Study Cruises

Give your students an exciting hands-on experience in examining, monitoring and discovering Long Island Sound! The Maritime Aquarium’s revolutionary R/V Spirit of the Sound™ is the first research vessel in the country with hybrid-electric propulsion. She runs quietly and “green,” letting us practice what we teach. The 64-foot catamaran has a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space. Equipped with a wide range of sampling and scientific equipment, she’s bringing the marine world and scientific inquiry alive for a new generation of students.

  • Cruises are 2 hours long and are available by charter at 9 and 11:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. September through November and April through June.
  • Capacity is 40 people.
  • Cost per cruise is $1,095. Additional Aquarium admission is optional. (Please note, for cruises after July 1, 2023, the cost will be $1,195)
  • Cruises can occur in rain, cold and wind, and will be rescheduled only if dangerous conditions exist. Please dress accordingly! 

For questions or to book a program, please contact our Reservations Department at (203) 852-0700 extension 2206 between 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday or email reservations@maritimeaquarium.orgPlease note: reservations must be made at least 6-8 weeks in advance.

Marine Life Study Cruises

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 and trawl net to bring up varieties of fish, crabs and mollusks – and maybe even squid, sea stars, shrimp and sharks. A videomicroscope (tied to a giant flat-screen monitor) and a touch tank right on the boat enhance observations.

  • Creatures of the Deep (grades 3 - 5) See description above ... with focus on the adaptations of the animals living in Long Island Sound.
    • NGSS Standards
      • 3: L.S4-3
      • 4: L.S1-1, E.S.S2-1
      • 5: L.S2-1, E.S.S2-1
  • Undersea Ecosystems (Grades 6 - 8) See description above ... with focus on examining the diets and interrelationships of Long Island Sound animals.

    • Standards: N.G.S.S – 6-8: L.S2-2, L.S2-3, L.S2-4

  • Biodiversity & Conservation (Grades 9 - 12) In addition to the description above, identify and classify the taxonomy of the animals hauled up from the deep, from microscopic plankton to small sharks. Learn about the conservation issues facing Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound.
    • Standards: N.G.S.S – 9-12: L.S2-2, L.S2-5, L.S2-8, E.S.S2-5

AP Environmental ScienceĀ (Grades 9 - 12)

This program provides a fieldwork experience designed to link directly to the AP Environmental Science curriculum. Students collect water samples in the inner and outer harbor. They test for dissolved oxygen, pH, carbon dioxide and other variables, compare the findings in the two locations and discuss the results. For many students, the highlight is getting muddy as they examine a biodredge sample for crabs, mollusks, sponges and other organisms to determine species richness. Disembark at the end of the program with data you have collected and ideas for analysis back in your classroom. 

Standards: N.G.S.S. E.S.S3-4, L.S2-2, L.S2-7 

Oceanography (Grades 9 - 12)

This unique program focuses on the physical aspects of the world’s oceans. Students collect and examine plankton samples to spark consideration of how phytoplankton and photosynthesis relate to Earth’s atmosphere. They take weather readings and sample water at different depths, gathering their own data on temperature, salinity and turbidity to contribute to a discussion of the role of the oceans as indicators of global climate change. And they learn how seemingly slight changes in ocean temperatures and currents drive changes in weather in marine and terrestrial environments worldwide. Disembark at the end of the program with data you have collected and ideas for analysis back in your classroom.

Standards: N.G.S.S – P.S4-1, E.S.S2-5, L.S2-5

Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruise (Grades 4 - 12)

Available on select dates in February and March!

Study winter biodiversity, including plankton and migrating waterfowl, 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 or fly south, which burrow into the mud and which have adapted to the cold. Students will use scientific tools and instruments to measure weather and water chemistry. Binoculars provided. Dress very warmly! 

NGSS Standards:

  • 4: L.S1-1, E.S.S2-1 
  • 5: L.S2-1, E.S.S2-1 
  • 6-8: L.S2-2, L.S2-3, L.S2-4 
  • 9-12: L.S2-8, L.S4-4 

Our Mission

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.

Contact Us

Open Daily 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Phone: (203) 852-0700

10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT 06854

Directions Contact Us