Feel Good in Kent – April 4-10

Excitement is building for the return of the popular Meet.Play.Flow event established by RT Facts Gallery, Kent Barns, Kent, CT., one of Kent’s premier galleries. After three successful years, RT Facts’ Meet.Play.Flow. wellness event has taken wing by forming a partnership with the Kent Chamber of Commerce extending the feel-good vibe for a full week.

Visitors and residents alike can enjoy “Meet.Play.Flow & 7 Days of Wellness” beginning Thursday, April 4th and running through Wednesday, April 10th. During this unique wellness event, residents and visitors are welcome to enjoy week-long promotions, as well a weekend full of body, soul, and uplifting events. Throughout the week, several of Kent’s charming restaurants, cozy inns, unique shops, and caring service providers, will be offering healthy menus, yummy tastings, special room rates, as well as discounts on wellness-related products and services.

On Sat., April 6th, RT Facts Gallery will kick-off the weekend roster of special events. That day, RT Facts Gallery will host a series of seminars, workshops, and discussions guaranteed to jump-start healthy ambitions. Here, attendees will literally Meet. Play… and Flow onto a path of well-being.

Saturday’s all-day wellness event will see the return of many local instructors offering classes every half-hour in practices such as, hula-hoop dancing, yoga, Barre, tai chi, foam rolling, playful improv, drawing as meditation, etc. Attendees are welcome to explore aerial yoga, massage therapy, as well as making your own flower essences and smoothie/kimchi-tastings. With a $25 donation, attendees will have complete access to the many wellness practices and classes being offered. All proceeds will be matched by RT Facts Gallery and donated to the Connecticut ambulance squads of Kent and Cornwall. For further information on RT Facts Meet.Play.Flow Sat., April 6th event, visit www.meetplayflow.com.

The high-energy continues on Sunday, April 7th when the Kent Chamber of Commerce will be staging free sessions comprised of lectures, demonstrations and workshops. Experts in their chosen fields are on tap to conduct a healthy lineup of weekend events. Participants include: Chestnut Woodworking, Davis IGA, Fair Skies Acupuncture, Fife ‘n Drum Restaurant and Inn, J. P. Gifford Market, Kent Land Trust, Kent Yoga & Bodyworks, Movement Learning Resources, Prism Health Advocates, Starbuck Inn, Strong Core Team Training, Terston, Kent Victorian Inn, Villager Restaurant, W Rhythm Fitness & Wellness, among others. These free Chamber events will be held in various commercial locations throughout town. Attendees will nourish mind and body by listening to and partaking in sessions ranging from Chinese medicine, Pilates, and Essential Oils to understanding health care and successfully navigating an illness.

Meet.Play.Flow & 7 Days of Wellness is an inspiring event that affords attendees an opportunity to experience a variety of wellness practices while having fun and meeting friends both old and new. It’s also an event that serves as a novel introduction to the various shops, restaurants, and services that make up Kent, one of Connecticut’s most charming New England towns. For details on Meet.Play.Flow & 7 Days of Wellness, visit www.kentct.com or email info@kentct.com.

Kids Craft Day @ Norwalk Historical Society March 31

On Sunday, March 31,  the Norwalk Historical Society is hosting a crafts day for kids from 1 pm to 4 pm.  A highlight of this event is that the event runs continuously so that you can drop in at any time. Kids will learn how to create a Native American pouch, a paper garden full of poppy flowers or a paper story quilt.

As they are creating their special take-home craft, they will learn how each craft connects to history!  Kids are invited to come dressed as their favorite historical character to win a prize!

This event is best for children 5-12 years old and they must be accompanied by an adult. The admission fee is $5 per child, adults are free. Refreshments will also be served. The Norwalk Historical Society is located on 141 East Ave. in Norwalk. The front entrance is accessible from the Norwalk City Hall parking area at 125 East Avenue. The Museum is in the red brick house with blue double front doors, next to the Norwalk Health Department. Tickets are also available online.

