Cruises and Boat Tours
Cruises and Boat Tours
Welcome toShoreline Sightseeing
More Boats, More Tours, More Chicago!
Sailing Chicago’s waterways since 1939, Shoreline Sightseeing has been one the best ways to explore and discover Chicago! Family owned for three generations, shoreline sightseeing today operates Chicago’s largest and most diverse boat touring fleet with nine major touring vessels and 11 water taxis.
Come discover Chicago’s vibrant history, famous architecture and breathtaking skyline on a variety of cruise and tour options available. Shoreline offers classic Skyline Tours on Lake Michigan, guided Architecture Cruises on the Chicago River, dramatic Fireworks Cruises, guided River Ride/City Walk Architecture Tours and special events.
Shoreline Water Taxis make fast, fun connections between Chicago’s major touring destinations including Navy Pier, the Michigan Avenue Bridge, Willis Tower/Union Station and Chicago’s Museum Campus. You can also call on Shoreline Charters for memorable events from casual get-together, to corporate meetings, to special celebrations for family, friends and groups. We invite you to explore Chicago with us and we look forward to welcoming you on a Shoreline Sightseeing cruise or tour!
Family Field Trips
Shoreline Sightseeing’s fun, convenient and informative field trips have been specially designed to give you and yoru family a memorable experience! From 45-minute Lake Tours to one-hour Architecture Cruises, your family will come away with a new appreciation of a city that literally rose from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire!
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Since the beginnings of Shoreline Sightseeing, Chicago has been our kind of town since 1939, the year we launched our first boat! So we know how to show your Family Chicago at its very best. Join us for our entertaining and educational Architectural River Cruise departing from Navy Pier. There’s no better view of the city of Chicago than from the deck of a Shoreline boat. A Shoreline Architecture Tour is a fascinating way to explore Chicago’s past and present. Our professional and entertaining docents tell the story of a city that literally rose from the ashes of the great Chicago fire. Shoreline’s Sunset and Skyline Lake Tours are a great introduction to Chicago, with breathtaking views of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And if it’s fireworks you want, a number of our cruises include a front-row seat for Navy Pier’s spectacular fireworks displays.Watch fireworks rise up from the lake against Chicago’s skyline when you join us for a Wednesday evening fireworks cruise. Or enjoy a fun outing on Lake Michigan. Whether you are native of Chicago or visiting, Shoreline Sightseeing your ticket to embrace Chicago in all its beauty.
Experience one of the world’s most beautiful cities on a Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour. This exciting journey takes you down all three branches of the historic Chicago River, as our experienced and entertaining guides tell the dramatic story of Chicago’s rise from the Great Fire of 1871 to become the home of the skyscraper and the birthplace of modern American Architecture.
Along the route are dozens of landmark buildings by world-famous architects, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn, Adrian Smith and Jeanne Gang. On most Wednesday and Saturday nights in the summer, Shoreline also offers dramatic Architecture/Fireworks Cruises, ending with a front row seat for Navy Pier’s famous fireworks displays. Our Night Architecture Cruises offer another popular option to see Chicago’s skyscrapers gleaming against the night sky. All Architecture Tours offer unbeatable day and evening views. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the drama and details of these world-famous architectural gems.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hvaDkAonPc%5D
Skyline Lake Tours
Discover the most memorable way to see Chicago… on a Shoreline Tour! Our Skyline Lake Tours offer breathtaking views of our city’s famous skyscrapers from an amazing vantage point on Lake Michigan. These tours depart from our docks at Navy Pier, Chicago’s #1 tourist attraction! With multiple departures daily, Shoreline’s Skyline Lake Tours are great for a day in the city or as part of a night on the town.
Chicago FireWorks Cruises
Make a memory that will last a lifetime on a Shoreline Fireworks Cruise. Shoreline offers a variety of dramatic boat tours that end with a front-row seat for one of Navy Pier’s spectacular fireworks displays. Whether you take our Architecture/Fireworks Cruise or a Lake Fireworks Cruise, you’re in for an awe-inspiring tour of our city. Architecture/Fireworks Cruises depart from Gateway Park at Navy Pier (southwest corner) and from the Michigan Avenue Bridge (northeast corner). Lake Fireworks Cruises depart from our docks on Navy Pier’s Dock Street.
