New Exhibit Bullets, Bonds, and Butter: Wilton Responds to War, 1776 – 2006

The Wilton Historical Society has a new exhibit that is running through September 14, 2019, called Bullets, Bonds and Butter: Wilton Responds to War, 1776-2006.

This new exhibition at the Wilton Historical Society, located on 224 Danbury Road in Wilton commemorates the contributions of both the soldiers and the townsfolk who have answered the call of war. While troops fought on the front lines, back at home, Wilton residents of all ages were engaged in supporting the war effort in ways both large and small. Rationing, writing letters to the troops, knitting socks and making bandages, buying war bonds, manufacturing diverse supplies, spotting airplanes from observation towers, collecting scrap, sending soccer balls to underprivileged children around the world, and in some cases, protesting against war were all part of the response.

Bullets, Bonds, and Butter: Wilton Responds to War, 1776 – 2006 includes material from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and the war in Iraq.

To mark the anniversary of the birth of the American Legion in March of 1919, the Wilton Historical Society worked with Adjutant Tom Moore of Wilton’s James B. Whipple Post 86 to develop a special section on the history of the organization, which includes some of their artifacts.

The Wilton Historical Society is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm.

Cruise to Sheffield Island this Memorial Day Weekend May 25, 26, 27, 2019 and Start a Family Tradition

The Sheffield Island Lighthouse is an iconic symbol of Connecticut’s maritime history. This historic lighthouse and light keeper’s cottage is located at the southern end of Norwalk’s necklace of islands on the west entrance of the Norwalk River in Long Island Sound. One of the best ways to kick of the season is to take a cruise on the C.J. Toth on Saturday, May 25, Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27. at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on all three days. Tickets for this exciting excursion can be purchased in advance by clicking here or at the dock, space permitting.

Activated in 1868, Sheffield Island Lighthouse, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places was in service for thirty- four years before it was retired in 1902. Today a visit to this historic Connecticut landmark gives visitors a first-hand experience on how important this lighthouse was to coastal and oceangoing shipping as these vessels plied their way on Long Island Sound, a major artery of communication and transportation. A bonus is that once on the island visitors get to explore the 151- year old lighthouse.

A highlight of this journey is the cruise itself. The cruise allows passengers to experience the beauty of Norwalk from the water with wonderful views of the shoreline, islands and the harbor. The fresh sea breeze and birdlife are enjoyed in the comfort of the Seaport’s modern vessel on the way to and from the island.

Reaching the Island, passengers take a tour of the ten-room light keeper’s cottage and the lighthouse that is furnished in period furniture giving visitors a glimpse of what life was like as a lighthouse keeper. If the day is clear, the New York City Skyline can be seen. Make sure to save time to look for shells, play on the lawns, and unwind with a picnic lunch on your own private island before heading back. A new telescope that is free to use affords spectacular views all the way to New York! Visitors to the island this spring will also get a sneak peek at a Pavilion that is being built on the Island that will be available for parties and special events. The Pavilion is expected to be completed July, 2019.

If you love nature and birdlife, don’t miss the chance to explore the Nature Trail through the Steward B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge that is also located on Sheffield Island. There is a wide array of bird and wildlife to be seen here including nesting herons, wading birds, shorebirds, terns and many others. A special viewing platform enhances the viewing experience. Don’t forget to charge your cell phone up and to bring your camera and binoculars.

Round trip ferry tickets are $28 for adults, $16 for children 4-12, and, children 3 and under are $7. The boat leaves from the Sheffield Island Dock located at the corner of North Water Street and Washington Street in historic South Norwalk. Parking is available in the adjacent Norwalk Maritime Center Garage. Be sure to wear comfortable, closed toe shoes. For safety reasons, flip-flops are not allowed. The capacity of the boat is limited to 49 passengers, so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended by visiting the website or visit ticketing.

About the Seaport Association

The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 by a group of local citizens who had the vision to revitalize South Norwalk and preserve Norwalk’s maritime heritage.

The Norwalk Seaport Association offers a cultural, environmental, and historical journey to the Norwalk Islands. The Sheffield Island Lighthouse and the Light Keeper’s Cottage provide a unique historical and educational venue, which strives to increase awareness, appreciation, and consideration for our environment and how the preservation of historic buildings and nature contribute to our quality of life.

It is our belief that preservation strengthens the perpetual partnership between the past, the present and the future. The combination of the Lighthouse and the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge offers an unparalleled opportunity to educate children of all ages and adults about the importance of preserving Long Island Sound, our environment and maritime heritage.

Red Panda Webcam Live @ Beardsley Zoo

The Beardsley Zoo has just announced that its red panda viewing area has a live webcam that allows zoo lovers to take a peek at how these beautiful and rare red pandas live. The camera hours will feature a live feed from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. The red panda cam may be reached by clicking here.

