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Animals Up-Close

Encounters with the animals that call Mystic Aquarium home

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Accessibility at Mystic Aquarium

  • Our buildings and grounds have been designed to provide access and quality experiences for guests with disabilities and those that require accommodations.
  • We are continually working to make our facility fully accessible for guests who have mobility disabilities.  We also have several wheelchairs available on a first-come, first-serve basis that are sanitized after each use. To request a wheelchair during your visit, ask any of our friendly front gate staff, who will arrange for one to be brought to you (subject to availability). While there is no fee to use this equipment, we will hold a credit card or driver’s license until the wheelchair is returned at the conclusion of your visit. Staff are available throughout our campus to assist guests with any questions, directions, or accommodation requests.
  • Private spaces: Our Yale New Haven Health Family Lounge and First Aid Center serves as a multipurpose space for nursing, first aid, or as a sensory-friendly quiet room. This space is located within the Main Gallery; for access, visit the front office or ask any staff member. A private family and companion care restroom is located beside the Saltwater Café.
  • If visiting with a personal care assistant or home health aid, your aid receives a complimentary general admission ticket.  To reserve your tickets, please contact our admissions office at (860) 572-5955 x2 or admissions@mysticaquarium.org.
  • While pets are not allowed on campus, we welcome service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act's regulations.

Certified Sensory Inclusive Venue

To better accommodate guests with sensory needs, the Aquarium is certified as a KultureCity location. Visit our Information Booth (or ask any of our friendly staff) to borrow a free KultureCity bag.

The Aquarium also has sensory signage throughout campus that designate Quiet Areas, indicating a quieter space for guests that may benefit from taking a break and Headphone Zones, indicating that sensitive guests may want to wear ear protection due to higher noise levels.

Mystic Aquarium staff have received additional KultureCity-training to enhance the guest experience for those with sensory differences.

Social Story

A social story is a learning tool that prepares an individual for an upcoming social experience, including expected sensory input and appropriate responses. Our social story describes the Aquarium and its sensory experiences, as well as helpful resources, so that individuals with sensory differences are prepared and able to experience a safe and enjoyable visit.

We offer three versions of the social story: an original version with text and photos of the aquarium, a modified version with universal symbol support and less text for youth users, and a version with only text for those who benefit from less visual distraction.

Version 1: Original Social Story

Version 2: Modified Social Story with Universal Symbol Support 

Version 3: Social Story with Text (and fewer visual distractions) 

Accomodations for Guests Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

Our exhibits offer multiple interactive and touch experiences to provide a tactile experience for guests with low vision. Additionally, many exhibits are attended by staff who give educational talks and answer questions.

Through a partnership with CRISAccess, many habitats and exhibits offer scannable QR codes that allow guests to access audio information on their personal mobile devices.

We have sensory welcome touch bags available on a first-come, first-serve basis for those with low vision. The bags contain touch learning props with corresponding QR codes for audio information about the featured animals and their habitats. To request a sensory welcome bag, please inquire at our Information Booth or ask any friendly staff for assistance.

For more information and assistance planning your visit, please contact us at (860) 572-5955 or info@mysticaquarium.org.

Accommodations for Guests who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

For information regarding assisted listening and sign language interpretation, please contact us at (860) 572-5955 or info@mysticaquarium.org.  Requests must be made at least three weeks in advance of your date of visit.

Additional Experiences

Mystic Aquarium offers encounter programs (additional fees apply) that offer guests an up-close and personal experience with our animals and staff. For information on accomodations for our encounter programs, please contact our encounters office at (860) 572-5955 x221 or encounterprograms@mysticaquarium.org.

In addition, our education department offers a variety of programs for diverse audiencesFor more information, please contact us at (860) 572-5955 x431 or educationinfo@mysticaquarium.org.


Mystic Aquarium is working in collaboration with the Institute for Human Centered Design to find ways to provide an inclusive experience for guests throughout the Aquarium and its exhibits.

Mystic Aquarium has partnered with KultureCity to provide an enhanced and enjoyable experience for guests with sensory needs.