The “International Ocean Film Tour” @ Maritime Aquarium Norwalk

Enjoy a night of edge-of-your-seat storytelling through a series of inspiring short films all focusing on the big blue, as The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk welcomes “International Ocean Film Tour 6” on Thurs., April 4.  This one-night film fest features inspiring personalities in six short films from around the world. The stories celebrate sailors, surfers, scientists, artists and cinematographers who are doing extraordinary things in and on the oceans.

The films start at 7 p.m., but the entire Aquarium will open at 6 p.m. In addition, the evening concludes with a Q&A about the marine world with panelists from The Maritime Aquarium and Sacred Heart University, whose Department of Biology is a sponsor.  The films will be shown on the giant video wall in Newman’s Own Hall. Expected titles include:

“Julie” – 15 minutes. Free -diving and spearfishing became second nature to islander Julie Gautier. But her passion lies in the creative process. Fusing free diving and dance, “Julie” is Gautier’s powerful story of finding her creative voice beneath the surface.
“700 Sharks” – 20 minutes. Marine biologist and renowned wildlife photographer Laurent Ballesta takes audiences to the Pacific atoll Fakarava, where he has been studying the hunting behavior of reef sharks. With cutting-edge technology and a team of experts, Ballesta encounters more than 700 sharks and documents their strategies as they hunt groupers at night in a narrow ravine on the coral belt.
“Chasing the Thunder” – 45 minutes. Poaching at sea has flourished in remote places like the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean, unchecked and uninhibited by law enforcement … but not without defense from activists like Sea Shepherd. “Chasing the Thunder” is a real-life thriller in rough seas; an epic 110-day sea chase across three oceans and two seas, where the fearless captains of two Sea Shepherd vessels pursue the illegal fishing trawler Thunder. See how conviction and resilience can make a difference where governments fail.
“Andy Irons – Kissed by God” – 30 minutes. Meet one of surfing’s all-time greats, a man who would change the sport forever but never managed to escape his own worst enemy: himself. In the 1990s, Andy Irons made a name for himself as the enfant terrible on and off the board. What appeared to be eccentricities was actually bipolar disorder. “Kissed by God” is the heart-rending story of an athlete who pushed the limits of his sport and transcended the boundaries of his condition against all odds up and until his untimely death.
“Surfer Dan” – 7 minutes. The winter waves on Lake Superior are just right for Dan Schetter. Dodging sheets of ice, he launches in the water with abandon to do what saved his life: surf. Nothing clears the head like a plunge into cold water—precisely what’s needed when you want to leave your drinking habits behind. A sober “Surfer Dan” introduces us to his drug and remedy, proving that a real surfer needs no palm trees, no tan lines and—most importantly—no excuses.
“Blown Away” – 7 minutes. Follow sound engineers Hannes Koch and Ben Schaschek on a 4.5-year life-changing journey, calling on ports in 31 countries, from Sydney to Berlin. Their goal: to record as many local musicians as they can and connect them all through music. On the tape, the “sailing conductors” introduce people from across the globe, who have never met one another in real life. This sailing adventure has not only a unique soundtrack, and it also will kindle everyone’s wanderlust.

Stay after the films for an “oceans Q&A” with Barrett Christie and Dr. David Hudson of The Maritime Aquarium, as well as Sacred Heart University Professors Jennifer Mattei, Barbara Pierce, and Deirdre Yeater.  Tickets are $20, or $18 for Aquarium members. (Note that regular adult Aquarium admission is $24.95. So, with doors opening at 6 p.m. for the April 4 event, you can tour The Maritime Aquarium for an hour and then enjoy this special film fest for less than normal admission.)  Learn more and reserve your tickets at www.maritimeaquarium.org.

The Aquarium event is the New England premiere of this newest, sixth version of the “International Ocean Film Tour.” Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itNAVRJdSS8

Calling All Gardners to the Hollister House Garden April 13 & 14!

Hollister House Garden is looking to add some new garden enthusiasts to its volunteer staff for the 2019 season. Volunteers welcome visitors to the garden during our public visiting hours and assist in hosting lectures and special events.

“We rely on our volunteers to play a key role in representing the garden to visitors and event guests” says George Schoellkopf, creator of Hollister House Garden and president of the board of directors. “Volunteers appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the garden and provide information for our visitors from all around the world.”