Why limit yourself to either a boat tour OR a walking tour of Chicago when Shoreline now offers you both in one, great tour? We listened to customer feedback about their experiences in our city, and realized that we could offer something that no other company offers: an all-in-one boat and walking tour. Let Shoreline show you some of the best views of Chicago on a brief boat tour on the river. Then, disembark at one of our centrally located docks to continue your guided, small group walking tour to see some of the most important historical points in the city. Be dazzled by the gorgeous interior spaces of buildings like the Rookery, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Intercontinental Hotel. Delight in learning hidden secrets, bizarre stories, and little-known details on Chicago’s beautiful architecture. Our new walking tours let you experience Chicago at its best-on water and on land-on these one-of-a-kind, up-close-and-personal tours.
Recommended for those ages 13 and over. Tours fill up fast, so reserve your spot today!
- Masters & Masterpieces: Chicago Loop
- Behind the Facade: River North & the Mag Mile
- The Beginnings of the Melting Pot: Chicago’s West Loop
- Dressed to Impress: The LaSalle Street Canyon
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Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
“The World’s Most Famous Boat Ride, Year-Round”
Since 1945, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises has hosted over 60 million passengers in New York. Today, Circle Line is the only cruise line dedicated exclusively to sightseeing, with vessels made of steel and over-sized glass windows that offer magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline, all year round. Owned and operated by New York Cruise Lines Inc., New York’s oldest and largest provider of scheduled and chartered sightseeing and special event cruises, Circle Line is recognized as one of the most famous boat rides in the world.
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Sightseeing Tour Options
All Circle Line vessels offer first-class service, the best viewing opportunities and an entertaining, informative tour given by professional guides.
Depart on Circle Line’s most popular cruise year round and discover Manhattan like the great explorers. Take in over 101 city sights, including a magnificent close-up of the Statue of Liberty and:
Cruise Duration: 2.5 Hours (approx.)
- The Octagon
- Randall’s Island
- High Bridge Park
- Columbia University
- Gracie Mansion
- South Street Seaport
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Yankee Stadium
- The Cloisters
- Grant’s Tomb
- The Little Red Lighthouse And more!
Experience the grandeur of midtown and lower Manhattan. Witness magnificent views of the world’s premier skyline and a “close encounter” of the best kind with the Statue of Liberty. The Circle Line passes every sight two times, making this cruise ideal for getting just the “right” photo of your favorite landmarks, including:
Cruise Duration: 1.5 Hours (approx.)
- USS Intrepid Pier
- Hoboken Pier
- Pier 54 (Titanic Pier)
- Newport Center
- Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
- Battery Park
- The Museum Of Jewish Heritage
- Ellis Island
- Wall Street
- South Street Seaport and Museum
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Chrysler Building
- Empire State Building
- World Financial Center
- United Nations
The fastest and best way to see the Statue of Liberty! Sail down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty and back, viewing such sights as Ellis Island, the historic immigration center, the rising Freedom Tower, and the World Financial Center, along the way. Each of our cruise options includes a close look at the Statue of Liberty.
Cruise Duration: 1 Hour (approx.)
For something a bit more romantic, set sail on the same route as the Semi-Circle Cruise as the sun sets and the skyline comes alive at night. Cruise down the Hudson, around the Battery, up the East River, and back to the 42nd Street Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises pier. Along the way, witness the world’s premier skyline and a close-up view of Lady Liberty, and a host of sights, including:
Cruise Duration: 1.5 Hours (approx.)
- USS Intrepid Pier
- Hoboken Pier Pier 54 (Titanic Pier)
- Newport Center
- Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
- Battery Park
- The Museum Of Jewish Heritage
- Ellis Island
- Wall Street
- South Street Seaport and Museum
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Chrysler Building And more!
