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?!



New arrival Fall 2014

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The Maritime Aquarium is building a new research vessel! And her name is R/V Spirit of the Sound™

Revolutionary in design, this new catamaran is the only research vessel in the U.S.A. with hybrid-electric propulsion and will run virtually silently on electric power for our 2½-hour “study cruises” on Long Island Sound.

Due to launch this fall, the 65-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.

She was designed by Incat Crowther, with the propulsion system built by Northern Lights Inc., and is being built at the Robert E. Derecktor shipyard in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Major contributors include: the Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, George & Carol Bauer of Wilton, and The TK Foundation.


Launch 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 two study cruise programs onto Long Island Sound. These are available to the public and also to schools/summer camps as charters.

rvo-touchtable-photoMarine Life Study Cruise

Public schedule:
1 p.m. Saturdays May & June

1 p.m. daily in July & August

1 p.m. Saturday Sept. 6, 13 & 20

1 p.m. Oct. 12-13, 18-19, 25-26 & Nov. 1-2

(Scroll down for Winter Seal Spotting)

School/Camp charters:  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 video microscope and touch tank onboard enhance observations. 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-ons are welcome, 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


Educators in CT, NY, and NJ - Ride Free

Educators, 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 March; dates & times are tide-dependent
Public schedule:  see list below
School/Group charters:  see list below

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: 25.

 buy tickets button

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

2014-15 Seal-Spotting Cruises Schedule

Sat       12/13      9:30 am Public  
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

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

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

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. Also, teachers: for how these programs meet state science standards, pdfclick here.

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  


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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