Animals come up out of Long Island Sound, and the sun goes down on the Sound, during fun and memorable public cruises offered this summer by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.
The Maritime Aquarium offers several opportunities to join staff out on the water aboard the unique research vessel R/V Spirit of the Sound™. Choose between a family-friendly hands-on introduction to fish, crabs and other marine creatures brought up onboard, or a relaxing tour where the evening sun is the star (in more ways than one). There’s also a chance to oooh and aaaah at the Fourth of July fireworks from out on the water.
Marine Life Encounter Cruises
Meet an amazing variety of fish, crabs, mollusks and other creatures brought up right out of Long Island Sound right before your eyes during these memorable outings, which depart at 1:15 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays now through Labor Day (Sept. 6).
These 2.5-hour cruises reveal what is, to many, a surprising diversity of marine life just off our shores in Long Island Sound. 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); little crabs 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 – sometimes even squid or a small shark!
“Marine Life Encounter Cruises take the aquarium experience to a whole new level, and demonstrate that Long Island Sound is a dynamic marine environment full of life and deserving of our stewardship,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth. “Plus, participants contribute to local scientific research during every cruise, by collecting details about the animals brought onboard for an important database on the physical and biological features of the Sound.”
Tickets for a Marine Life Encounter Cruise are $34 ($30 for Aquarium members).
Weekend Evening Cruises
If unwinding is more your goal – as opposed to reeling in – The Maritime Aquarium also has weekend evening cruises timed for the setting sun. During TGIF Cruises and Saturday Sunset Cruises, Aquarium educators will be onboard to point out sights on the Sound, but the 90-minute outings are mostly intended to just be relaxing boat rides timed to catch the setting sun reflecting on the water.
Food and drink may be brought aboard in a small bag or soft-sided cooler, and must be consumed on the outdoor decks. Glass bottles are prohibited.
TGIF Cruises depart at 6:30 p.m., while Saturday Sunset Cruises begin at 7 p.m. through July 31. (Departures in August shift to 6:30 p.m.) Get back in time to enjoy a late dinner or an evening out with friends just steps away in the restaurants and nightspots of SoNo.
Please note that the TGIF Cruise is not available on July 9.
Tickets for the TGIF and Saturday Sunset cruises are $31 ($27 for Aquarium members).
Enjoy a special water view of Rowayton’s holiday display, and avoid the crowds and traffic, during this special outing on July 4.
The holiday-evening cruise departs at 7:45 p.m., with return expected by 11:15 p.m. Food in small soft-sided coolers is allowed, but glass bottles are prohibited.
Tickets for the Fireworks Cruise are $75 ($70 for members).
All 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. 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.)
Participants must be at least 42 inches tall. Guests under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The boat has a climate-controlled classroom but participants should dress for weather out on deck. Under U.S. Coast Guard COVID rules, masks must be worn while inside the boat’s classroom.
Capacity is limited so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Reserve your tickets at www.maritimeaquarium.org or by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.