NORWALK, Conn. -- The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk has received a state-awarded grant to promote the aquarium's Hybrid Floating Classroom.
Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk, Darien) announced that the state grant will allow the aquarium to advertise and promote the program. The $30,000 Marketing Challenge Grant from the Department of Economic & Community Development and the Connecticut Office of Tourism will be matched by an equal amount of funds from the aquarium to launch a $60,000 promotional campaign in support of the aquarium and its new attraction, according to a release.
“The Maritime Aquarium is one of Connecticut’s very best tourist destinations, and their new Hybrid Floating Classroom is sure to attract new visitors from far and wide," said Duff. "Our community is fortunate to have such a great institution in our own backyard, and local businesses will profit from new visitors coming to town. I am glad the state will be helping to promote this new attraction."
Jennifer Herring, president of The Maritime Aquarium, said the South Norwalk attraction is "excited and grateful to receive the state tourism challenge grant, which will allow the Aquarium to promote the new research vessel—dubbed the 'R/V Spirit of the Sound' by Norwalk school students—to a much broader audience," according to the release.
“This new boat fits perfectly with the state’s tourism catch phrase, ’Still Revolutionary,’ because it will be the nation’s first research vessel using a unique hybrid-electric propulsion system,” Herring said. “The grant enables us to enact an aggressive marketing campaign from Maine to Maryland. We believe that boaters, fishermen and environmentalists will be interested in coming to Norwalk to experience the Spirit of the Sound, which clearly represents the future of intracoastal marine navigation and sophisticated green technology.”
The new research vessel is expected to begin running in the summer on Long Island Sound. The aquarium’s marketing campaign will include advertising in boating and maritime magazines and publications from Maine to Maryland. The aquarium expects the marketing effort to increase cruise bookings by 50 percent in the first year and a sustained 33 percent in subsequent years, and to increase overall aquarium visits by as much as 20 percent, according to the release.