Ideal volunteer candidates should be friendly, reliable and enjoy meeting the public. An interest in and enthusiasm for gardens is encouraged, however gardening expertise is not required. Volunteers are invited to several special events exclusively for volunteers during the season.

For more information, plan to attend one of our volunteer information sessions are Saturday, April 13th 10am and Sunday, April 14th, 4pm. RSVP to office@hollisterhousegarden.org or call 860-868-2200.

Hollister House Garden is a non-profit corporation and one of only 16 exceptional gardens designated a Preservation Project by the Garden Conservancy, whose mission is to identify and preserve important private gardens across America for the education and enjoyment of the public.

In 2010 Hollister House achieved its prestigious listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The property has also been named a Town Landmark Site by the Town of Washington.

Hollister House Garden is open to visitors April 26th through October 12th on Wednesdays and Fridays hours 1-4PM and Saturdays 10-4PM. Private group visits are welcome weekdays by appointment only. Directions to the garden’s 300 Nettleton Hollow Road location are also available on the website. Contact: Pamela Moffett, 860-868-2200 office@hollisterhousegarden.org.

Two Rare Amur Leopard Cubs born @ Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s six-year-old Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis), Freya, gave birth to three cubs on January 25, with two cubs surviving. The surviving cubs, a male and a female, were removed from Freya when she began hyper-grooming behaviors, which posed a danger to their wellbeing. One cub was euthanized due to maternal-induced injuries. Both six-week-old cubs are in seclusion in the Zoo’s Animal Health Care Center.

The surviving female cub suffered the loss of her tail due to the hyper-grooming, and underwent lifesaving surgery shortly after birth. She was treated with antibiotics for an infection, but has completed the medication and is doing well.

Amur leopards are critically endangered, which means they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild, with approximately 80 animals remaining there. There are approximately 200 in human care worldwide, with slightly more than 100 in Russia and Europe, and slightly fewer than 100 in the U.S. With such a small population, each Amur leopard born is extremely important to the survival of the species. Six Amur leopard cubs were born in the U.S. in 2018, with five surviving.

“Amur leopards are on the brink of extinction,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “The Species Survival Plan’s breeding recommendation is designed to bolster the number of individuals in human care, for potential future breeding, as well as the opportunity to return certain members of the species back to the wild someday. The birth of these cubs brings a few more precious Amur leopards to the population, which can help ensure the survival of these majestic animals for future generations.”
Zoo veterinary and animal care staff are providing around the clock care, hand feeding the babies five times a day, with a feline milk replacement formula, supplemented with vitamins. In the past several weeks, both cubs have increased in weight, to roughly 2.5 kilos each (5.5 lbs.). The male cub is somewhat larger than the female. Zoo staff was aware of the leopard’s pregnancy through fecal hormone testing and weight gain, and had been keeping a 24-hour watch on Freya during the weeks leading up to the cubs’ birth. The cubs’ survival to six weeks is a critical milestone. It will be several more weeks before the cubs will be available for viewing by the public.

The female cub has melanism, an extremely rare black color variant in big cats. Melanistic cats have a condition where the body produces an excess of black pigment, the opposite of albinism. There are nine leopard subspecies, ranging from Africa all the way to the Amur leopard in eastern Russia. And while 11 percent of leopards alive today are thought to be melanistic, most are found in Southeast Asia, where tropical forests offer an abundance of shade. An extremely rare melanistic leopard was recently sighted in Africa for the first time in a century. There is currently one other melanistic Amur leopard in this country at the San Diego Zoo.


The Zoo is home to the cubs’ parents: a female, Freya, born in 2013, from the Copenhagen Zoo, and a male Sochi, born in 2013, from the Denver Zoo. Their habitat features rock outcroppings that enable the leopards to explore their surroundings at ground level. It also includes areas as high as 10 feet off the ground, to enable them to view their domain from a different level. Amur leopards have been known to leap more than 10 feet vertically, so there is plenty of room to stretch their legs.

