This is a sponsored post. Thank you to The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT for providing my family with complimentary admission. For more information on the sponsored post and/or affiliate link policy, please click here.
Even though the weather is much cooler, fall is still a great time to do day and weekend trips. With that in mind, my brother, nephew, and I took a day trip to the Maritime Aquarium in South Norwalk, Connecticut. South Norwalk, also known as SoNo is an eclectic neighborhood in Norwalk, Connecticut that hosts a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment for all ages. If you’re looking for a fall day trip or weekend getaway from NYC, here’s a quick guide sharing fun things to do in South Norwalk, Connecticut.
Traveling to South Norwalk from NYC on Metro-North Railroad
The best way to get to South Norwalk from NYC is by taking the Metro-North Railroad. Metro-North Railroad is a suburban commuter rail service available from NYC to the lower Hudson Valley and coastal Connecticut. I’ve been to Grand Central Terminal many times since I started taking public transportation as a teen, but this was our first time taking Metro-North Railroad. We took the New Haven line from Grand Central to the South Norwalk train station and arrived in a little over an hour.
The benefits of us taking Metro-North to Norwalk were saving time on our commute, avoiding traffic, and tolls. Much like the Long Island Railroad, fares vary based on the destination. For added convenience, Metro-North accepts e-tix on your mobile device and there are many day or weekend getaway options in the NYC, Hudson Valley, and Connecticut areas.
Visiting The Maritime Aquarium
A short walk from the South Norwalk Station is the Maritime Aquarium. The Maritime Aquarium shares a lot of information about the marine life of the Long Island Sound. Guests learn about the seawater creatures that live and migrate to Long Island Sound and how they can make conscious changes in our everyday lives to preserve it.
In addition to offering touch pools for sharks, rays, jellyfish, and more, the Maritime Aquarium also showcases land animals in their various habitats from deserts to rainforests. We even got to visit the infamous meerkats and learned how bodies of water affected their habitat. Our favorite exhibits were the Ocean Beyond the Sound, Journey with Jellies, and Living Lights. Throughout the Aquarium, there are several handwashing stations, signs encouraging guests to social distance, and caution of high-touch areas.
After our visit to the Aquarium, we went aboard the Spirit of the Sound research vessel to learn more about the marine life of the Long Island Sound. This was my nephew’s first time on a boat and we weren’t sure how he’d handle it, but he had a blast. He was even brave enough to go to the top observation deck for a better view of the Norwalk Islands. The Maritime Aquarium also offers several cruises each season including Seal Spotting and Birding, Norwalk Island Cruise, and Marine Life Encounter.
Other Fun Things to Do in South Norwalk, CT
Whether you’re visiting for a couple of hours or a few days, Norwalk has something available for all ages. Here are some fun things to do on a day trip to South Norwalk, Ct. Some of these locations may be closed for the season, have not reopened or require advanced tickets due to Covid-19 so I suggest visiting their websites, calling ahead and doing your research before venturing out.
SoNo Switch Tower Museum
The SoNo Switch Tower Museum is a restored switch tower from the late 19th Century in South Norwalk. As visitors watch the trains pass by, they learn how to operate the switch tracks. The SoNo Switch Tower Museum is open May-October on weekends from 12-5 PM and is free admission.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
A 15-20 minute walk from the Maritime Aquarium is the Stepping Stones Museum for Children. The Stepping Stones Museum is a hands-on children’s museum for ages 10 and under and offers a variety of activities for kids to learn through play.
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum was built in 1864-68 as an estate for LeGrand Lockwood, who made his fortune in banking and the railroad industry. Now a historic landmark in Connecticut, the mansion serves as a museum and provides educational programs on the material, artistic and social culture of the Victorian era.
Places to Eat in South Norwalk, Connecticut
Our day trip to South Norwalk ended with us having lunch in the SoNo Historic District. This area has tons of options for food and wine. We ate at Slice of Italy which offered a unique blend of Italian and Venezuelan dishes. Click here for other kid-friendly restaurants in South Norwalk, CT.
Our day trip to South Norwalk was short, but well spent and my nephew talked about our trip for days after. The best part was getting home just in time for his bedtime. For more ideas of fun things to do in South Norwalk, CT, you can visit their Visit CT website and Visit SoNo.