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NORWALK, CT – Enjoy special on-the-water views of the upcoming holiday fireworks display in Norwalk from aboard the research vessel of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, just one of many memorable cruises onto Long Island Sound offered by the Aquarium this summer.
The Aquarium’s Fireworks Cruise on Sun., July 3 departs at 7:45 p.m. to give participants a unique and beautiful view of the City of Norwalk’s annual pyrotechnics, presented from the water off Calf Pasture Beach park. Plus, the cruise is a great way to avoid the crowds and post-show traffic, with a return to the Aquarium dock at 11:15 p.m.
Other Maritime Aquarium cruises this summer invite participants to discover firsthand the abundant and diverse marine life teeming just off our shores or to enjoy a relaxed evening that builds an appreciation for the Sound, an Estuary of National Significance.
Now through Labor Day, additional opportunities to join the Aquarium on the Sound include:
• Marine Life Encounter Cruises
1:15 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays
These fun outings present a living, squiggling, splashing snapshot of the Sound’s complex and culturally important marine life. Because each cruise’s samplings of animals is different, each cruise is a little different but participants commonly enjoy hands-on introductions to a variety of creatures ranging from microscopic copepods to prehistoric-looking horseshoe crabs to keeper-sized flounder. Lucky participants may meet a squid, mantis shrimp or even a small shark.
“Marine Life Encounter Cruises are an exciting, hands-on family adventure that goes beyond the experience inside the Aquarium,” said Nicki Rosenfeld, a Senior Education Manager who also is one of the Aquarium’s boat captains. “Participants come away with a new or deeper appreciation for Long Island Sound’s biodiversity and beauty, and thus a new or deeper desire to do their part to protect this important natural resource.”
During the 2.5-hour cruises, Aquarium educators put participants to work in collecting and examining animals from all levels of the water column: tiny wriggly plankton gathered at the surface and viewed on a large monitor via a videomicroscope; small crabs, sponges and worms grabbed from the muddy bottom; and a variety of fish, crabs, mollusks and always a few surprises brought up in a trawl net. All animals are safely returned to the water.
• TGIF Cruises
6:30 p.m. July 1 and on Fridays in August
• Saturday Sunset Cruises
7 p.m. Saturdays
Enjoy a relaxing evening boat ride during these pleasurable cruises that celebrate the natural beauty of Long Island Sound, especially as twilight paints the evening sky and reflects on the water. During each 90-minute outing, Aquarium educators are along onboard to point out sights and wildlife, but there’s no structured program.
Maritime Aquarium cruises occur aboard R/V Spirit of the Sound™, a 64-foot catamaran that is the country’s first research vessel with quiet hybrid-electric propulsion, just one of the leadership steps the Aquarium has taken to model reducing its carbon footprint.
Participants for all cruises must be at least 42 inches tall. Guests under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The boat has a climate-controlled cabin but participants should dress for weather out on deck.
Cruises depart from the dock at North Water and Washington streets, a short walk from the Aquarium’s main entrance. (Use 4 North Water St. on your GPS for the boat dock parking lot.)
For prices, more details and to reserve your tickets now, go to www.maritimeaquarium.org.
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