The BEAST is done for the season but will be back in May 2014. Please check back for details. Hold onto your hats because for 30 fun-filled minutes the Beast leaves all others in its wake as the Captain takes this custom-built 70-foot offshore racing powerboat up to 45 mph on a ride down to the Statue of Liberty. (Children must be 40”/100cm.)
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Welcome to the Chicago Architecture Foundation! We offer engaging ways for educators, families, and young people to explore Chicago’s amazing architecture.
Through hands-on, real-world explorations discover how to turn your local community into a dynamic setting for teaching and learning. Buildings, structures, people, and events help young people discover how architecture and the built environment impact their lives everyday.
Our programs and resources include multi-disciplinary teacher workshops, award-winning curricular resources, place-based field trips, hands-on workshops for teens, scout badge programs, and A+DEN-a network for people interested in design education.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) offers more than 80 different tours including the Chicago Architecture Foundation architecture river cruise aboard the Chicago’s First Lady. Also offered: FREE exhibitions, programs and workshops, youth education, family programs and an architecture and design-themed retail store.
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FAMILIES & KIDS
We offer exciting architecture-themed activities for your family or kids group. Join us for CAFamily Studio Sundays and exhibitions, or schedule a time to bring your Scout, youth, or school group to the Chicago Architecture Foundation for a special field trip to explore Chicago’s amazing architecture.
We have wrapped up our Family Programming for 2013. Join us in the new year for monthly Saturday programs. Dates and times coming soon!
Current Exhibitions Available by CFA
Chicago Architecture Foundation exhibitions encourage people to discover the spaces, places, and structures that shape Chicago and all communities. The unique installations encourage people to understand how architects, engineers, and planners design environments—and how we all participate. The exhibitions inspire people to imagine the future of metropolitan regions everywhere.
THE UNSEEN CITY:
DESIGNS FOR A FUTURE CHICAGO
COST: Free and open to the public
HOURS: Daily 9 am to 5:30 pm
LOCATION: Atrium Gallery, 224 S. Michigan Ave.
Four Chicago academic institutions present visions for the future of city life in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s exhibition Unseen City: Designs for a Future Chicago. The participating designers encourage us to ask, “What might this neighborhood and city become?”
Come see a 19th century boulevard transformed for the 21st, a horizontal deconstructed Willis Tower, an industrial district as creative hub, and a skyscraper that scrubs the air.
What future do you imagine for your neighborhood?
Free and open to the public
7 days a week from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
CAF Lecture Hall, 224 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago is preparing to debut a bold plan for giving public transit riders a speedier and smarter way to ride: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). By combining cutting-edge technology with specially-chosen routes, BRT promises to make Chicago a more connected city.
This exhibition outlines the features and benefits of BRT while exploring how it is transforming cities around the globe. See how features like dedicated bus lanes and innovative station design are improving bus transportation and people’s lives.
These programs are made possible through the generous support of The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.
Loop Value: The How Much Does It Cost? Shop
Free and open to the public
7 days a week from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Arcelor Mittal CitySpace Gallery, 224 South Michigan Ave.
In a nation obsessed with acquiring the most stuff at the lowest price, how well do we understand the value of the buildings and products we buy? How do our purchases impact the future of our neighborhoods? Visit Loop Value: The How Much Does It Cost? Shop at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and find a new design for your city and your life. It’s a shopping trip unlike any you’ve experienced before.
Free and open to the public
7 days a week from 9am-6:30pm
Atrium Gallery, 224 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago Model City is the only accurate and up-to-date three-dimensional portrait of Chicago’s downtown. This 320-square-foot work-in-progress enables you to see Chicago as you’ve never seen it before. The model became an instant icon when it opened in 2009, beloved by tourists and locals alike. It has become the centerpiece for exhibitions in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s atrium gallery. In addition, the model is the departure point for CAF tours, a gathering place, an orientation point for visitors, and a great photo opportunity! Famous visitors to the model include Mayor Richard J. Daley, architect Jeanne Gang, and television personality Geoffrey Baer. CAF is currently developing exhibitions that will make Chicago Model City a richer and even more exciting experience.
