NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH)– It didn’t take long for the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium to replace their digital IMAX theatre that closed last month. The tradition of the Maritime Aquarium Theatre now a reality after a state and local partnership saved a vital part of Norwalk’s economy.
“The Maritime Aquarium is the second largest attraction in Connecticut, the largest in Fairfield county, so the officials realize to take away our IMAX theatre and to endanger our seal exhibit would be a threat to our existence as an aquarium,” said Dave Sigworth, Associate Director of Communications, Maritime Aquarium.
Dave Sigworth with the Maritime Aquarium says it all dates back to the debacle over the Metro-North and Amtrak line that runs over the Norwalk River. Both commuter lines travel on what’s known as the walk bridge – now in desperate need of re-construction.
“Because of the walk bridge reconstruction project that has to happen to repair or replace a train bridge that goes over the Norwalk River, it cuts between the historical aquarium building and our IMAX theatre,” said Sigworth.
To do the re-construction of the 125 year old bridge, it was decided back in January to tear the old IMAX theatre down. Fast forward a month later – the change presents a new chapter for the aquarium marked by a ribbon cutting with the governor. And it’s all thanks to a lump some agreement between the state and the city of Norwalk.
“It’s called a functional replacement agreement between the city of Norwalk and state of Connecticut that gave us 40 million dollars which is part of the walk bridge replacement project to help keep us whole,” said Sigworth.
The 40 million dollar agreement allows the aquarium to not only build a the new 4D theatre with all of the bells and whistles, but it created the chance to build an indoor seal exhibit, an exhibit that was once indoor and outdoor. The governor says keeping the doors open there is important.
“We urge you to take this extraordinary opportunity for our kids and for our state, use some of these resources to really make a difference and it starts right here at the aquarium,” said Gov. Ned Lamont/ (D) Connecticut. “This facility is really important for the state, it’s important obviously in terms of tourism, it’s one more reason people come to Connecticut.”