Maritime Aquarium; Norwalk Seaport Association; Shakespeare on the Sound

A previous Docktails event. (Norwalk Seaport Association)

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk announcements for you:

  • ARPA helps Maritime Aquarium present interactive marsh exhibit
  • Maritime Aquarium upgrades food, ticketing
  • Norwalk Seaport Association plans ‘Docktails and Oysters’
  • Shakespeare on the Sound


Attracting visitors with a new exhibit

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk expects to unveil an elaborate interactive multimedia salt marsh exhibit in summer 2023, thanks to a $523,822 American Rescue Plan ACT (ARPA) grant awarded by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.  According to a news release, the exhibit will have two touch tanks housing live sturgeon, crabs, mussels and other animals, plus a historical display, “Marshing Through Time.”  Accompanying features will include the rollout of new STEM-based educational programs to be offered live and online.

The Rescue Plan grant will be augmented by $331,558 of Aquarium-sourced funds, including $25k from Connecticut Humanities for “Marshing Through Time” and part of a bequest by the late Charles J. Toth of Norwalk.

“This exhibit will attract additional visitors to the Aquarium and Norwalk, while helping them understand the historic, cultural, social and ecological importance of Connecticut’s salt marshes, thus inspiring actions to protect these vital shoreline habitats,” said Aquarium CEO Jason Patlis, who acknowledged support from Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and his team, Gov. Lamont and his team, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich), State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, and the Connecticut Department of Economic Community Development.

“Just as the new state-of-the-art exhibit and its related educational and online programs will draw thousands of visitors who will contribute to the Aquarium’s and Norwalk’s economic resilience, healthy salt marshes are essential to the coastal resilience of shoreline communities and the ecological resilience of Long Island Sound,” Patlis said. “This interactive multi-dimensional exhibit will give Aquarium guests an important understanding of the inextricable link between our natural world and our culture and history, while also challenging them to consider what steps we can take – individually and collectively – to restore our marshlands to a healthy ecosystem.”


Upgraded guest experience at Aquarium

With SSA Group now operating the Maritime Aquarium’s Cascade Café and walk-up Sound Bites Café, guests can choose from a menu of sustainably sourced, made-to-order foods, as well as new table service in the main cafeteria with easy mobile ordering, the Aquarium states. (Contributed)

Food selections just got tastier, and ticketing just got easier at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, according to a news release announcing two new Aquarium partnerships expected to “improve the interactions that occur before, after and in between the memorable animal encounters.”

A new menu of “sustainably sourced, made-to-order foods served through easy mobile ordering,” plus new main cafeteria table service, is now offered at the Aquarium by SSA Group, a family-owned business said to service more than 75 U.S. aquariums, zoos, museums and other cultural attractions.

Newly streamlined Aquarium ticketing, membership management, and donations will be managed by Tessitura, an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and cultural ticketing company used by more than 750 organizations including Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and the Westport Country Playhouse.

“These new partnerships with Tessitura and SSA Group reflect our commitment to our guests,” Aquarium CEO Jason Patlis said.  “We want to ensure our guests have a world-class experience not just when they arrive at the Aquarium and enjoy our amazing exhibits, but when they first see us online, visit our website, buy their tickets, order a meal, or make a donation.  These partnerships also help us deliver on our mission to inspire people to appreciate and protect Long Island Sound and the ocean.  Through Tessitura and the new customer interface, we become more accessible and can more easily accommodate special needs. Through SSA Group and our new café offerings and catering, we are not only providing sustainable, locally sourced food options, but we are also improving all aspects of the café, including purchasing, preparation, service, disposal, and recycling to ensure a more sustainable operation. And, on top of that, the food is absolutely delicious!”

SSA Regional Vice President Eli Grill said, “We’re bringing some innovative new enhancements we know guests will be excited to see.  From sustainable seafood options to partnerships with local brands like Longford Ice Cream, Deep River Snacks and LesserEvil, we’re bringing fresh new flavors to the Cascade Café and Sound Bites Cafe. We’re also integrating new ordering styles like mobile ordering to allow guests to skip the line and order from their phone when they’re ready. The Maritime Aquarium is a staple to the local community and our team can’t wait to support their guests and their mission.”

Tessitura Chief Growth Officer Mara Hazzard-Wallingford said, “We are thrilled to welcome The Maritime Aquarium to the Tessitura community.  We look forward to helping them improve their customer experience and increase their efficiency.”


A previous Docktails event. (Norwalk Seaport Association)

Shellfish offered at mock luau

The freshest of oysters will be available at the Norwalk Seaport Association’s Docktails event, according to a news release. (Norwalk Seaport Association)

An unlimited clam and oyster bar will highlight the annual “Docktails and Oysters” party planned for Saturday June 4 from 5 until 7 p.m. on the dock at Norm Bloom and Son, 7 Edgewater Place in Norwalk, according to a news release from event sponsor Norwalk Seaport Association.  Appetizers accompanying the freshly-shucked shellfish will include citrus grilled shrimp, house-smoked pork sliders, blackened swordfish tacos with pineapple salsa, vegetable spring rolls, and black bean and corn salad.

The luau-themed party will be “a chance for folks to get to know what the Seaport Association does, have a little fun, and experience an authentic oyster farm,” Seaport Association President Mike Reilly said.

Hawaiian shirts are suggested to go with the tropical cocktails and “live beach music.”

Tickets are at 2022 Docktails & Oysters Tickets, Sat, Jun 4, 2022 at 5 p.m.| Eventbrite.  They cost cost $75 online, or $85 at the door.

Norwalk Seaport Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  Their website is at http://www.seaport.org.  You can call them at (203) 838-9444.


King John

England battles France while British royal family members collide with one another in Shakespeare on the Sound’s new staging of King John, directed by Claire Shannon Kelly, at 7 p.m. Wednesday June 15 through Sunday July 3 in Pinkney Park, Rowayton, according to a news release.    One of only two of the Bard’s plays entirely written in verse (Richard II is the other), King John is Shakespeare on the Sound’s 26th outdoor production.  A 30-minute kids’ version will be performed for free at 5 p.m. on show days.

Get tickets and full info at  Performing Arts | Shakespeare on the Sound | United States


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