So, you may have survived Thanksgiving vacation unscathed. But that’s a short one. You still have the longer December break looming in front of you, and February vacation after that, and spring break after that, and so on until the longest one of them all, summer.
This is why, if you have kids, you need to put the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Connecticut, in your GPS right away.
Sure, it may be a bit of a drive. And you may not have heard much about Stepping Stones in recent months. That’s because it’s been closed for the past three-plus months as the final phrase of a gigantic renovation has been taking place.
But now the museum is open for business again. (I learned of the reopening via a press release that came to me in the form of an old-school ViewMaster—how cool is that?) So, now that the construction is done, what’s new?
*Little mad scientists can tool around, chuckling manically in the new Energy Lab. The “wet and windy” environment teaches kids about the science behind energy sources. This is fitting, because the museum has now qualified for LEED Gold Certification, using solar panels, a wind turbine, and recycled materials throughout.
*Everyone likes to stay plugged in, and Stepping Stones does, too. That’s why it’s added a new, cutting-edge Multimedia Gallery. “Simultaneously a theater, technology lab, and broadcast-ready environment, the Multimedia Gallery includes a thirty-three-foot-by-twelve-foot immersive high-definition screen, interactive floor projection, video-conferencing technology, and a state-of-the-art camera, lighting, and sound system,” the museum reports. Sounds better than a Wii, if you ask me.
*Outside, in addition to the recent Celebration Courtyard, there will be an enchanted community garden surrounded by musical sculptures. Yes, you can make your kids go outside—and they’ll like it!
*Other improvements include an area for toddlers, a parent/teacher resource center, a new art studio, an expanded café, and an expanded gift shop.
Think it’ll be helpful in getting your family through the next month? Here are some events the museum has going on in December:
Thursday, December 2
Courtyard Lighting Celebration & Get Into It! FREE
5 pm to 8 pm
The Celebration Courtyard is decorated and lit for the holiday season, and free museum admission begins at 5 pm.
Friday, December 10
Once Upon an Author
Patricia Hubbell, featured in the “Local Author Showcase,” hosts a special Tot Town storytime.
Saturday, December 18
The Nutcracker Fable
In this comical reader’s theater presentation, children will learn about Princess Pirlipat, the Queen of the Mice, and the story which explains how Nutcrackers came to be and why they look the way they do.
Sunday December 26 – Friday, December 31
Celebrate Poland – Around the World
11 am and 2 pm
Sunday, December 26 -City of Zamosc
Kids can discover the beauty of this historical city in Poland and construct their own models.
Monday, December 27 -Ligawka
Children become Polish musicians by crafting traditional longhorns.
Tuesday, December 28 – Cooking Corner – Pierogi
Families fill fresh dough with cheese and potatoes, and enjoy the savory staple food of Poland.
Wednesday, December 29 – Storytelling: “The Three Princesses of Whiteland”
Storytellers recount a classic Polish fairy tale
Thursday, December 30 – Wycinanki
Participants design their own versions of these decorative paper cut-outs—often regarded as the most beautiful in the world.
Friday, December 30 – Marie Curie
Kids can learn about Marie Curie, who was born in Poland.
And, if that doesn’t tire them out, you can also take them to the Maritime Aquarium, which is also in Norwalk.
Photo credit: Thomas McGovern