2019 Holiday Happenings at The Maritime Aquarium

THE MARITIME AQUARIUM AT NORWALK, 10 N. Water Street, Norwalk, CT; (203) 852-0700, www.MaritimeAquarium.org. The only aquarium focused on Long Island Sound presents sharks, seals, river otters, sea turtles, jellyfish and nearly 300 species from Long Island Sound and its watershed. Three staffed touch tanks allow hands-on close encounters with intertidal animals, sharks and rays, and moon jellyfish. The Aquarium’s IMAX® movie screen is Connecticut’s first and still largest. And come aboard the Aquarium’s unique hybrid-electric research vessel, the R/V Spirit of the Sound, for exciting hands-on animal encounters out on the Sound.

Shark-Diving Santa  

Premieres Fri., Nov. 29 and Sat., Nov. 30; then on Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays in December; and daily Dec. 26-30.   Dive times: 12:15, 1:15 & 2:15 p.m.   Confirm dates before you visit at www.maritimeaquarium.org

Santa Claus is joining The Maritime Aquarium’s dive team in December to help demonstrate that sharks aren’t the blood-thirsty killers of myth; they’re not naughty, they’re nice!

Several times each week through the holiday season (workload permitting), Santa is strapping on his custom scuba outfit and entering the Aquarium’s 110,000-gallon “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit, which is home to 8- and 9-foot sharks.

He regularly swims up to the exhibit window and poses with children, so bring your camera for a unique holiday photo.

Santa is expected to visit The Maritime Aquarium for his first dives on Fri., Nov. 29, and Sat., Nov. 30, then participate each Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in December. Plus, look for Santa’s scuba appearances to continue daily Dec. 26-30.

Times for all dives are 12:15, 1:15 and 2:15 p.m.

Check the Aquarium’s website – www.maritimeaquarium.org – to confirm the dates when Santa can pull himself away from the North Pole and exchange his snow boots for swim fins.

The Santa dives are part of a regular Aquarium program where guests can see and talk with volunteer divers swimming in the exhibit. The purpose of the dives is to correct common misperceptions about sharks, as the divers demonstrate how sharks do not see humans as prey.

All the dives are free with Aquarium admission.


IMAX® Movies

Connecticut’s largest IMAX theater, with a screen that’s six stories high and eight stories wide. Standard IMAX movies are about 40 minutes long and generally suitable for even the youngest viewers. See the movie schedule before visiting by calling or going online.

• “The Polar Express” in IMAX

Fri., Nov. 29 and weekends Nov. 30 - Dec. 22. Call or go online to confirm show times.

Renew a family tradition by securing your tickets for a magical ride to the North Pole as “The Polar Express” returns to the giant IMAX screen for a limited holiday engagement at The Maritime Aquarium.

Based on the Caldecott Award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg, “The Polar Express” follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, a magical locomotive arrives to take him and other doubting children to on a magical Christmas Eve trip to the North Pole.

Digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX format, the animated film has Tom Hanks lending his voice to several main roles, including the train conductor, a mysterious hobo and Santa Claus.

After premiering on Fri., Nov. 29 at 5 p.m., “The Polar Express” will play on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. Show times are: at 5 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15; then at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 21; and at 9 a.m. Dec. 22.

Tickets are $11.50 for adults, $10.50 for seniors (65+), and $9.50 for kids 3-12.

For tickets or more details about any of these “Polar Express” shows, go to www.maritimeaquarium.org/imax or call (203) 852-0700.

standard IMAX movies playing daily

See website for show times and to watch trailers

“Superpower Dogs” – This touching film features remarkable dogs that save lives, including a Dutch shepherd puppy training to join a disaster-response team, a border collie avalanche rescue expert, and a surfing golden retriever helping people with special needs.

“Great Barrier Reef” (opens Sat., Dec. 14) – Explore one of the seven wonders of the natural world – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a living treasure trove of biodiversity – and meet a new generation of reef guardians committed to protecting this marine reserve. 

“Dolphins” – Follow marine researchers, including Connecticut native Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski, as they explore the communications and behaviors of everyone’s favorite marine mammal in this Academy Award-nominated film.

“Journey to the South Pacific” (ends Dec. 13) – Enjoy a breathtaking adventure to the lush tropical islands of West Papua, and follow a young island boy on a journey of discovery to encounter whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and other iconic creatures of the sea.


“Flurry Zone! An Indoor Snow Experience”

Nov. 29 - Dec. 31, every hour on the hour, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

No matter the weather outside, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is guaranteeing a snowy forecast inside every day in December, thanks to a special snow machine that will produce a fun flurry on the hour every day.

“Flurry Zone! An Indoor Snow Experience” produces a squall every hour on the hour, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., from the ceiling of Newman’s Own Hall. Each snowfall lasts for 5 minutes but, through unique technology, it evaporates as it hits the floor, so no shoveling will be required.

“Flurry Zone!” is free with Aquarium admission.


“Noon” Year’s Eve

Tues., Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

End the year – including a countdown to 12 o’clock … 12 o’clock noon – with special family fun on Dec. 31 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

The Aquarium is planning fun midday activities for families with young children who want to celebrate the end of 2019 together, but not at the stroke of midnight.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., strolling entertainers will amuse guests, while a disc jockey provides the beat as well as the countdown to 12 o’clock; 12 o’clock noon, that is.

Get all the details at www.maritimeaquarium.org.



10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days.


Call (203) 852-0700 or go online to www.maritimeaquarium.org.


• Aquarium (includes a standard IMAX movie and all special exhibits): $26.95 adults; $24.95 seniors (age 65+); and $19.95 children (ages 3-12). Kids under 3, free.

• feature-length IMAX movie “The Polar Express”: $11.50 adults; $10.50 seniors (65+); and $9.50 for children 3-12. Aquarium admission is separate.


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