Sunset/Moonrise Kayak Paddle Around Norwalk Islands Sept. 12

Experienced and novice kayakers are invited to join Friends of the Norwalk Islands for a sunset/moonrise paddle that coincides with the mid-autumn festival on the Chinese calendar.

A guided Kayak Paddle to the Norwalk Islands will launch at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 12, from The Small Boat Shop dock at 144 Water Street. Children (age 10 and above and weighing at least 100 pounds) are welcome to participate. Water safety and basic paddling techniques will be discussed before the tour to the Norwalk Islands begins.

“If you have never seen the sunset from a kayak or paddled beneath the moon, this trip is for you,” says Susan Snider, president, Friends of the Norwalk Islands. “After launching, we’ll head down the Norwalk River into Long Island Sound to enjoy the beauty of the Norwalk Islands and the night sky. We’ll return to the dock by 8:00 p.m.”

The Small Boat Shop is sponsoring several kayak paddles to support the Friends of the Norwalk Islands. The event fee of $85 includes a kayak, paddles, life jacket and $25 donation to Friends of the Norwalk Islands. Reservations are required by calling Friends of the Norwalk Islands (203-849-8341) or The Small Boat Shop (203-854-5223) or visit http://www.TheSmallBoatShop.com/kayaktours2011.html.

Led by Snider, the Friends of the Norwalk Islands has partnered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conserve, protect and enhance the environmental, recreational and cultural significance of the Norwalk Islands and to promote the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Norwalk Islands of Chimon, Peach, Goose and Sheffield are part of the Norwalk Islands unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. To learn more, visit the web site at http://www.FriendsoftheNorwalkIslands.org.

Photo Credit: Dick Ramsey

34th Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival Set for September 9-11

Fun for families and friends from nine to ninety, the 34th annual Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival will be held this year from Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11.

Highlights include music from nationally known-bands such as Soul Asylum, Fuel, Silverado, Springsteen cover band, The Rising, as well as rides, cooking competitions, arts and crafts and a diverse assortment of attractions and entertainment that promise fun for festival goers.

The event is held at Veteran’s Park, adjacent to Norwalk Harbor on Seaview Avenue in Norwalk, CT. Admission for adults is $10 on Friday, $12 on Saturday and Sunday. Senior tickets are $10 all days. Children 5-12 year’s old are $3. Children under 5 and U.S. military personnel on active duty are free. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.seaport.org.

For the Kids
Children of all ages are wowed by Pirates Coast Adventure. Here, kids can meet real life pirates and look for booty in treasure hunts, hear storytelling and join in other fun-filled activities. The Kids’ Cove includes games, rides and entertainment. Another favorite activity is the work of a world-renowned sand sculptor that exhibit his talents with help from the kids! In addition, there will be an action-packed performance by Marvel Super Heroes. Sunday is Family Day with special family and children’s packages for entrance, rides and meals.

For the Whole Family
The festival offers a wide array of attractions the whole family will enjoy, including continuous entertainment by local musicians and national acts. The Go Greener Pavilion features hands-on demonstrations and displays with an environmental theme. Action sports and high energy combine in BMX and Motorcross Stunt Shows sponsored by f’real. A multitude of fine artists and crafters display whimsical as well as practical items that appeal to all tastes, budgets and ages.

For the Foodies
The BBQ Pit, endorsed by the New England Barbeque Society and the Kansas City Barbeque Society, offers finger-lickin’ good food, demonstrations and competitions, including the always-popular chowd
er and chili cook-offs. More great food from around the world is available at the International Food Court. This culinary fare is prepared by dozens of local nonprofit organizations allowing them to raise vital funds for their charitable causes. At the Oyster Pavilion, learn about Norwalk’s oystering history while watching slurping and shucking contests.

About the Norwalk Seaport Association
The Norwalk Seaport Association was founded in 1978 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, education and public awareness of Norwalk’s maritime environment and heritage. The Seaport Association and its volunteers are solely responsible for organizing and financing the Oyster Festival. In addition to the Oyster Festival, the Norwalk Seaport Association owns Sheffield Lighthouse and its volunteers maintain the lighthouse and grounds as a museum and nature preserve. For more information, visit http://www.seaport.org. or call (203) 838-9444.

Area Information:
For further information on Fairfield County and other area activities visit http://www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com or call 800-6631 for a free Fairfield County brochure.

Stamford Downtown Summer Restaurant Weeks Through Monday, September 5, 2011

It is back again this year — the Stamford Downtown Restaurant Weeks that runs through September 5th. This annual long awaited and popular three weeks of dining lets you experience lunch or dinner in Stamford Downtown at prix-fixe daily specials. What better way to enjoy your favorite restaurant or try a new one!

