Beardsley Zoo to Host Asian New Year Celebration !

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, the state’s only zoo, invites families to celebrate Asian New Year on Saturday, February 13, 2016 from Noon to 3:00 p.m. The Monkey is one of the most revered years of the Chinese New Year calendar, and those born under the sign are regarded as smart, clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth. They are lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile. Historically, during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC), the dignified Chinese official title of marquis was pronounced ‘Hou’, the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. The animal was thereby bestowed with an auspicious meaning.

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At the Beardsley Zoo Year of the Monkey festivities will feature activities for the entire family including a special children’s parade around the Zoo grounds, story time, crafts, and many more fun activities. Don’t miss a visit to the colorful indoor Carousel. Here you will meet some of the Zoo’s special lizard guests and be invited to partake in the festivities. A special “Zoo” highlight is the Rochan, a visiting Red Panda, has been charming Zoo guests since his arrival in October. The Zoo is currently raising funds to give Rochan a permanent home and have secured $25,000 in a matching pledge, so every dollar given will be matched dollar for dollar to help make Rochan’s new home a reality. The good news is the zoo has 98% of the match raised!

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The snow date for this event is February 20, 2016. For more area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo celebrates its 94th birthday in 2016 and is closer than you think! Connecticut’s only zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Visitors won’t want to miss our Amur (Siberian) tigers, Brazilian ocelots, Red wolves, and Golden Lion tamarins. Other highlights include our South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep, and other barnyard critters, plus the hoofstock trail featuring bison, pronghorn, deer, and more. Visitors can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful carousel. For more information, visit http://www.beardsleyzoo.org.

February Fun at Flanders Nature Center

Flanders Nature Center located on 5 Church Hill Road in Woodbury Connecticut is offering a month of wild life fun in February. On February 14 for example, the American Bald Eagle will be discussed. The Bald Eagle is our national symbol, and the subject of strong conservation efforts in Connecticut. As their numbers here are increasing, how much do you know about the Bald Eagle?

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Join Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Master Wildlife Conservationist Peggy Zabawar to learn more about the Bald Eagle’s size, history, what it eats and how it lives, the banding efforts here in CT and nationally as well as ‘Bald Eagle etiquette’. The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

On February 24 at 7 p.m. join the staff at Flanders for a lecture on Connecticut’s wild rabbits. Lisa Wahle, of the CT DEEP Wildlife Division, will discuss state initiatives to create young forest/shrub land habitat and ways you can help New England Cottontails to survive. Participants will learn about funding opportunities for private landowners to create habitat and facts to keep
Eastern Cottontails around for future generations. The cost is $5 for members and $10 for non members.

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Gerri Griswold, a CT DEEP Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator wil be on hand on February 27 at 11 a.m. to discuss the North American porcupine. This is one of one of Connecticut’s most fascinating species and the world’s third largest rodent! Gerri Griswold will be bringing along a live porcupine that is under her department’s care for participants to meet. The cost is $15 for members and $18 for non-members.

The month of February concludes with an animal tracking workshop on February 27 at 2 p.m. This workshop will help participants identify what passes your house when you are not around! Participants will learn about the fascinating world of animal tracking from Connecticut Conservation Ambassador Michael Grady. Participants will be traversing the trails at Flanders Van Vleck Sanctuary to search for and identify tracks, signs and scat of the local wildlife. It is advised to dress warmly for this interesting outdoor activity.
For more information on Flanders Nature Center and to sign up for these programs visit www.flandersnaturecenter.org. For more area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Fabulous Finds at the Pequot Library

The Pequot Library located on 720 Pequot Road in Southport has announced a new program called Fantastic Finds. This is a free monthly program is open to the public beginning Friday, February 5, 2016, at 10:45am. Fabulous Finds will take place on the first Friday of every month and up to five items from Pequot Library’s treasure trove of rare books and manuscripts will be revealed and opened from a sealed box! The materials will be discussed and questions answered. The public will have a unique opportunity to experience antique books and items and to learn why they are significant in this day of digital communication. Materials may be thematic or seasonal, and will always be engaging. These stimulating programs are held in the Reading Room.