Red pandas have a taste for bamboo, but unlike their larger relatives, they eat many other foods as well: fruit, acorns, roots, and eggs. Similar to giant pandas, they have a modified wrist bone that acts as a sixth digit or thumb.

While the red panda’s scientific names mean ‘fire-coloured cat,’ they actually have more in common with bears and raccoons. Their soft, dense fur covers their entire body, including the soles of their feet. They use their long, bushy tails to balance when they’re in trees – and also to cover themselves in winter.

This mild-mannered animal can defend its territory by standing on its hind legs and using its sharp claws to strike out if threatened. The red panda can also release a strong odor from scent glands at the base of the tail that may make a predator think twice about a red panda meal.

The Zoo is located on 1875 Noble Ave. in Bridgeport and is open from 10 am to 4 pm.

MARINE LIFE ENCOUNTER CRUISES” OF THE MARITIME AQUARIUM AT NORWALK

Get a deeper new appreciation for Long Island Sound when you meet some of its resident fish, crabs and other creatures brought up wriggling and wet right out of the water right before your eyes, during a Marine Life Encounter Cruise offered by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

These fun and memorable outings will be offered on most Saturdays and Sundays in May and June, with departures at 1:15 p.m. (There is no cruise on May 11.) Beginning June 25, they’ll run daily Tuesdays through Sundays through the summer. The 2.5-hour cruises give participants close-up, often hands-on introductions to a variety of fish, crabs, mollusks and other animals brought up onto the Aquarium’s research vessel.

“Any boat ride is fun, but the Aquarium’s cruises offer the exciting bonus of giving participants an amazing window into what’s below the waves,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth.

The Marine Life Encounter Cruises bring up animals from different levels of the Sound’s depths. A video microscope hooked up to a giant-screen monitor provides a magnified look at wriggly plankton gathered at the sunlit surface. Sponges, mollusks, worms and tiny crabs are revealed to be hiding in a sample from the muddy bottom. And everyone inspects the trawl net’s bounty: varieties of fish, crabs, mollusks and always a few surprises; maybe squid; maybe even a small shark! Maritime Aquarium educators involve participants in the processes, including sorting through samples, logging data, helping to pull in the trawl net and returning animals to the water.

“Every cruise is different depending on what animals come up onto the boat,” Sigworth said. “And it is the thrill of witnessing first-hand how alive Long Island Sound is – even within sight of Manhattan – that will best inspire stewardship on behalf of the Sound.”

Besides being fun and eye-opening, Marine Life Encounter Cruises also contribute to local scientific research. Water-chemistry and weather readings are taken. And details about the animals brought onboard are entered into the Aquarium’s Long Island Sound Biodiversity Project, a database of physical and biological features available online to teachers and researchers.

Cruises take place aboard R/V Spirit of the Sound, the first research vessel in the country with quiet and “green” hybrid-electric propulsion. Through June 30, cost of a Marine Life Encounter Cruise is $29.95 per person ($24.95 for Maritime Aquarium members). The Maritime Aquarium’s cruises are perfect for family fun. However, all passengers must be at least 42 inches tall. Participants under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Capacity is limited so reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-up tickets will be sold space permitting. Cruises depart from the dock near the Aquarium’s IMAX Theater entrance. Marine Life Encounter Cruises also are available by charter for schools, camps, Scouts and other groups. To reserve your spot or for more details, go to www.maritimeaquarium.org/cruise-schedule or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Summer Camp @ Institute for American Indian Studies 2019 Explore, Create & Discover!

Spend the summer of 2019 @ The Institute For American Indian Studies! Our camp programs offer an immersion into the natural world and culture of Connecticut’s Eastern Woodland Native American people through the exploration of our replicated 16th century Algonkian Village, our forests, three sisters garden, and museum. Experienced and professional educators provide young and curious minds with exciting programs that engage and educate.

The programming for the Institute for American Indian Studies Summer Camps have been created to inspire and engage children from ages 5-12 and 13 to 16 in explorations of the natural world and history of Connecticut’s first inhabitants on Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with extended camp options available with pre-registration. Young people from ages 13 – 16 can apply to a counselor in training program. Interactive activities include traditional stories, crafts, team building activities, and games that bring history to life in age-appropriate contexts. Kids will explore hands-on exhibits in our museum as well as in our outdoor replicated 16th century outdoor Algonkian Village and Three Sisters Garden located on 15 unspoiled acres, go on hikes to Steep Rock and the Shepaug River, and visit our traditional herb and flower garden. The week specific programming includes a group project that allows campers to practice the skills that they have learned to create something to take home and share with their friends and family or to leave at the museum for future visitors to enjoy. Kids will make friends, enjoy the summer and learn about Native American culture.