The Original Kalmar Nyckel
The original Kalmar Nyckel was one of America’s pioneering colonial ships. Its historical significance rivals that of the Mayflower, yet her remarkable story has never been widely told.
Did you know…
The original Kalmar Nyckel sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638 leaving its passengers to establish the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, the Colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware. She made a total of four roundtrip crossings of the Atlantic—more than any other ship of the era. Her first voyage to the New World left 24 settlers of Swedish, Finnish, German and Dutch descent in the Delaware Valley. Joining them was a black freedman who sailed from the Caribbean aboard her companion ship the Fogel Grip.
The Present Day Kalmar Nyckel
The present day Kalmar Nyckel serves as Delaware’s seagoing goodwill ambassador. She was built by a group of committed citizens to be a continuing witness to the courage and spirit of those individuals who undertook the mid-winter North Atlantic crossing in 1637-1638.
Since 1998, the ship has served as an outreach platform for the State of Delaware and a catalyst for social and economic development. The ship provides a unique platform for the Foundation’s educational programming as well as a venue for diplomatic, recreational, governmental and commemorative functions. The ship is owned and operated by the Kalmar NyckelFoundation, a non-profit organization that offers people of all ages a variety of sea and land based learning and recreational experiences.
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Public Sails and Tours
Enjoy a Timeless Adventure!
Sail on Kalmar Nyckel:
The Kalmar Nyckel offers a wide array of sailing opportunities — from April through October. Guests are invited to haul lines, set sails, and enjoy tales of the original Kalmar Nyckel — or become a “pirate” with the crew on special pirate sails.
To choose your sail, please click on the Sail/Tour Schedule on your left and browse by date or location. While tickets may also be purchased at the dock prior to a scheduled sail, it is best to make reservations. That way you can be sure there is room and so we have your contact information in case a sail is cancelled due to weather concerns. To reserve your tickets, please call the Kalmar Nyckel office at (302) 429-7447.
In Chestertown, Kalmar Nyckel will be participating in the Sultana’s Downrigging Weekend November 1st through 4th. Join the tall ship fleet for a sail down the Chester River, lined with gorgeous fall colors. For information about the festival and tickets to sail please visithttp://www.sultanaprojects.com/downrigging/index.htm
Ahoy Mateys! Come Sail on Kalmar Nyckel, the Tall Ship of Delaware. Landlubbers — come walk the plank of this authentic seagoing re-creation of a 17th-Century Dutch Pinnace. Our crew don pirate and sailor garb, and guests are encouraged to dress up as well! The kids will enjoy a pirate story or help raise the Jolly Roger, and the adults will enjoy a history talk. Both kids and adults can try their hand at a scavenger hunt with a treasure at the end! See the ship’s cannons and imagine being at the helm of this magnificent vessel. Join our captain and a crew of salty pirates for a festive experience on the high seas! Visit our Sail/Tour Schedule for more information.
Tour Kalmar Nyckel
In select locations, join the crew for a memorable deck tour of Kalmar Nyckel. Our crew will talk with guests about the ship, its special place in history and what made it unique in 1638 and today. Kids can ring our ship’s bell, march around the capstan, and steer the ship using the whipstaff (1630’s helm technology predating the wheel). Check out her carvings from the dock before you step aboard. The stern carvings are all newly-painted with period-correct hues, and our gilded figurehead, “Leo the Lion,” shows his fierce teeth! These 10-15 minute tours are offered for a nominal charge. Please visit our Sail/Tour Schedule for more information.
For more information, please contact us at:
Please note that due to the nature of the weather and conditions beyond our control, the Ship’s schedule is subject to change without notice.
