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THING 71 - Behind the Scenes at the Norwalk Aquarium

For those of you who aren't back at work and aren't scared to leave your home -(I'd recommend calling to make sure they are open)"Holidays or no, the aquatic denizens of Norwalk's Maritime Aquarium don't care much about celebrating. But they do care about getting fed. On two days, Dec. 27 and 30, visitors can see how the Aquarium manages its very large daily responsibility for a wide variety of animals. On those two days, take a special backstage tour to observe the sharks, seals, river otters and other animals being fed. You might get the chance to feed the sharks or hand-feed the rays. (Watch those fingers!)The "Behind-the-Scenes Tour" starts at 8:15 a.m. That's when participants meet up with animal-husbandry staff who'll outline the various needs of the Aquarium's animals. Each has special requirements for meals, and the conditions of its environment, including temperature and saltiness of their water.At the Aquarium's "fish kitchen," where 18 tons of fish food is prepared each year, you'll see what's on the day's menu. When you get to the 110,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit, where 7-foot sand tiger sharks eagerly await their repast, you can toss in some capelin and watch how fast they gobble it up.The jellyfish "nursery" and checking in with the cownose rays are also on the tour schedule. Participants must be at least 10 years old and those under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. The tour costs $32.50  and includes Aquarium admission at 10 a.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206. For more information, visit the Aquarium's website."

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