Hang 10 on a surfboard, sip a fruity frozen drink and carve some Spam® as The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk helps you imagine a tropical getaway March 18 & 19 during its annual “Long Island Sound Luau.” Both days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Maritime Aquarium is offering a sunny selection of fun special activities, crafts, tropical drinks and special IMAX® movies to usher out the final weekend of winter.
Among the “Long Island Sound Luau” highlights is an inflatable surfing machine featuring a rollicking surfboard, billed as “a real-life surfing experience without getting wet.” Aquarium guests can take turns testing their surfing skills on the ’board, in a manner similar to bull-riding machines. (The “wave action” will be adjusted for younger guests.) Cowabunga, dude: the surf machine is free with Aquarium admission.
Also during Luau weekend, guests can compete in Spam-Carving Contests. (Why Spam? Hawaiians have been eating Spam since the canned meat was introduced as an important staple during World War II. Still today, the island state has the largest consumption per capita of Spam.) The Spam-Carving Contests will be held at 1 & 3 p.m. both days. Aquarium guests paying $5 will receive a can of Spam, a tray and a plastic knife, and have 30 minutes to sculpt a masterful Spam creation. Contestants can work as individuals, couples, families or other teams. Aquarium staff will judge the entries, with first prize in each of the two daily competitions receiving a Maritime Aquarium membership.
Also during the Luau, Aquarium guests can decorate straws at a craft station and then use their straws to enjoy free fruity non-alcoholic frozen drinks at a Tiki Slushies Bar. Plus, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., The Maritime Aquarium will be filled with the tropical sounds of the Roylety Steel Pan Band, a local ensemble led by Jim Royle. On both days, Aquarium educators will staff a station with hands-on artifacts focusing on tropical ocean currents and the animals who use these “ocean highways” to their advantage, including certain species of whales, sea turtles and – unfortunately – invasive lionfish.
Even The Maritime Aquarium’s IMAX Theater will go tropical for the weekend, with special screenings of “Journey to the South Pacific” on the six-story screen. Narrated by Academy Award®-winner Cate Blanchett, “Journey to the South Pacific” takes audiences on a breathtaking giant-screen adventure to lush and remote West Papua, where life flourishes above and below the sea. Dive in with a young island boy on a journey of discovery to encounter whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and other iconic creatures of the sea. Show times are 11 a.m. and 1 & 3 p.m. both days. (One daytime IMAX movie is included with Aquarium admission. Also playing during “Luau” weekend is “Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean” at noon and 2 & 4 p.m.)
And, of course, “Luau” guests can linger at exhibits featuring animals found not just in Long Island Sound but also in tropical regions as well. Imagine snorkeling alongside the Aquarium’s two green sea turtles or diving over the coral reef alive with tangs, angelfish and other species in a rainbow of colors. For more details about the “Long Island Sound Luau” at the popular Connecticut family attraction, go to www.maritimeaquarium.org.