Yesterday I had a family outing with my Nana, my mother, and my brother. They drove down from the Hartford-area to visit me in the middle-of-nowhere (that’s my actual street address). We hopped in the minivan and headed down to Norwalk to visit the Maritime Aquarium. I’ve been there before for Hubble, the IMAX movie (which is freaking awesome…especially if you’re into watching stars be born) but had never actually gone into the aquarium. Well… now I have, and found out that for some reason, they have Meerkats.
“Are Meerkats aquatic?” the Asian Persuasion asked me. Nope. They mostly just dig in the sand. But the aquarium concocted a whole African exhibit with tropical fish, snakes, and other stuff to attempt to explain the Meerkats. They’re super cute and far less boring than tree frogs so you’ll be willing to overlook the fact that they seem out of place.
There are some cute, actually aquatic animals too. There are harp seals, river otters, and African penguins…and the biggest freaking sea turtle I’ve ever seen in my life. You can watch the seals get fed, or swim around in circles in their indoor-outdoor tank. (I’m not quite sure why this tank-style has been adopted for seals but I always seem to see them with a big rock island in the middle, which makes the seals swim in circles…over and over. Maybe they get tricked into thinking it’s a new corner each time they swim around.)
I’ll admit, I was pretty excited for the otters. I love those little critters. But I’m partial to the sea otters. They remind me of my childhood cat, Ishtar. (He was amazing…and really fat.) The aquarium only has river otters. They’re sleeker and less adorable, but still pretty amusing. They do funny tricks, and have funny little faces, and for some reason, a big rubber ducky.
The penguins are cute, but penguins always kind of bore me. They sort of just look like ducks in tuxedos and what’s so special about that? There are tons of really beautiful fish, coral, urchins, sea anemones, scary sharks, and a tank devoted to things from the Long Island Sound–which isn’t as gross as one would think.
But perhaps the most beautiful room in all of the aquarium is the jellyfish room. I didn’t think they were particularly attractive when they were washing up on the Gulf Shore but in a tank, when they’re well-lit, they’re downright stunning…even through the lens of an iPhone.
It’s $12.95 for adult admission, and it’s right in downtown SoNo–this weekend there was even an arts festival going on–surrounded by great restaurants, cute shops, and right on the bank of the river (where you can catch a boat ride). It’s definitely worth a trip someday, especially if you’ve seen the Belugas at Mystic Aquarium a million times.