Weekly camps with different themes run from July 8 -August 16, 2019. Kids that love archeology and wonder what tools archeologists use to discover the past will enjoy Digging Detectives: Archeology Week, July 8-12. If your children are interested in food, Eating with the Seasons: Foraging in the Forest from July 15-19 teaches children how Native Americans were able to thrive in the natural world using their knowledge of the forest and rivers. Crafty Creations week on July 22-26 is sure to inspire the budding artist in your child. In this program, kids will learn about crafts, music, arts, and storytelling from a variety of Native American cultures, past and present.

To experience the beautiful natural environment at The Institute as well as to sharpen outdoor survival skills, Get Out! Woodland Survival, July 29 – August 2 will teach children outdoor living skills from knot tying and navigation to the safe use of fire in an outdoor setting and much more. On August 5-9, Tech It Out! Not So Primitive Technology will uncover the mysteries of the past and show kids how Native Americans figured out creative ways to thrive in their environment. The creation of tools, the construction of shelter and how to find food in the natural world that surrounds them will be on this week’s agenda. The final program of the summer, Nature Nuts: Forest and River Ecology from August 12-16 teaches the valuable lesson that all living things are connected. This important life lesson will be taught through games, stories, crafts and more.

For complete registration information, visit http://www.iaismuseum.org. Pricing is $228 for members of The Institute for American Indian Studies and $285 for non-members; families with two or more children registered to get a family discount. Registration forms and a non-refundable deposit of $100 is due by May 17, 2019. The summer camp director is Gabriel Benjamin and he can be reached at gbenjamin@iaismuseum.org.

Seasport Association Announces 2019 Summer Season

This past winter, members of the Seaport Association in Norwalk has been hard at work planning the 2019 Summer and Fall season. The events that the Association is offering runs the gamut, but they are all perfect for aficionados of the great outdoors, Long Island Sound, private islands, and historic lighthouses. Some events are pure family fun and, others highlight carefully curated themed events and cruises for adults.

This year on Memorial Day Weekend, the Seaport Association is offering its’ inaugural cruises to Sheffield Island on May 25, 26, and 27. On all three days, cruises will leave the dock at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. In accordance with Coast Guard Regulations, the boat is limited to 49 passengers, so be sure to book your cruise online early. The tour includes the journey out to Sheffield Island, a tour of the historic 151-year-old lighthouse and the cruise back to the dock. It is best to arrive about 15 minutes before the cruise departs in order to facilitate boarding. For more info click here.

In June, the Seaport Association is hosting five very special events. If you love birds, don’t miss the three special Birding Cruises on June 9,16 and 23, 2019 that depart the dock at 8:30 a.m. On this National Geographic-like three hour birding experience you will learn about the importance of migratory birds and their behavior. Keep your eyes peeled for egrets, American oystercatchers, herons, terns, gulls, cormorants at a safe and inspiring distance with a birding expert. For tickets click here.

If you have dreamed of Yoga on a Private Island, the Seaport Association can make this dream a reality on June 29, 2019, with their annual Sunrise Yoga Cruise that departs the dock at 7:30 a.m. and returns at 10:30 a.m. For more information click here.

If you love oysters, don’t miss Docktails and Oysters on June 29, 2019. At this fundraiser event that takes place dockside @ Norm Blooms Oysters, you will dine on unlimited raw clams and oysters literally fresh off the boat as well as on a variety of delicious passed and tabled appetizers. For tickets to this popular event click here

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Once again, on July 20 and 2, 2019, pirates invade Sheffield Island where children young and old get a glimpse of the legends and lore pirates. Scallywags of all ages will step into the world of pirates on Sheffield Island and be entertained with a myriad of fun activities like hunting for treasure on the beach, sword fighting, and listening to tall tales of adventure on the high seas. For more information click here.

Another fun-filled event, that is quintessentially an American treat, especially on Sheffield Island is the Seaport’s popular Island BBQ taking place this year on July 27 with the boat departing the dock at 5:30 p.m. For more information click here. If you love Italian food, then the special Sheffield Island Isola Italiana Night on August 24 is not to be missed! For more information click here.

If wearing a costume just one day a year on Halloween is not enough for you, no worries, on August 3 and 4 the Seaport Association is hosting “The Haunted Lighthouse” event. At this fun-filled kid-friendly event the Sheffield Lighthouse is decorated in a ghoulish way to provide thrills, chills, and giggles for youngsters of all ages. Stories and other activities round out the fun. New this year is the Haunted Lighthouse, after dark for adults only! For tickets click here.

Each week beginning in June, the Seaport Association offers Wednesday Night Acoustic Cruises (June 19-Sept. 18, 2019), Thursday Night Clambakes on the Island (June 13-Sept.19,2019), and Friday Night Sunset Cruises (June 14 -Sept. 20, 2019). The Seaport Association is also planning to host several specially themed Saturday Night Cruises.

This year the 42nd Oyster Festival, the crown jewel of the events organized by the Seaport Association is being held on Friday, Sept. 6, Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept.8, 2019. For up to the minute details check the website here.