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Each program will be led by Pequot Library’s Executive Director Heather-Marie Montilla.These Collections include a vast array of more than 30,000 items and, together, they form an incredibly rich and vibrant portrait of the literary, religious, political, military, musical, and cultural life of America and the world. This is one of the most important, concentrated, and impeccably selected set of collections of its kind in the country.
Save the dates for upcoming Fantastic Finds 2016: Friday, March 4, 2016; Friday, April 1, 2016; Friday, May, 6, 2016, all at 10:45am. Images in photographs are samples from Pequot Library’s Special Collections and may not be included in the items revealed.

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Please visit www.pequotlibrary.org to learn more about this vibrant library, educational, arts and cultural institution. All classes and programs are open to everyone. For information: (203) 259-0346 ext. 15.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Winter Wonderland Ball at Stepping Stones Museum for Children Feb. 6

Calling all little princes and princesses! Stepping Stones is rolling out the red carpet as the museum transforms into a snow-kissed wonderland for its sixth annual Winter Wonderland Children’s Ball on Saturday, February 6 from 6:00 – 8:30 pm.

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Children are invited to dress up in their party best for a memorable evening of fun and entertainment. Moms and Dads, sons and daughters will be treated like the princes and princesses that they are as they enjoy a magical wintry celebration featuring dancing and full access to all the exhibits in the museum.

Families will enjoy posing for the paparazzi as they arrive, learning ballroom moves from the experts and making wonderful winter crafts.
Be sure you bring your camera. Photo opportunities abound as we celebrate the magic and wonder of the season amidst a whimsical winter backdrop of a lighted courtyard, a play-sized igloo, a life-sized snow globe, spectacular winter murals, snowflake-adorned galleries and a myriad of snow people. Bring your appetite as well. The Stepping Stones Cafe will be open for purchases of their healthy fare.

Tickets for this unforgettable evening for the whole family cost $10 per person for museum members and $15 per person for non-members. Children under the age of one will be admitted for free. Winter Wonderland Children’s Ball tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Registration is required. Space is limited, so register early. Call 203 899 0606, ext. 264 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org

About Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Conn., is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501(c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. Located on five acres in Mathews Park, the LEED Gold certified museum encompasses five hands-on galleries, state-of-the-art Multimedia Gallery, Family and Teacher Resource Center, cafe and retail store. Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Avenue, exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are Monday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, call 203 899 0606 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.

For area information on Fairfield County www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Greenwich Choices Exhibit at the Greenwich Historical Society

Every town has a story to tell, and Greenwich’s is 375 fascinating years old. Greenwich Choices: 50 Objects That Illustrate Our History explores defining moments in the town’s growth and development through objects drawn from the collections of the Greenwich Historical Society. A shirt worn by Obadiah Mead, shot by a loyalist “cowboy,” connects visitors with the American Revolution.

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This special exhibit at the Greenwich Historical Society, co curated by Karen Frederick, Christopher Shields and Anna Greco will be on display at the Greenwich History Museum located on 39 Strickland Road in Cos Cob through February 28.

A bill of sale for a three-year-old slave boy containing an emancipation clause speaks to changing attitudes toward slavery. Records from local manufacturing plants tell a tale of early entrepreneurs and opportunities for immigrant workers. A congresswoman’s scrapbooks on the construction of the Merritt Parkway reflect changes that altered both the landscape and the movements of town residents.

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All 50 objects reflect transformational moments in Greenwich’s religious, social, economic, industrial, political or artistic lives and symbolize choices made by generations of residents that shaped today’s community. Curated by Karen Frederick and Anna Greco, the exhibition also features responses to the objects by local high school students.

