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“Shocking”

The Maritime Aquarium
Ranked #1 of 38 things to do in Norwalk
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Awarded the 2013 Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor. The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate Long Island Sound and protect it for future generations.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

I saw this aquarium online and figured I would go here instead of the Mystic aquarium for a change, this was a terrible mistake. The aquarium is very small, but the map online makes it look huge. I was excited to see the seal exhibit and the seal show. When we went to the exhibit, we saw 7 seals in one exhibit, the exhibit was only 25x25ft and most of it was the 10x10ft rock in the middle of it. There was not enough space for these poor animals, and half of the exhibit was outside. Their ages ranged from 28-40. Three of these seals are blind in one eye and the only "Tricks" they know are jumping up straight and kissing. When I asked one of the employees who has worked there for 11 years if the seals had a second tank they go in at night, he said no but they are not too crowded when they sleep on the rock. They only sleep on half of the rock since a divider separates the inside from outside portions. The water they were in was filthy and had things such as band-aids and wrappers floating in the tank. In the "Go Fish" portion of the aquarium, there was a Wii with one controller that had a Wii sports fishing game on it and a short film about fish in the next room. There were loose wires hanging from the ceiling with the caps visible, this would never pass an inspection due to the harm it could cause if one of the children reached up and grabbed it. The otter exhibit was also way too small for the two otters living in it. Otters are supposed to have open air and be able to breath, but these poor guys are enclosed in a tank half filled with water like their turtles! The shark tank give the illusion that it is big, but with 4 inch thick glass, it just distorts the view. there are 10+ large sharks in that tank along with other large fish, but it is half the size needed for those animals. The meerkat exhibit was the only one kept decent, which i ironic because they are not even water animals whatsoever. Some jellyfish had open tanks so small children could reach right in and grab one if they really wanted to. Somebody from the state's animal police and health department need to be sent there immediately. This aquarium just upset us and needs to be shut down.

5  Thank Johnson3345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Debbie T, Manager at The Maritime Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded August 20, 2013

Thank you for taking time to review the aquarium. We welcome all feedback. We take it seriously. We love our visitors and animals. We were shocked by your review, especially when the great preponderance of reviews here on Trip Advisor is glowingly positive. To address your specific concerns, maintenance issues you raised in the Go Fish exhibit -- the Wii game and wires – were addressed by our maintenance staff immediately.
Secondly, it is a common misperception to assume that animals think like people. Regarding animal care and size of exhibits, you should know that The Maritime Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. We meet the highest standards for animal care and visitor safety. Of 2,795 animal exhibitors in North America licensed by the USDA, only 222 – less than eight percent – are currently accredited by AZA. Although it may appear that way to some folks, our seals are not at all crowded. In fact, if you’ve seen them in nature, they often pile together when they haul out on rocks. During the summer our seals are molting and more commonly are out on the rocks. Our seals do not necessarily “sleep” in the same way a person does and do not need to be out on the rocks. One seal, “Orange”, has a habit of sleeping underwater, upside down, wedging her body into a crevice in the rockwork. Did you know seals can “sleep” underwater?
Regarding the seal eye problem observation, this is not uncommon in nature and in aquariums. We have a program of removing seal cataracts. Aquariums are conducting research, our aquarium participates, to see if the problem can be ameliorated. How much it affects the seals is not known. Seals that appear to be blind have successfully raised pups from year to year, a measure of health and vigor.
We do work to keep the seal pool clean. Because it is filled with salt water in an open-air environment, water splashing and then drying does spot the acrylic and glass windows. The pool is cleaned multiple times per day. We apologize if you saw something floating on the water. Anything you saw floating in the pool could not have been there for long. We make every effort to keep a close eye on that very condition. To protect our seals from ingesting anything our volunteer staff watches that water diligently.
Next, while we would like a larger otter exhibit, the current one meets standards. We provide lots of enrichment activities for the otters. An otter’s natural habitat allows it to be in and out of water, which is why our exhibit is filled the way you see it. In our Open Ocean tank, thick glass, acrylic actually, is required to hold in the 110,000 gallons of water. It is especially made to be optically true and does not distort the view of the exhibit’s contents. Fish density in that tank is also well within standards. There are eight sharks (seven sand tiger and one lemon), not “10+.” None of the sharks exhibit health concerns, some for 20 years now.
Finally, regarding the jellyfish in our culture lab, a child would have to climb over the wall and this has never been an issue.
I would like to invite you to come back and see the Aquarium through our eyes. I can offer you a personal, guided tour and a chance to meet one of our Aquarists who can describe our animal care protocol. If you’re willing, please contact me: Chris Loynd, Marketing Director, cloynd@maritimeaquarium.org.

