Hundreds of area children and families in need will be able to visit The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, thanks to a $10,000 grant from Bankwell.

Bankwell recently made the gift to the aquarium’s Children’s Opportunity Fund, a restricted fund that ensures The Maritime Aquarium is available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. The aquarium works with area social-service agencies to identify underserved youth and families who could benefit from the educational and entertaining aspects of the aquarium, as well as the “safe-space” it provides.

Bankwell made a similar gift in 2017.

“We thank Bankwell for its continuing support, and are excited to introduce the amazing marine world to so many children and families who otherwise would not be able to afford a visit,” said Alicia Wettenstein, director of development for The Maritime Aquarium.

David Dineen, Bankwell Executive Vice President and Head of Community Banking, said the gift is part of Bankwell’s ongoing commitment to providing value to the community.

“The experiences, encounters and enrichment opportunities at The Maritime Aquarium should be available to all children and families, and Bankwell is proud to help make that happen,” said Dineen, who also is a member of the aquarium’s Board of Trustees. “There should be no socioeconomic limits to who can be inspired by the Aquarium’s marine animals into becoming stewards for Long Island Sound.”

Bankwell is a commercial bank with nine branches and a loan production office that serve the personal and business banking and lending needs of customers throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties.

The Maritime Aquarium as one of the top 20 aquariums in the U.S. and number one in New England.