For more area information on what to see and do visit www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Torrington Historical Society Celebrates Black History Month with Venture Smith

The Torrington Historical Society and the Documenting Venture Smith Project are pleased to present the exhibit “Making Freedom, The Life of Venture Smith: In His Own Voice” . “Making Freedom”, which is being presented in conjunction with Black History Month, tells the story of Venture Smith, an African who was captured and brought to New England in the 1730s. Smith endured decades of slavery before purchasing his freedom and the freedom of his family. “Making Freedom” will be on view in the Torrington Historical Society Carriage House, 192 Main Street, from Wednesday, February 3rd through Saturday, February 27th. Hours for the exhibit are Wednesday through Saturday from 12-4 p.m. Admission is free.

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This exhibition draws from Venture Smith’s autobiography, A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa, which was published in 1798. Additional research on Venture’s life was done by Chandler B. Saint, the author of Making Freedom: The Extraordinary Life of Venture Smith, and Robert P. Forbes, author of The Missouri Compromise and its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America. This exhibition is also currently on view at the Hartford Public Library and in the future, will be exhibited at other venues, including the Smithsonian Institution.

Born in Africa as Broteer Furro, enslaved, and taken as a youth to be sold at Anomabo on the coast of what today is Ghana, the young African was bought in 1739 as a ‘venture’ by a Rhode Island slave ship’s officer, who was the son of one of the merchant dynasties of that region. Taken captive to New England, Venture spent the next quarter-century in slavery under three different owners before buying his freedom in 1765 from his final owner, Col. Oliver Smith, from whom he took his surname. After almost five years as master and slave, Oliver and Venture collaborated in a business that endured for over thirty years. The former owner and slave became equals in commerce. Venture eventually established a substantial property on the Connecticut River in Haddam Neck where he lived with his family until his death in 1805.

Making Freedom” traces the life of Venture Smith from his childhood in Africa, his enslavement and the brutal Middle Passage to the West Indies and Rhode Island, his more than two decades in slavery in New England and Long Island, and his long struggle to regain his freedom.

This exhibition, produced by the Documenting Venture Smith Project, is an international effort founded in 2005 and designed to bring public attention to the life of Venture Smith, to the slave trade of the Atlantic world, and to the continuing tragedy of contemporary slavery.

In addition to Saint, who is president of the Beecher House Center for the Study of Equal Rights in Torrington, and Forbes, the project is co-directed by David Richardson, former director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull in Great Britain.

While Venture Smith was clearly an extraordinary individual, his experiences are remarkably representative of almost every aspect of the Atlantic slave system, despite the fact that he never traveled further south than the south shore of Long Island.

For more area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Colonial Cooking for Kids @ The Wilton Historical Society

The Wilton Historical Society is offering a new monthly program perfect for kids that like to cook. The workshop, Colonial Cookery is perfect for kids in grades 4 – 8 and they take place on January 30, February 27, March 19 and April 30.

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Beginning Saturday, January 30, youth in grades 4 – 8 can attend a Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids workshop at the Wilton Historical Society. On the last Saturday of each month, a class will gather from 11:00 – 12:30 to learn and follow a Colonial-era “reciept” (recipe) from the Connecticut region. While the food cooks, they will also hear about Colonial manners, morals, and way of life. The topic of the discussion will be appropriate to the dish being prepared (for example, a discussion of Wilton’s farming legacy while cooking a vegetable dish).

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The workshops will feature relatively simple dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients. The recipes used will be adapted for modern kitchens. This is done for safety reasons, and also so that the attendees can recreate their meals at home. All participants will sample their own cooking and take home recipe cards – as well as any leftovers! The children will learn how a Colonial kitchen would have operated, in order to appreciate the modern conveniences we take for granted. During the first session, the children will make Bannock Cakes.

The cost of the class is $15 for members and $25 for non members. To register visit info@wiltonhistorical.org or call 203-762-7257.

For more area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com