Family Field Trips at Plimoth Plantation offer a fascinating and personal look at the lives of the Native Wampanoag People and the Pilgrims, the English who lived in early Plymouth Colony. In addition to a self-guided Museum tour, School groups have a number of options for tailoring their visit. School Groups with a specific interest, such as early gardens, period cookery, colonial religion, Native culture, timber-frame construction, or navigation, may book a speaker through our Professional Speakers Bureau or a Guided Tour.
Our historical theme dining turns what might otherwise be just another restaurant meal into a memorable (and tasty!) addition to your visit. We offer themed meals with Pilgrim and or Native hosts, and lunch or dinner with food historians who will teach you just how Miles Standish ate his dinner without a fork. For more about historical or modern-day dining opportunities, go to our Dining page.
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The staff at the Henry Hornblower II Visitor Center welcome you to Plimoth Plantation. Purchase tickets or membership here, then view the orientation film produced for Plimoth Plantation by the History Channel. This prepares you for the unique experience of visiting our outdoor living history sites, which tell the compelling story of the Pilgrims and the Native Wampanoag people.
The Visitor Center houses our Museum Shops that offer a range of products from one-of a-kind Native art and jewelry, to children’s toys and books, specialty foods and an array of items made in New England.
Also in the Visitor Center you can visit the Shelby Cullom Davis Gallery and the Family Discovery Center, where fun is driven by imagination as children can try on Colonial clothes, play Native games and raise the flag aboard the shallop. The gallery also features
Thanksgiving: Memory, Myth and Meaning, a self-guided exhibit which tells the story about the 1621 events that continue to inspire America’s annual Thanksgiving holiday.
Our quick-service restaurant, Patuxet Café,features menu items adapted from both the Colonial English and Native cultures, as well as the more familiar modern snacks and meals to please diners of all ages and palates. Enjoy your meal in our spacious dining room, or when weather permits, take your food outside to the courtyard, or have a picnic on the lawn that overlooks a beautiful view of the Eel River and Cape Cod Bay.
Designed by architect Graham Gund, the Hornblower Visitor Center is also available for functions. It’s the perfect setting for your wedding, party or conference. Classrooms on the second floor accommodate education programs, workshops, business meetings and dining for small groups. In our theaters we show first-run, independent and foreign films daily in late afternoon and evening.
In the winter months, when our outdoor exhibits are closed, the Visitor Center is still a lively place where we host the Plymouth Winter Farmers’ Market and other activities and programs as announced on our calendar.
Where do young children go to have fun and learn more about how the Pilgrims and Wampanoag lived in Colonial times? The Family Discovery Station – where imagination creates the experience!
Here, children get to try on Colonial clothes, pretend to cook in a hearth, and learn how Pilgrim children ate their meals off of trenchers without using a fork. Discover how the Wampanoag built their homes and grew many types of vegetables before the Pilgrims settled here. Do you think catching fish is easy? Learn how the Wampanoag built a weir (a fence made of brush) to trap fish in a river.
Climb aboard the shallop (a small boat), raise the flag, and chart your course on a traverse board (a wooden board used in navigation), just like the one used by the sailors aboard the Mayflower to keep track of their course and speed at sea.
Everything in the Family Discovery Station is designed for children to touch, try on, play with and experience, including games and a puppet theater. And be sure to check the daily activity board for a story hour. The Family Discovery Station is a great way for young children to journey back in time.
Programs For Families
Plimoth Plantation offers lots of special activities for kids and families – you can experience the past hands-on when you are here!
If you are looking for something fun to do with your friends (like a special birthday party), bring them here overnight. You will enjoy an evening of activities (Wampanoag or Pilgrim) here at the Museum, (including dinner) spend the night in the Hornblower Visitor Center, and visit Plimoth Plantation for two days!
Your family could have an even more special family overnight experience, living as a Colonial family wearing authentic clothing, cooking supper over the hearth, and sleeping in one of our Pilgrim homes!
To receive special offers and regular updates on Plimoth Plantation’s educational programs, sign up for our Education Mailing List.
