The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is getting into the holiday spirit with several attractions starting next week.
Santa Claus will be popping up at The Aquarium, including a few scuba dives in with the sharks, as part of the schedule of bonus holiday offerings in December.
• VISITS FROM SANTA on Sat., Dec. 7 and Sat., Dec. 14. The Maritime Aquarium is pleased to welcome that “right jolly old elf,” Santa Claus, for two special visits in December. Children can bring their wish lists and share them on Santa’s lap on Sat., Dec. 7 and Sat., Dec. 14. Times are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your camera to snap a keepsake memory. The Santa visits are free with Maritime Aquarium admission.
• SANTA DIVES WITH SHARKS. On select dates in December, Santa Claus will join The Maritime Aquarium’s dive team to demonstrate that sharks aren’t the blood-thirsty killers of myth. Santa will strap on scuba gear and enter the Aquarium’s 110,000-gallon “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit, which is home to 7-foot sand tiger and lemon sharks. It’s all part of the regular dive-team program, in which Aquarium visitors can see – and talk with – divers swimming in the exhibit on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:15 & 2:15 p.m.
Check the Aquarium’s website – www.maritimeaquarium.org – for specific dates when Santa can pull himself away from the North Pole and exchange his snow boots for swim fins.
Viewing the Santa shark dives is free with Aquarium admission.
• “FESTIVAL OF LIGHTHOUSES CONTEST” daily through Jan. 20. Enjoy this bonus display of imaginative handcrafted lighthouses – and then vote for your favorite – in the Aquarium’s 12th annual holiday exhibit.
Your votes will determine the winners of this exhibit, which presents 22 large model lighthouses throughout the aquarium galleries.
The lighthouses are the creations of regional artists, crafts people and just folks with an idea. Entries this year include: a lighthouse made from Twinkies®, Ho Hos® and other Hostess snack cakes; a gingerbread lighthouse; one made of tin; one made of green plastic soda bottles; a lighthouse that celebrates the children’s board game Candy Land; and a World Series lighthouse set in a baseball stadium. Four entries were built by students at The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, for their “Senior Introduction to Engineering” class.
The lighthouse that gets the most visitor votes will win $1,500. Other prizes to be announced in a special evening reception on Jan. 23 are: $750 for second place, $375 for third; $300 for fourth; $225 for fifth; and $150 for sixth.
The lighthouse exhibit is free with Aquarium admission.
For more information about Maritime Aquarium offerings in December, call (203) 852-0700 or go online to www.maritimeaquarium.org.