Winter Games, Stories, and Crafts Institute for American Indian Studies December 28 and December 29

Recognizing art and crafts, as an intrinsic and essential element of Native American life, the Institute for American Indian Studies is hosting a series of programs December 28, and 29 designed to foster a better understanding of the artistic and oral history of Native American culture.

If you have kids and are looking for an engaging activity in December, head to the Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington CT to participate in this series of programs that are sure to entertain and educate. Best of all, these programs are free with the price of admission; $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for children.

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, on December 28 and 29 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on each day the Institute has organized a special program that will feature traditional Native American games such as snow snake, snow boat, hoop and pole, keeper of the fire, and eagle eye. A special series of craft activities sure to help instill a sense of achievement and pride in children includes creating items such as cornhusk dolls, buzzers, or beading that kids can take home. One of the most looked forward to activities is storytime. Native American stories recount the history of indigenous people and are told to educate children about cultural morals and values. These stories offer valuable life lessons that are multigenerational, multicultural, and timeless.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

Mini-Worlds of Magic in New Milford

The whiz and whistle of toy trains are among the happiest sounds of the season and some of the most magical layouts anywhere can be found in New Milford.

One of the oldest traditions is the Hands-On Train Display in New Milford, celebrating its 29th anniversary this year. The set-up here is unique because visitors are allowed to play engineer, taking a turn at the controls, starting and stopping the action and operating signals and lights.

The layout transforms the waiting room of New Milford’s restored vintage train station into a Lilliputian landscape of hills, valleys and villages, with four big layouts of scale model Lionel trains crisscrossing miniature towns populated by tiny figures dressed in winter finery. The setup includes almost 100 feet of track. The trains operate Thursday – Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. December,22, 26, 27, 28, and 29.

This yearly free event is sponsored by the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce, www.newmilford-chamber.org.

Riding the Rails in Danbury

Santa also has his own private rail car weekend workshop at the Danbury Railway Museum, a classic 1903 station with a railroad yard filled with vintage train cars. Visitors can board one of the working trains on a 20-minute ride through the yard to visit with Santa and receive a small gift.

A miniature train layout and many fascinating railroad exhibits are waiting at the restored station, along with activities for kids including temporary tattoos, play and coloring stations. Once again there is a shop with gifts for railroad buffs of all ages.

The trains leaves from the station every half hour from 12:30 pm to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22 from 12 – 4 p.m. To experience the beautifully lite rail yard take the night trains on Saturday evenings at 4:30 pm and 5 pm. For tickets and information, www.Danbury.org or phone: (203) 778-8337.

Get On Board with Santa @ New England RR Museum

Did you know that Santa Claus loves trains? For proof, visit Western Connecticut where the man in red can be found presiding over weekend workshops in his own private rail cars and riding the rails with Mrs. Claus on his time off.
You can find Santa and Mrs. Claus taking a break every weekend from November 29 through December 22 aboard the Santa Express, a restored 1920s vintage train from the New England Railroad Museum in Thomaston. Even when he is off duty, Santa doesn’t forget his young admirers. He brings along a bag of gifts for small passengers.

This is a special outing for train buffs, the only rail ride in North America that crosses the face of a dam and the view from Thomaston Dam is spectacular. The 80-minute ride from the historic 1881 Thomaston Station also hugs the edge of the Naugatuck River, and passes through lovely state forest lands.

In this busy season, Santa often has to work late, and special Northern Lights Limited tours from Thomaston let passengers make a stop at Santa’s Train Workshop, where he makes time to come aboard and greet everyone.

At the end of the ride, a model train layout is in action at the station, and a large selection of railroad theme gifts, books, and memorabilia is available.

The Santa Express begins its runs on November 30, then every Saturday and Sunday through December 22 at 12 noon and 2:15 pm. The Northern Lights Limited departs on November 29 and 30 and December 1 at 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tickets and information are available from the Railroad Museum of New England, online at www.rmne.org, or by phoning (860) 283-7245.

For This Years Gift – Give An Experience – Wigwam Escape

Why give just a gift when you can give an experience…one that will take participants back centuries in the award-winning escape room – Wigwam Escape at the Institute for American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut.

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.

This highly acclaimed escape room was a feature pick for Yankee Magazine’s Travel Summer Guide and awarded “2019 Best Escape Room” by Connecticut Magazine. This extraordinary escape room was also a recipient of the prestigious Award of Merit, 2019 from the Connecticut League of History Organizations.

Wigwam Escape is the perfect gift for people that enjoy an adventure that challenges and educates at the same time. Best of all it provides a chance to bond with friends and family while using your puzzle-solving skills to beat the clock and escape the room.

Wigwam Escape Room gift certificates are available online at https://wigwamescape.org/book-now. For questions and any additional details call 860-868-0518. This is one gift that friends and family will be talking about for years to come!

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

Visit a Gingerbread Village in Middlebury

Gingerbread-making is a much-loved holiday ritual in Western Connecticut, where many unusual events celebrate this delicious tradition. This year visitors will have the chance to admire some amazing gingerbread creation like the Gingerbread Village at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Middlebury.

This is the 52nd year for the lavish gingerbread village at St. George’s Church in Middlebury, CT, a perennial family favorite. This room size creation opening on December 7 is created by members of the community and includes more than 60 gingerbread buildings iced in rainbow colors, with tasty details like candy cane pillars and M&M roofs. The village is complete with decorated trees, candy fences, horse and sleigh teams, ponds, boats, and sledders, all dressed in Christmas finery and all made of edible parts.

This year’s theme is Gingerbread Cinema! Everything is for sale, available to take home when the display ends on December 14. The event includes a Bazaar with homemade baked goods and crafts for sale and admission is free. On Sat. Dec. 7 and Sun. Dec. 8 the festival is open from 10 am to 7 pm; Monday, Dec. 9- Friday, Dec. 13 the hours are 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 and on Saturday, Dec. 14 the festival is open from 10 am to 4 pm. There is a breakfast buffet on the 14th from 8:30 am – 11 am and a luncheon from 11 am to 2:30 pm. For details, phone 203-758-9557 or https://www.gingerbreadvillagect.com/