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Family Overnights in the 17th Century
Sleep Like the Pilgrims
Come to visit our fun and educational living history exhibit sites early in the day, then join us in the afternoon to begin your Pilgrim experience. As English Colonists, you will be provided with authentic reproduction Colonial clothing. After you are dressed, you will begin experiencing the fun and the work of the 17th century!
Play games, write with a quill pen, even learn a song or a dance if you’d like! Activities will be tailored to your particular interests. Gather wood and get ready to set a fire, because…
…you will assist in preparing a hearth-cooked meal in our reproduction Colonial homes on our Colonial Education Site. Here, you’ll eat “supper” and spend the night, sleeping in authentic beds by a warm hearth. (The homes in our Education site were originally built by the Museum’s skilled artisans at a location on the coast of Maine, for the PBS-TV reality seriesColonial House. After the series ended, we dismantled the homes and reconstructed them at our Colonial Education site.)
A Museum teacher will teach you all you need to know, and will sleep nearby. Your group will have the privacy of the home to yourselves all night. In the morning, your teacher will bring you a continental breakfast (yes, with coffee — although the Colonists in the 1620s had only water…)
Join us for this magical, unforgettable experience.
Cost: $1000 for up to six people.
Sleep on Mayflower II
Yes, you read it correctly! You and your family or friends can spend the night on our full-scale reproduction of Mayflower, the well-known ship which brought the English Colonists to the shores of New England. Mayflower II is docked in downtown Plymouth, at the same location the Pilgrims chose to build their first homes in 1620. All of our entertaining and educational living history exhibit sites will be available for you to visit both days of your stay.
After the rest of the visitors have left for the day, the ship is yours. You could row the shallop in the harbor, make a model of the ship to take home, learn to tie the knots the sailors would have used in 1620, or even try the foods the Pilgrims would have eaten on their way here from England! If that doesn’t sound like an ideal meal, don’t worry — we will provide a 21st-century meal, too! Spend your time with Museum teachers and marine artisans, who can teach you all you want to know about the Pilgrims’ 17th-century journey, and the journey of Mayflower II, which sailed here from England in 1957. The conversations and activities will be tailored to the interests and needs of your family and friends.
If you have the inclination, the decks always need to be swabbed. You may just have enough energy to explore the many decks of the ship, and then choose which one will be the place you make your bed for the night. Watching the sun set behind the masts and rigging of the ship is spectacular, but not outdone by the glow of the sun rising over historic Plymouth.
Please join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
For more information about cost and availability, or to reserve a program, call us at (508) 503-2653 or email email@example.com.
Opened in July 1988, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to have a good time while learning about the vital natural resource just off our shore: Long Island Sound. Set in a refurbished 1860s factory at the mouth of the Norwalk River, the Aquarium building and its location reflect the region’s industrial past and human uses of Long Island Sound for recreation and commerce.
Visitors explore at their own pace, observing 34 exhibits featuring more than 1,200 marine animals of 259 species. The Long Island Sound journey begins along a freshwater river and the shallow waters of the salt marsh, then moves into deeper and deeper habitats out to the open ocean. These close encounters with animals, enhanced by friendly volunteer interpreters and informative display panels, educate visitors about the aquatic life of Long Island Sound and its watershed.
The sharks, seals, river otters, sea turtles and other animals, carefully tended in re-created natural settings, serve as ambassadors both for their species and the Sound’s natural environment. These intimate encounters are the heart of the learning experience and provide visitors – children especially – with a basis for understanding their role in the web of life.
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Asides from the normal visit at the Aquarium and checking out the IMAX theater at Norwalk, the Maritime Aquarium offers many great programs suitable for children and families. Take a look below at all the fun and interesting things that the aquarium has to offer.
Study Cruises onto Long Island Sound
Cruise out with us aboard the research vessel Oceanic for thrilling explorations of the Sound’s marine life: with a variety of animals brought up right onto the boat (April-October) or to look for some of the seals & waterfowl that winter in the Sound (December-April). Details …
Creature Encounter (11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays)
Meet one of our beautiful Diamondback Terrapins and learn what you can do to help protect Long Island Sound. Their lovely blue skin offers a hue rarely found in the animal world.