There are three tiers of restaurant pricing making sure that there is something for everyone’s budget. The restaurants range from Japanese to Mexican, fish to Italian and even burgers to name a few of the many evocative choices that will please even the most discriminating palate!

The Participating Restaurants

In the $10.11 lunch and $15.11 dinner tier you can dine at: Black Bear Saloon, *Grand Burger (dinner only), Kujaku Japanese Restaurant, Lola’s Mexican Kitchen (excludes Fri./Sat.), Lucky’s Classic Burger and Malt Shop, SBC Downtown Restaurant and Brewery, *Tiernan’s Bar and Restaurant, and Volta Gelateria Creperia.

Restaurants offering fare in the $12.11 lunch and $20.11 dinner tier are: Butterfield 8 Restaurant and Lounge, Capriccio Cafe (lunch only), Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant, Quattro Pazzi (excludes Fri./Sat.), Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza Company and Tengda Asian Bistro.

In the final tier dining establishments offering lunch at $20.11 and dinner at $30.11 include: *Aria Restaurant, *Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar, Bar Rosso (excludes Fri. & Sat.), *Capital Grill, Chez Jean Pierre (excludes Sun.), Columbus Park Trattoria, *Emme of Capri, EOS Greek Cuisine (excludes Fri./Sat.), Mitchell’s Fish Market, *Morton’s Steakhouse (Dinner only), Nappa and Co. (lunch only), Tappo Restaurant (excludes Fri./Sat.), and *ZAZA Italian Gastrobar (excludes Fri./Sat.).

To download PDF’s of the menus of the above restaurants visit: http://www.stamford-downtown.com.

Stamford’s Restaurant Weeks Don’t Forget the Kids!

In partnership with the Stamford Hospital, Stamford Tables will host KIDS’ FANS 5-2-1-0, a program designed to promote nutrition and fitness in Stamford. All children under the age of 12 will be offered a healthy lunch for $6.95 and dinner for $9.95 at all above listed restaurants except those with a *.

Popcorn and the Avon Theatre

A special highlight of Restaurants Weeks includes a fabulous offer by the Avon Theater. The first 3,000 patrons will receive a voucher for a free small popcorn with the purchase of a general admission ticket to the Avon Theatre on 272 Bedford Street. The voucher is valid through 9/30/2011. The Avon Theater is a member based non-profit Art Deco Theater that offers the best of independent, world and documentary films, foreign and Hollywood classics, and educational programming. For a list of events, please visit http://www.avontheatre.org.

Rainforest Reptiles is at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo for a limited engagement! Aug. 25- Aug. 28!

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo concludes its summer programming schedule with Rainforest Reptiles, a dynamic, interactive, and educational show that is sure to engage and excite young and old alike. Rainforest Reptiles features over 200 exotic reptiles, ranging from iguanas, Burmese pythons, and boa constrictors to lizards, turtles, and American alligators. Visitors also will appreciate the Zoo’s newly renovated “Alligator Alley” exhibit, which is home to five new alligators.

Alligator Alley’s redesigned exhibit accommodates the five new alligators, all male, which reside there. A new deck has been constructed for the alligators, allowing visitors to better observe these reptiles as they go about their daily activities and feedings. A new roof now provides visitors with shading and protection from the elements, and the new audio system allows zookeepers to better interact with the audience. A higher plexi-glass wall prevents debris from easily falling in.

Alligators have been around longer than the dinosaurs, almost 65 million years, and are relatively unchanged in that time. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s alligators are between the ages of four and five and are still small, the largest weighing approximately 55 lbs, while the smallest averages 30 lbs. They range from four to five feet long.

Known to grow continuously throughout their lives, these creatures are known to reach lengths of thirteen to twenty feet and weights from 400 to 2,000 pounds. They can bite down with 2,000 pounds of pressure with a mouth that contains 65 teeth. Formerly an endangered species, more than one million adult alligators live in the wild today, representing a conservation success story!

The Rainforest Reptile Shows are Thursday, August 25 – Sunday, August 28; the shows take place on Thursday & Friday at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. On Saturday and Sunday the shows take place at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. All shows are FREE with paid admission to the Zoo!

T-Rex Extinctions Imminent Again With “Dinosaur Summer” Ending Sept. 5 At The Maritime Aquarium At Norwalk

Dinosaurs are about to go extinct again, with only a few days left to enjoy the “Dinosaur Summer” exhibit at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

It may have been a comet that did in the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but it’s the looming end of a contractual lease that will doom the Aquarium’s life-sized moving roaring robotic beasts, which include a young and adult Tyrannosaurus rex.

