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After watching Sid the Science Kid Monday morning, my girls became obsessed with visiting an aquarium like Sid’s class had done.   I was not aware if there even was an aquarium by us,  so I did some googling during nap time and discovered the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT was only an hour and 15 minutes from us.  We made a plan to head out first thing the next day.

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True to google maps, it took us exactly an hour and 15 minutes to reach the aquarium from Goshen.  We arrived right around 10 am when it opens, but the only free parking near the aquarium was already filled.  No surprise to us that it would be packed considering it was New Year’s Eve and in the middle of Christmas vacation, so we headed over to the Maritime Parking Garage across the street.  It was a blustery, cold day on the Long Island Sound, and I was happy to pay the $7 to park as close to the museum as we could get.

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Once inside, the hallway opens up to a vast room filled with a seal tank to the left and a touch tank to the middle.  We headed over to the seals first where the girls came nose to nose through the glass with some very friendly and energetic seals.  They put on quite a show of playing, swimming, and bobbing.  Next, we headed over to the touch tank where the sting rays eagerly swam over to outstretched fingers for a pet.  I was not brave enough and chickened out each time at the last second, but Sophie and Madison ran their fingers right over the sting rays.  Then, we headed to the African exhibit and checked out some meerkats.  I’m still not sure what they have to do with aquatics, but they were cute and fun to see in addition to the African reptiles.  Another favorite was the shark tank where we witnessed a scuba diver dressed as Santa feed the sharks.

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Before heading to the cafeteria style cafe, we stopped to watch the seals have their lunch which is a favorite past time for visitors.  However, our Sophie girl was getting hungry and cranky, so we cut our observation short and headed upstairs for lunch.  Thankfully, most people were watching the seals, so we were able to score a table before the crowds arrived.  The aquarium website states no outside food is allowed to which I adhered to, and so we purchased our lunch there.  They had a relatively varied selection, but the kids’ food selection was limited to fried food and a fruit cup.  You did not hear this from me, but next time I will bring my own food to supplement what they have to offer.  I saw many families unpack their own snacks, and no one appeared to be offended by this.

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After lunch our girls were exhausted, so we packed it up and headed home.  However, for future reference, they do have an indoor play space, an outdoor playground and offer several IMAX features for an additional cost.  There is also a children’s museum across the street.  Norwalk is a distance to travel, but you can easily spend the day there making the drive worthwhile.

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Having been to both the Charleston and Boston aquariums which are large and interactive, I was a prepared to be underwhelmed.  However, that was not the case.  The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is smaller, but just as nice with plenty to do and see.  It’s a perfect day trip to ease the cabin fever, something we all might need after this blizzard blows over!

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