Boaters:

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.

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