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Estuaries such as Long Island Sound are among the most valuable ecosystems in the world. The Sound supports diverse marine life, including most of the fish and shellfish we value as food ..."
– Connecticut Sea Grant
Long Island Sound

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Long Island Sound Fun Fact

Long Island Sound is 113 miles long, 21 miles wide (at its widest) and holds about 18 trillion gallons of water. Its average depth is 63 feet – which is just a little deeper than the height of our IMAX screen! Can you fathom that?!

 

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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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A contest for free passage on the first public cruise and two subsequent prize cruises is being conducted on our Facebook page. Click here to enter.


Aquarium Cruises

The Maritime Aquarium offers study cruise programs onto Long Island Sound for students/Scouts/camps (as charters) and for the public. 

rvo-touchtable-photoPublic Marine Life Study Cruises

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

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.

 

Public Fall Foliage Study Cruises

1 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays in September & October

You've seen New England's brilliant hues of autumn from land. Now see the colors of fall from out on the water, doubly wonderful as they reflect on the water surface!  Bring your camera! These study cruises this fall aboard the R/V Oceanic include all the animal discoveries of Marine Life Study Cruises (see description above). With the seasons changing, Aquarium educators also will talk about which animals endure winter in Long Island Sound and which migrate away. The cruises on Oct. 25 & 26 are the final public outings aboard the Oceanic. Here's an Ode to the Oceanic.


(Scroll down for Winter Seal Spotting Cruises)

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.

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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 reervations at 203-852-0700, ext. 2206, Mon.-Fri. 9:30 am-4:30 pm


Marine Life Study Cruises for School/Scout/Camps (by charter): 

9 a.m. & 1 p.m. weekdays April-October (only 9 a.m. July & August)

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. Students utilize such sampling techniques as a plankton tow, biodredge, mud grab and otter trawl that may bring up fish, crabs, lobsters, sea stars and more. A videomicroscope and touch tank onboard enhance observations. Cost for any cruise: $650 for up to 30 participants; $1,100 for 31-60 participants. Additional Aquarium admission is optional.

• Creatures of the Deep (Grades 3-5)

Focus on the adaptations of the animals living in Long Island Sound.

Standards:
Grade 3:  Next Gen., LS2.D, LS4.C, LS4.D, ESS2.D;  CT Science, 3.2, 3.4;  Common Core, MP.2, MP.5.
Grade 4:  Next Gen., ESS2.1, ESS2.B, ESS2.E;  CT Science, 4.2, 4.3; Common Core, SL.4.1, MP.2, MP.5.
Grade 5:  Next Gen., ESS3.C;  Common Core, 5.2; CT Core Scientific, R.5.7, SL.5.5, MP.2, MP.5.

NEW!  • Undersea Ecosystems (Grades 6-8)

Focus on examining the diets and interrelationships of Long Island Sound animals.

Standards:
Grade 6:  Next Gen., LS1.B, LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C, LS4.D, LS4.C, ESS2.C, ESS3.C;  CT Science, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4.
Grade 7:  Next Gen., LS1.B, LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C, LS4.D, LS4.C, ESS2.C, ESS3.C;  CT Science, 7.3.
Grade 8:  Next Gen., LS1.B, LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C, LS4.D, LS4.C, ESS2.C, ESS3.C;  CT Science, 8.2.

NEW!  • Biodiversity and Conservation (Grades 9-12)

Identify and classify the taxonomy of the animals hauled up from the deep, from microscopic
plankton to small sharks. Review data showing population trends over time and learn about
the conservation issues facing Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound.

Standards:
Grades 9-12:  Next Gen., LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C, LS4.A, LS4.C, LS4.D, ESS2.D, ESS3.A, ESS3.C, ESS3.D;  CT Science, 9.8, 10.2;  CT Core Scientific, D INQ: 6, 10.

•  Scroll down for Seal Spotting Cruises offered December - early April

And coming in Spring 2015:

• Oceanography Cruise (Grades 9-12)
• Environmental Studies Cruise (Grades 9-12)

View and download our full 2014-15 Maritime Aquarium Educational Programs catalog.

 

Teachers in CT, NY, and NJ - Ride Free

Teachers and school administrators, if you have not experienced a Marine Life Study Cruise, we want you aboard! You and a companion can join us on a regularly scheduled public cruise at no charge. You can choose to ride now on our current trawler or try out our new hybrid-electric catamaran later this fall. Advance reservations are required.

Qualified licensed educators presently teaching in CT, NY, or NJ, with proper school ID only please.

Call Cristina, Maggie or Ed in our Reservations Office: 203-852-0700, ext. 2206, Monday through Friday 9:30 - 4:30 to reserve your spot.

 What happens on a Marine Life Study Cruise?

Here's a story by It's Relevant


 

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.

Seals-on-the-SoundStudy 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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Public 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.  

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

2014-15 Seal Spotting Cruises Public Schedule

DECEMBER:
Sun      12/14      10:00 am Public
Sat       12/27      9:00 am Public
Sun      12/28      10:00 am Public
Mon      12/29     11:00 am Public  
Tue       12/30     11:30 am Public

JANUARY:
Sun       1/11        9:00 am Public 
Sat        1/17       1:30 pm Public

FEBRUARY:
Sat        2/14       1:00 pm Public
Sun       2/15       1:00 pm Public
Sat        2/28       1:00 pm Public

MARCH:  *Day light saving time is 3/8/15
Sat        3/14        12:00 pm Public
Sun       3/15        1:00 pm Public
Sat        3/28        1:00 pm Public
Sun       3/29        1:30 pm Public

APRIL:
Sat       4/11        11:00 am Public
Sun      4/12        11:30 am Public



The Maritime Aquarium’s 40-foot research vessel, Oceanic, is inspected and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.  Each cruise lasts about 2 1/2 hours.  Additional paid Aquarium admission is optional. Programs can be adapted to meet specific objectives and time frames.

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

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

TEACHERS: ask about the pre-cruise activity guide when you make your reservation.  Need financial assistance? Download the Group Financial-aid Form and either email it or mail to: The Maritime Aquarium, 10 North Water Street, Norwalk, CT 06854; or fax it to: (203) 852-8892.

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 ...

Booking Your Group:

To reserve group tickets or book a chartered outing, please call the Aquarium’s Reservations Department at 203-852-0700, ext. 2206, during regular business hours; or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

 

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. 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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