Tour Highlights: Visit a Nationally recognized Aquarium that researches Long Island Sound, a designated Estuary of National Significance. Visit a historic lighthouse on Sheffield Island with views of New York City on a clear day, enjoy a clambake or bird watching tour and go shopping in historic SoNo.
10:00 a.m. Start your day with a visit to the Nationally recognized Maritime Aqusrium in Norwalk that will put you nose to nose with sharks, within inches of seals, river otters, loggerhead sea turtles, jellyfish and over 10,000 other marine animals.
Groups will enjoy the new Sharks and Rays Gallery whose centerpiece is a large supervised Shark and Ray Touch pool where you can gently stroke the backs of nurse sharks and a variety of rays.
Rivers to the Sound introduces visitors to the river-woodland habitat of salmon and sturgeon while the Holin Gallery showcases life in a salt march. Progressing deeper into the aquarium, visitors learn about different habitats on Long Island Sound's floor in the Depths of the Sound gallery while the Ocean Beyond gallery showcases an 110,000- gallon habitat that is home to tiger and lemon sharks and many other fish.
The jellyfish encounter and sea turtles are real crowd pleasers. A highlight of any visit to the Maritime Aquarium is the seal feeding at 11:45 a.m. (feedings also at 1:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.).
The Aquarium at Norwalk always offers interesting special exhibits as well as an IMAX Theatre. The Aquarium's research vessel, the Oceanic is available year-round and offers the opportunity to sail the waters of Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound, with the Aquarium's scientists to learn about the rich aquatic life that makes its home in this officially designated Estuary of National Significance.
12 noon – Lunch at the Cascade Café at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk or the Brew House in walking distance.
2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – Explore the shops of SoNo
2:45 p.m. – Boat departs 3:00 p.m. - Gather at the Seaport Dock, in the center of SoNo adjacent to the Stroffolino Bridge at the corner of Washington and Water streets in South Norwalk for a journey to Sheffield Island. Enjoy a round-trip cruise to Sheffield Island, a tour of a historic 1868 lighthouse, beach walks and strolls along the nature trail through the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge.
The cruise to the island through historic Norwalk harbor is 45 minutes and the stay on the island is one hour. Allow three hours for this portion of the tour. Cruises leave Memorial Day – Labor Day Weekends at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday – Friday and weekends and holidays the boat leaves at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
According to Coastguard regulations the Seaport Association's new 45-foot C.J. Toth catamaran can carry 49 guests and can be chartered by advance reservation subject to availability.
Special tours for bird watching are available June – Aug. with a master wildlife conservationist from the CT Division of Wildlife.
On this tour guests will visit thousands of birds at a safe distance, nest sites and nesting colonies of Ospreys, Egrets, American Oystercatchers, Herons, Terns, Gulls, Cormorants and many more birds.
For a true New England dining experience in a festive tented pavilion on the Sheffield Lighthouse lawn, with tours of the lighthouse and fabulous sunset views, the Norwalk Seaport Association offers a clambake every Thursday night from mid.- June through mid. September. This option is also available by advance reservation for groups on other evenings.
5:00 p.m. – Arrive back from Sheffield Island to the harbor in South Norwalk.