According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA), the goal of the SSPs is to make sure each species has enough genetic diversity and population numbers to last for the next 100-200 years. Since many Felid species haven’t reached population targets, the SSP considers it of vital importance to focus on reproductive research. The future of the Amur leopard has been a major concern of the world’s zoos for many years.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will provide updates on the Cubs’ condition on its website and on Facebook. The Beardsley Zoo is located on 1875 Noble Ave. Bridgeport CT

About Amur leopards
A rare subspecies of leopard that has adapted to life in the temperate forests from Northeast China to the Korean peninsula and the Russian Far East, Amur leopards are often illegally hunted for their beautiful spotted fur. The Amur leopard is agile and fast, running at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. Males reach weights of 110 pounds and females up to 90 pounds. They prey on sika, roe deer, and hare, but the Amur leopard has to compete with humans for these animals. Some scientists have reported male Amur leopards remaining with the females after mating, and possibly even helping to rear the young. They live for 10-15 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in human care. In the wild, Amur leopards make their home in the Amur-Heilong, a region that contains one of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world, vast steppe grasslands, and the unbroken taiga biome.

Wigwam Escape – Connecticut’s Newest Attraction

In a world “gone” digital, it is fun to leave technology behind for a while and experience something authentically different with friends and family. Wigwam Escape, a new escape room located at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington Connecticut, is an adventure that challenges and educates while being immersive and interactive. It is a chance to bond with your friends and to show off your puzzle-solving skills! The adrenaline rush to beat the clock is all part of the fun. It sounds exhilarating, right?

So, can you thrive for a day in 1518? Get ready to walk back in time to find out. Wigwam Escape cleverly simulates what life was like in Connecticut prior to European contact. In an immersive woodland setting with no locks, keys, cell phones, computers, or clocks. Wigwam Escape’s thematic puzzles challenge game players to hunt and gather, find water and prepare food similar to how Native people did hundreds of years ago.

About Escape Rooms

Essentially an escape room is a puzzle game where players are put in a room and have a set time to solve the puzzles and “escape” the room. Players solve a series of puzzles using clues or hints from around the room. In order to escape the room, you have to solve all the riddles and puzzles within the time constraints to successfully escape. Forget video games, this is hands-on fun!

Wigwam Escape – The Story

You, the game player, find yourselves in a Native American village in the woodlands of Connecticut in the year 1518. You’ve just received word that an illness is affecting the neighboring fishing village of Metachiwon and they are asking for help. It is seven miles to Metachiwon so you have to act quickly. It’s up to you to figure out how to gather and prepare supplies for your journey ahead. You have one day (roughly one hour game time) to hunt, gather and cook using only the resources found in the village and surrounding forest. This empathetic experience connects players to the ways Native peoples lived and the skills they relied on 500 years ago in their daily lives.

FAQs – Wigwam Escape

Wigwam Escape allows three to seven players to experience the room. To enhance the experience the room caters only to private groups, so when you book the room, it is for your group only.

The ticket price is $25 per player and includes a non- expiring half off admission ticket to the Institute for American Indian Studies that can be used at any time during museum hours.

The suggested age for Wigwam Escape is 12 and up; however, as long as there is a parent or guardian present during the game kids under 12 are welcome.

Wigwam Escape includes a 15-minute pre-game introduction with an Experience Host, a one-hour session in the escape room and a post-game popcorn party and discussion.

Wigwam Escape is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday by reservation. Office hours are Wed. and Thurs. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To purchase your tickets, visit www.wigwamescape.com or call (860) 868- 0510.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies preserves and educates through discovery and creativity the diverse traditions, vitality, and knowledge of Native American cultures. Through archaeology, the IAIS is able to build new understandings of the world and history of Native Americans, the focus is on stewardship and preservation. This is achieved through workshops, special events, and education for students of all ages.

Located on 15 woodland acres the IAIS has an outdoor Three Sisters and Healing Plants Gardens as well as a replicated 16th c. Algonkian Village. Inside the museum, authentic artifacts are displayed in permanent, semi-permanent and temporary exhibits from prehistory to the present that allows visitors a walk through time.

The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut and can be reached online or by calling 860-868-0518.