FREE with Aquarium admission.
Animal Embassy Programs (11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on selected days)
Stamford-based Animal Embassy will present some of their live “animal ambassadors” in guided hands-on introductions. Children (and adults!) will be able to touch and even hold select animals while learning about their appearances, behaviors, adaptations and habitats, as well as the conservation issues they face. FREE with Aquarium admission. • Sometime in October
p style=”text-align: center;”>Shark Dives (At 1:45 p.m. on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays )
Would you jump into a tank of water filled with 6- and 7-foot sharks? Actually, it can be done – bloodlessly – because sharks aren’t really the aggressive man-eaters of popular myth. Come see for yourself when The Maritime Aquarium’s dive team spends some quality time among the sand tiger sharks, lemon shark and other creatures of the 110,000-gallon “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit. Thanks to a cool communication link, you can even talk with the divers while they’re in the exhibit with the sharks! They’ll tell you that sharks should be respected … but not feared. (You also can talk to the divers before they go in the water between 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on “dive days.”) FREE with Aquarium admission.
“Behind-the-Scenes Tours” (On the third Saturday of every month, at 8:15 a.m.)
Operating the aquarium is an complicated production that must satisfy more than 1,000 animals with varying requirements for food, water temperatures and salinities, and more. See how it’s all done when you visit our jellyfish “nursery” and the “fish kitchen,” where meals for our residents are prepared. We’ll go above the “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit, where you can look down on the sharks in their 110,000-gallon tank … and even toss in some fish for them to eat! And feel the tickle as you hand-feed the cow-nosed rays!
Participants must be 10 years and older. Anyone under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult. “Behind-the-Scenes Tours” cost $32.50 for non-members ($22.50 for Aquarium members) and include Aquarium admission at 10 a.m. There is a maximum of 25 people per tour. Advance reservations strongly recommended. Walk-up sales are accepted.
For reservations, Purchase tickets online (click on the date you wish to come) or call The Maritime Aquarium at (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206. Space is limited.
The Maritime Aquarium offers two study cruise programs onto Long Island Sound. These are available to the public and also to schools/summer camps as charters.
Marine Life Study Cruise:
Offered from May 5 through October
Public schedule: 1 p.m. Saturdays May 5-June 30 and then at 1 p.m. daily in July & August. Also on Saturdays in September & October.
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, mud grab and otter trawl that may bring up fish, crabs, lobsters, sea stars and more. A video microscope and touch tank onboard enhance observations. Passengers must be over 42″ tall. Capacity: 29. Cost: $20.50 per person. ($18.50 for Aquarium members)
Maritime Aquarium Birthday Parties
Spend your child’s special day at The Maritime Aquarium with a wild cast of characters including seals, sharks, otters, turtles, jellies and more! We’ll help you throw a party for your child with the excitement only the Aquarium can provide. Birthday packages for ages 4 – 12. We can also host Birthday parties for older kids and adults including IMAX movies, tours and more. Just ask us to design a party for you. In-house catering available for more lavish affairs.
What Happens At A Maritime Aquarium Birthday Party?
After your guests arrive and select an aquatic critter name tag we will lead you through the Aquarium paying special attention to animal demonstrations, feeding times and of course the celebrant’s favorite animals! Take a break for cake and refreshments before enjoying the rest of the Aquarium’s special exhibits. The guest of honor goes home with a gift from The Maritime Aquarium that only a birthday party child can receive…showing that you “seal-a-brated” your birthday at The Maritime Aquarium.
Download the Birthday Party Brochure
To schedule your child’s birthday party please call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traveling Birthday Parties
“Crabs and Critters” Come to You!
Invite some crabs and other critters from The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk into your home for a birthday party your kids and guests are sure to remember. They will have a great time, get to touch the animals, and will learn something too. It is a face-to-face close encounter they will enjoy and remember.