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Reviewed August 4, 2013 via mobile

I was really disappointed of how the tanks were maintained when you first walk in you see the seal tank with dirty glass and the bottom of the seal tank full of poop the staff member said it was just cleaned which was a joke. I visited this place today and will submit a real photo of what this over price place looks like once tanks clean was the touch tank and the shark tank other then that nothing impressive , go to mystic

2  Thank dustyplains
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Debbie T, Manager at The Maritime Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded August 20, 2013

Thank you for the constructive feedback, we appreciate that you took the time to review the aquarium. To address the tank maintenance issue, we are reviewing our cleaning schedule for the seal tank. They are cleaned every day, multiple times a day, and are kept as smudge-free as possible. Regarding your photo, the octopus must be kept in cold water, which reacts with the warm summer air and produces a significant amount of condensation. We are currently fundraising for a new tank to alleviate this problem.

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Reviewed July 30, 2013 via mobile

Everyone loves this place but I think it's only good, not great. My main complaint is that it's always crowded, even when it's not- it feels cramped. I have been here so many times that I might have worn out my welcome- it just doesn't do it for me. I also think it's overpriced and many of the exhibits are on the small size. My 4 year old and 19 month old enjoyed it, but they weren't impressed with anything but the highlights. We loved the special exhibit- feeding parakeets (but $3 for a small cup of nectar is a ripoff!). Also loved the touch tanks, though my 19 month old was too short and young to get the full experience at the ray tank. We all loved the meerkats and river otters. Sharks and seals were also visited more than once, but octopus, jelly fish, frogs and sea turtles remain some of our favorites. Plan on at least 3 hours here and bring your wallet- parking was $7; everything here is overpriced. However I still have to recommend it as its the only aquarium in the westchester county area.

Thank Krbfleming
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

When it comes to aquariums in Connecticut every one mentions Mystic, but The Maritime Aquarium is excellent as well. I took my grandchildren (ages 6 and 11) they loved it. This attraction continues to expand and add areas of interest including two areas where children can touch the manta rays, crabs, etc. They also have seasonal exhibitions which in June featured a parakeet display in a tent outside the main building. The aquariums are clean and well lit and hold every thing from sharks to local fish. The place is clean and well managed. The Maritime Aquarium also has a large IMAX theater with a number of film attractions. In July and August the summer camps with buses full of kids invade and during those months I would recommend coming in the afternoon. The gift shop is full of inexpensive momentos for children.

Thank cosmo144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Debbie T, Manager at The Maritime Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded August 20, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to give us a positive review! Not only do we love to hear that our visitors have had a great experience at the aquarium, we rely on reviewers like you to provide trusted recommendations to our future visitors. Glad to see that you enjoyed the trip and we hope to see you back again soon!

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Reviewed July 29, 2013

we have been members of the Maritime Aquarium since it opened. We used to visit when our children were young, and now we take our grandchildren. Watching the feeding of the seals is a must, as are the special exhibits. There is something to interest everyone - adults as well as children.

Thank viajera923
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Debbie T, Manager at The Maritime Aquarium, responded to this reviewResponded August 20, 2013

Thanks for making The Maritime Aquarium a family tradition! We appreciate you taking the time to write us a positive review as a destination that all ages can enjoy.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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