Norwalk – One of the most popular attractions at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is getting even better. A new, improved touch tank opened on June 16 with a design that enhances visitors intimate interactions with intertidal animals. More than simply an entertaining experience, the Aquarium’s new touch tank is an informal education tool that helps visitors experience the intertidal zone (the area between the low -and high-tide marks) and connect with Long Island Sound’s marine life, inspiring them to act for its healthy future.
The new touch tank is made possible entirely by donations by the Aquarium’s dedicated staff of volunteers.
Rockwork seems to rise organically out of the floor, creating a simulated Long Island Sound intertidal habitat (and providing steps for younger and smaller visitors to peer down into the tank). And a variety of animals like crabs, horseshoe crabs, whelks and sea stars can easily be seen through the new touch tank’s clear acrylic front. Each animal possesses unique adaptations to help it survive in this extreme habitat in the wild where it is alternately wet and dry and pounded by waves.
The touch tank is where there are so many enduring moments of discovery for kids, said Donna Schlegel, director of Volunteers and Community Services, whose volunteer staff interprets the touch tank and other stations throughout The Maritime Aquarium. In the most recent survey of our visitors and members, it was cited as the place where more EEh-ha! moments occur.
The new Touch Tank’s acrylic sides and life-support system allow the animals to remain on display all the time, providing more opportunities for visitors to observe and learn. At night, they’ll be safe under a closed clear lid.
For more information, call The Maritime Aquarium at 203-852-0700 or visit www.maritimeaquarium.org.