Play 'Jonah' at the Aquarium

See what it’s like to stand beside – and inside – a life-sized humpback whale in the “Giant Walk-In Whale Exhibit,” part of the special fun Jan. 16-24 when The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk invites guests to “Celebrate Whales.”

This special week welcomes a 45-foot inflatable humpback whale into the Aquarium’s central Newman’s Own Hall.

“Guests can stand next to the whale to get a real sense of its size,” said Tom Frankie, the Aquarium’s exhibits manager. “Have your phone ready too, because it’s a great selfie – you and a whale!”

Guests can even play Jonah and go inside the whale to see the scale of its internal organs, including its lungs, heart and stomachs. (Yes, stomachs, plural. Most baleen whales have three stomach compartments.)

The inflatable whale was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and is modeled after Salt, one of the most famous humpback whales found off New England. First seen in the mid-1970s, Salt got her name from researchers because of the unique sprinkling of white coloration on her dorsal fin. She has been studied more than any other individual whale.

Also during “Celebrate Whales” Jan. 16-24, bonus educational stations will let Maritime Aquarium guests touch real baleen, experience first-hand how blubber keeps whales warm, and learn why whale populations still haven’t fully recovered from historic whaling practices.

The inflatable whale and educational activities during “Celebrate Whales” support the special exhibit “Animals Without Passports” open now through Jan. 2, 2017, in the Aquarium’s IMAX® Theater lobby. Also created by NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, “Animals Without Passports” features Salt in explaining why humpbacks migrate between Cape Cod and the Caribbean, and the dangers they face en route.

The two exhibits, and bonus Aquarium activities Jan. 16-24, are all free with Aquarium admission.

There’s one more way to see life-sized humpback whales at The Maritime Aquarium: in the IMAX® movie “Humpback Whales,” which offers amazing scenes of these beloved creatures on the Aquarium’s six-story screen. The film, playing daily through May 26, lets audiences join scientists studying how the whales communicate, sing, play, feed and care for their young. Show times are 11 a.m. and 2 & 4 p.m. daily. (Note: no shows Jan. 31.)

Learn more about “Celebrate Whales” Jan. 16-24 – and all the exhibits, IMAX movies and programs at The Maritime Aquarium – by going to