“The exhibit will definitely become extinct at the end of the day Sept. 5 – Labor Day,” said Chris Loynd, the Aquarium’s marketing director. “We’ll miss them. They’ve been very popular with our visitors, especially with kids, who have been able to compare their world with what it was like to be a young dinosaur growing up.”

The robotic exhibit delves into how quickly young dinosaurs grew, how big they got, what they ate and how they were protected from danger. It explores these concepts by pairing young and adult dinosaurs of four species: Stegosaurus, with the line of bony plates across their backs; the long-necked Apatosaurus; the crested Parasaurolophus; and Tyrannosaurus rex (no introduction needed).

The dinosaurs move, roar – even blink their eyes – in realistic fashion. But they’re fully lighted – not dark and scary – in an educational dinosaur exhibit fit for even the youngest visitor. An extra “cut-away” T-rex offers a peek inside a robotic dinosaur, so kids can see how it works and even control it. And an outdoor “fossil dig” has been entertaining budding paleontologists.

The exhibit is presented by Purdue Pharma L.P.

“Dinosaur Summer” is free with paid Aquarium admission, which is $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors 65+, and $9.95 for children 2-12.

“Dinosaur Summer” opened June 18 as part of a summer-long dinosaur triple play that also includes the IMAX movie “T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous” (showing at noon & 4 p.m. daily through Aug. 31, then at noon daily from Sept. 1-5) and the simulator ride-film “Dino Island II: Escape from Dinosaur Island” (running every 10 minutes daily). The IMAX movie and the ride-film both also close on Labor Day.

“T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous” is a fictional tale of a teen-ager magically transported back through time, where she meets famous dinosaur experts doing field research and eventually ends up 65 million years in the past. She – and audiences – encounter Pteranodons with 20-foot wingspans, duck-billed Hadrosaurs and and one miffed T-rex momma, rendered in incredible detail on the giant IMAX® screen.

Tickets for the Aquarium (including the dinosaur exhibit) and an IMAX movie are $19.45 for adults, $17.95 for seniors 65+ and $14.45 children for 2-12.

And in the rollicking simulator ride-film, “Dino Island II: Escape from Dinosaur Island,” riders join an international team of scientists trying to save prehistoric animals from an island about to be destroyed by a volcano. From within an all-terrain/submersible vehicle, the team must deal with flowing lava, an angry Stegosaurus, a primordial swamp and Tony the T-rex.

The ride-film runs every 10 minutes. Riders must be 36 inches tall to board.

Tickets for the Aquarium (including the dinosaur exhibit) and ride-film are $19.20 adults, $18.20 for seniors 65+ and $16.20 children 2-12. Maritime Aquarium members pay $4.50.

For the full “Dinosaur Summer” triple play (Aquarium with dinosaur exhibit, IMAX and ride-film), tickets are $24.45 for adults, $22.95 for seniors 65+ and $19.45 for children 2-12.

For more information about The Maritime Aquarium’s exhibits, IMAX movies and programs this summer, go online to http://www.MaritimeAquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700.

Friends of the Norwalk Islands Cook-out Kayak Paddle Sunday August 21!

Experienced and novice kayakers are invited to join Friends of the Norwalk Islands for a day of exploration and a cook-out on Sunday, August 21. A guided Kayak Paddle to the Norwalk Islands will launch at 9:30 a.m. from The Small Boat Shop dock at 144 Water Street. Children (age 10 and above and weighing at least 100 pounds) are welcome to participate. Water safety and basic paddling techniques will be discussed before the tour to the Norwalk Islands begins.

“This is an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the Norwalk Islands,” says Susan Snider, president, Friends of the Norwalk Islands. “After launching, we will head down the Norwalk River into Long Island Sound. Weather permitting we will stop for a cook-out on Shea Island followed by a visit to Chimon Island to learn about the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and meet Elliot Sudal and Jason Wheeler, the island keepers who are living and working on Chimon this summer.”

The Small Boat Shop is sponsoring this kayak paddle to support Friends of the Norwalk Islands. The event fee of $105 includes a kayak, paddles and life jacket, plus a $25 donation to Friends of the Norwalk Islands. Reservations are required by calling Friends of the Norwalk Islands (203-849-8341) or The Small Boat Shop (203-854-5223) or visit http://www.TheSmallBoatShop.com/kayaktours2011.html .

Led by Snider, the Friends of the Norwalk Islands has partnered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conserve, protect and enhance the environmental, recreational and cultural significance of the Norwalk Islands and to promote the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Norwalk Islands of Chimon, Peach, Goose and Sheffield are part of the Norwalk Islands unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. To learn more, visit the web site at http://www.FriendsoftheNorwalkIslands.org