NORWALK, Conn. — Jellyfish may not be popular with beachgoers, but they sure do draw a crowd at Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium.
Children and adults alike flocked to the “Jiggle A Jelly” special exhibit Saturday afternoon for the chance to touch a live moon jellyfish— one of the most common jellyfish species found in Long Island Sound.
“It felt really slippery and slimy,” 8-year-old Max Durand of Stratford said with a smile after gently touching the top of one of the translucent jellies. “My friends are going to be jealous when I tell them. No one I know ever touched one of these before.”
Although moon jellies do have tentacles, they don’t generally sting humans. Even if they were to accidentally sting a person, it would be harmless, because they aren’t powerful enough to penetrate human skin.
The new exhibit, which opened in January, features a tank full of at least 100 moon jellies, volunteer John Cogan said.
“We don’t know exactly how many are in there now, but we started out with about 100,” said Cogan, a senior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
Cogan and fellow exhibit volunteer Mike Dorrico, a senior at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, fielded many questions from visitors, shedding light on these interesting creatures. For example, jellies don’t have brains, or hearts, and are 95 percent water. They can also grow to the size of a dinner plate.
These and other species of jellies are bred on-site at the aquarium. After touching a jelly, many visitors stopped by the Jellyfish Culture Lab, where jellies in various stages of life are on display.
Since the exhibit opened, it’s been a big hit, Dorrico said. It’s been so popular, it may be extended past April 20, when it is scheduled to close. The exhibit is open on weekends and holidays. It will also be open the week of April 14 through 18, when many school districts in the area are on spring break.
For more information, visit the Maritime Aquarium website.