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Animals Up-Close

Encounters with the animals that call Mystic Aquarium home

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Discover Long Island Sound

Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the area’s local estuary with our Discover Long Island Sound experience. This interactive exhibit offers a comprehensive look into Connecticut's largest and most significant natural resource. Discover the distinctive and captivating attributes of the area through an engaging digital display and learn about the functionality of watersheds with our 12-foot-long hands-on water table model.

Encounter and touch some of the region's local species, including spider crabs, hermit crabs, periwinkle snails, whelks, purple sea urchins, and Forbes' sea stars. Additionally, the exhibit offers a non-touch habitat where you can see local fish species such as the scup and oyster toad fish, along with two exceptional American lobsters - one blue and one yellow. The likelihood of meeting these rare lobsters in the wild is incredibly slim, with odds of 1 in 2 million for the blue and 1 in 30 million for the yellow.


Several species of sharks and rays swim in the heart of our Main Gallery, offering a unique touch habitat that allows for hands-on exposure to these incredible animals in a safe and non-threatening environment. Our knowledgeable staff is always on hand to share fascinating facts about these and other shark species, as well as answer any questions you may have.

In addition to the opportunity to interact with these amazing creatures, our touch habitat also aims to educate visitors on the importance of conservation. With 25% of all shark and ray species threatened with extinction, it's critical that we take special measures to protect them and ensure the health of our oceans.

Some of the sharks and rays you can get hands-on with include the white spotted bamboo shark, black spotted bamboo shark, epaulette shark, yellow stingray, bluespotted ribbontail ray, and zebra shark. Don't miss your chance to experience the wonder of these incredible creatures up close and personal.

Ray Touch Tank

Our Ray Touch Tank is a unique experience that allows visitors to interact with cownose rays in a safe and controlled environment. These graceful creatures have flat bodies, long tails, and distinctive snouts that resemble a cow’s nose.

Learn about the biology and behavior of rays from our knowledgeable staff, as they teach you how to touch the rays gently and avoid their sensitive spots. And all this while they answer any questions you may have.

Our Ray Touch Tank is suitable for all ages and levels of experience. And, to make the experience even more memorable, you can buy food and feed the rays! Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned marine enthusiast, you'll find something to enjoy and appreciate.

Covanta Cove

Covanta Cove is the Aquarium version of the claw game with the prize being a valuable lesson. Use the joystick-controlled crane to move marine debris into the trash bin, and “clean” up the habitat for the fish that live there. Fish you’ll see include bluegills, white and yellow perch, golden shiners, black crappies, and pumpkinseeds. You may be tempted to try to catch them, but they’re far too wily to get snagged by the claw. As you play, you’ll learn how collected marine debris can be turned into clean energy.

Touch of the Tropics

Step into a world of wonder and excitement as you dip your fingers into our touch habitat filled with tropical reef invertebrates. Experience the thrill of touching live creatures like cleaner shrimp, sea stars, urchins, and hermit crabs.

Our touch tank is the perfect way to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. Learn about their unique adaptations, behaviors, and habitat as our knowledgeable staff guide you through this interactive experience. You may even be lucky enough to get a manicure from one of the skunk cleaner shrimp in the habitat – they love to clean cuticles!

With a variety of creatures to explore, our touch tank is a must-see for all ages. Come discover the wonders of the tropical reef and create unforgettable memories with your family and friends.