Our 45-minute traveling birthday party program is for groups up to 25, ages 4 to 12; we leave a crab craft as a gift for each party guest.
(There is an additional fee for travel outside a 20-mile radius of the Aquarium.)
Download the Traveling Birthday Party Brochure
Call Reservations: (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, to book your Traveling Birthday Party!
Goodie Bags and Party Stuff
Goodie bags and party favors are available for birthday parties. Orders can be placed by calling the gift shop at (203)852-0700, ext. 2236.
Sleepovers at the Maritime Aquarium
Imagine falling asleep as jellies float next to you and seals lounge on the rocks a few feet away! That’s what you’ll experience during your group sleepover at The Maritime Aquarium.
What Goes on at a Maritime Aquarium Sleepover?
After check-in at 6:15 pm and a light dinner, we’ll fill your groups evening with a fun and fact filled guided tour of the Aquarium, “aquatic games”, snacks, and crafts. Lights are out at 11:15 pm!
Breakfast the next morning is at 7:30 a.m., followed by a private seal show and an IMAX movie. Visit the Gift Shop at 9:30 am, and you’ll be on your way home by 10 a.m. Every child leaves with a customized program patch.
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Essex Steam Train & Riverboat’s 2½-hour journey begins at the historic 1892 Essex Station for a 12-mile, narrated round-trip into the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley – designated “one of the last great places on earth” by the Nature Conservancy.
The steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches at 20 mph through the quintessential New England towns of Deep River and Chester. The picturesque countryside includes pristine meadows, a quaint farm, a millpond with waterfall, and trestles and bridges over rivers and creeks. A natural highlight is the undeveloped Selden Neck State Park, accessible only by boat.
Essex Steam Train offers unique access to several coves and preserves, immersing passengers in an on-board eco-excursion. The train travels near the tidal wetlands of Pratt Cove and Chester Creek – – bountiful, natural habitats for birds. Among those typically spotted are Cormorants, Ducks, Swans, Greenland Geese, Blue Heron, Egrets, and Red-winged Blackbirds. In February and March, the majestic Bald Eagle is the star of the show, when it migrates south to the Connecticut River Valley from Canada and Maine.
At Deep River Landing, passengers are escorted onto the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a 1¼- hour cruise along the Connecticut River. The visual serenity of the river valley is on full display from Becky’s multiple decks. The deep water, coves, inlets, marshes, wildlife, and rocky shoreline are all at once, simply breathtaking! Just as impressive are the historic sights including Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House, and the Haddam Swing Bridge. Upon Becky’s return to Deep River Landing, the steam train welcomes passengers for the return trip back to Essex Station.
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|2014 Seasonal Trains and Special Events|
President’s Day weekend (Feb 15-16)
Eagle Watch special!
|Essex Clipper Dinner Train
May 10 through October 26
|North Pole Express
A magical evening train ride to the North Pole!
Weekends and Weekdays
Nov 14 through Dec 28
|Your Hand on the Throttle
Learn to drive a steam locomotive!
April 4-6 and April 11-13
Oct 31-Nov 2 and November 7-9
|Hot Steamed Jazz Festival
Hosted at Essex Station!
A weekend afternoon train ride with Santa!
Weekends from Nov 28 through Dec 23
|Day Out with Thomas
Two very special weekends!
April 26-27 & May 3-4
Ride the train to the Big Top!
July 19-20 and 26-27
An extended ride south to Old Saybrook
May 10-11, June 7-8, July 4-6,
Aug 2-3, Sept 6-7, Oct 4-5 – 10:00 am
A party on a Little Red Caboose? What a good idea! What fun!
Kids of all ages will enjoy this unique setting for a party that will be long remembered.
The caboose can accommodate up to 18 people (16 children & 2 adults) on an eleven-mile trip behind a coal burning steam locomotive in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley.
A host will be on board to point out interesting places along the line and tell about life aboard the caboose.
Our caboose is owned by the non-profit Friends of the Valley Railroad, and a portion of the fare is donated to them.