Surfing Machine, Spam-Carving Contests & More Tropical Fun during “Long Island Sound Luau” Feb 20 & 21 at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Hang 10 on a surfboard, sip a fruity frozen drink and carve some Spam® – yes, carve some Spam – as The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk helps you imagine a tropical getaway Feb. 20 and 21 during a “Long Island Sound Luau.”

Both days, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Maritime Aquarium is offering a sunny selection of fun special activities, crafts, tropical drinks and special IMAX® movies sure to melt midwinter’s chill.

“This fun weekend is the opportunity to enjoy a taste of the tropics in the dead of winter,” said Chris Loynd, the Aquarium’s marketing director. “Some offerings may reflect a true Hawaiian luau, but don’t be surprised to find Caribbean elements as well. The main intent of our ‘Long Island Sound Luau’ is to have fun and feel like you got away to somewhere warm at least for a little while.”

Among the 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. It’s free with Aquarium admission.

Also during the weekend Luau, 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.)

Spam-Carving Contests will be held at 1:00 & 3:00 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 $100 and a Maritime Aquarium membership.

Also during the Luau, Aquarium guests can:

• decorate and personalize a lei at a craft station.

• enjoy frozen fruity non-alcoholic drinks.

• and stop by stations staffed by Aquarium educators to learn about 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 1:00, 3:00 & 4:00 p.m. both days.

Plus, Aquarium guests also can pet or hold a live bearded dragon during “Meet the Dragon” encounters, offered daily Feb. 13-21. Times are 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 to 2:00 and 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. These memorable interactions star one of the nine species of dragons displayed in the exhibit, “Dragons! Real or Myth?” An Aquarium educator will assist with the encounters, and also answer questions about bearded dragons’ natural history and their requirements as pets.

Get all the details about the “Long Island Sound Luau” online at the Maritime Aquarium website


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