Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Makes the Holidays Merry and Bright at Breakfast with Frosty and Friends

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo located on 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, has a longtime family tradition: Breakfast with Frosty! A full buffet breakfast in the Carousel Building includes a visit with Santa and his elf, photo opportunities with Frosty the Snowman, Stripes the Tiger, and Thirsty the Penguin, carousel rides and lots of family fun. These breakfasts sell out every year, but there’s still time for local families from around the region to enjoy the holidays at the Zoo! Pre-Registration is required: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/breakfast-with-frosty.html

Breakfast with Frosty requires online reservation & pre-payment is required to attend. All days but December 14th are $20 per person for Zoo Members and $25 per person for non-Members. December 14 (Special Activities Day!) prices are $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Children 2 years old and younger are free.

Frosty will be visiting the Zoo on Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15 and Saturday and Sunday, December 21 and 22. In addition to Frosty the Snowman, kids will visit with Santa Claus and his Head Elf, Stripes the Tiger, and Thirsty the Penguin

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 97th year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, Mexican and Red wolves, and Golden Lion tamarin. Other highlights include our Spider Monkey Habitat, the Natt Family Red Panda Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, plus the Pampas Plains featuring maned wolves, Chacoan peccaries and Giant anteaters. Guests can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful, indoor carousel. For more information, visit beardsleyzoo.org.

Images – Jack Bradley

Cider, Cookies and Shopping @ Fairfield Museum and History Center

This weekend, the Fairfield Museum and History Center located on Beach Street is offering several exciting promotions. On Saturday, November 30 they are celebrating small business Saturday by offering a card special.  Folks visiting the museum gift shop, which is chock full of goodies who purchase five packs of cards by Onion Hill by Kassie Foss will get one free! 

The fun ramps up on Sunday, December 1 when the museum store will give visitors a reusable Fairfield Museum shopping bag and a limited edition Woodberry pewter ornament with every purchase while supplies last. 

To add to the festivities, the Fairfield Museum and History Center is offering free cookies and cider all weekend long. The shop is located at 370 Beach Street and is open from 10 am to 4 pm with plenty of on-site parking.  Another perk is that the museum never charged sales tax! 

Save the date for the Holiday Express Train opening night on December 6 from 5 pm to 8 pm that is kicked off with the tree lighting on the Fairfield Green. The hours for the Holiday Express Train are Monday – Thursday 10am – 1pm, Special Friday Evening Hours: 10am – 7pm, Saturdays & Sundays: 10am – 4pm, December 23, 24, 26, 30 and 31: 10am – 4pm, Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Dreaming of a White Christmas at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury

A flurry of fun is in the forecast for Waterbury when the Palace Theater presents five performances of IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS, the acclaimed stage adaptation of the beloved classic film, Nov. 6-8, 2015. The Palace Theater will serve as the first stop on the production’s National Tour, which will be traveling Knoxville, Newport, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Providence, Rochester and Schenectady during the 2015 holiday season.

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Tickets for the Webster Bank Broadway series presentation are $69, $62, and $53 and can be purchased online at www.palacetheaterct.org, by phone at 203-346-2000, or in person at the Box Office, 100 East Main St.

IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the bargain. Full of dancing, romance, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, including “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies,” and the unforgettable title song, IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS promises to be a merry and bright experience for the entire family.

Before the Friday, Nov. 6, performance, the Palace will host a 6p.m. pre-fixe, four-course dinner in the Poli Club, located on the mezzanine level of the theater. Dinner is $62.50 per person, which includes tax, service fees, coffee, and tea. A cash bar is also available. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made when purchasing tickets through the Box Office.

The show’s Nation Tour will star Sean Montgomery as “Bob Wallace,” Jeremy Benton as “Phil Davis,” Kerry Conte as “Betty Haynes,” and Kelly Sheehan as “Judy Haynes.” Also featured are Pamela Myers as “Martha Watson,” Conrad John Schuck as “General Waverly”, David Perlman as “Ralph Sheldrake,” Ravi Roth as “Mike Nulty,” Cliff Bemis as “Ezekiel Foster,” and Elizabeth Crawford and Samantha Penny as “Susan Waverly.” Rounding out the cast are Maria Rose Briggs, Darien Crago, Elish Conlon, Laurie DiFilippo, Joe Grandy, Drew Humphrey, Bryan Hunt, Megan Kelley, Connor McRory, Bryan Charles Moore, Kristyn Pope, Jake Primmerman, Sean Quinn, Rachel Rhodes-Devey, and Kelly Skidmore.

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The creative team for the National Tour includes direction and choreography by Randy Skinner (Tony Award® Nomination, Best Choreography); book by David Ives (Finnian’s Rainbow, On the Town) and Paul Blake (Producer, Beautiful-The Carole King Musical); set design by Anna Louizos (Avenue Q, In The Heights); set adaptation by Kenneth Foy; costumes by Carrie Robbins (A Class Act); lighting design by Ken Billington (The Drowsy Chaperone, Annie); sound design by Keith Caggiano; orchestrations by Larry Blank (Tony Award® nomination, Best Orchestrations); vocal and additional arrangements by Bruce Pomahac; music direction by Michael Horsley; casting by Binder Casting/Jason Styres, CSA. Original Broadway production directed by Walter Bobbie.

For more area event information www.litchfieldhills.com

photo credit Kevin White

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

The countdown to the holidays has begun! If you are trying to think of some off-the-beaten-track gift ideas, for special friends and family, below you will find a list of suggestions. So, if you are looking for a unique gift, you might want to check out the following institutions that work hard all year round to make our lives more culturally fulfilling.

The Fairfield Museum and History Center www.fairfieldhistory.org Gift Shop can be the ideal spot to find all of the gifts on one’s list or special last-minute treasures. The shop, which will be opened until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, offers a range of unusual Christmas ornaments and stocking stuffers along with jewelry, books, note cards and a host of children’s gifts. If you want to buy local, Fairfield artisans and jewelry manufacturers have created about 25% of the inventory. Museum members have already received a 20 percent discount card through the mail and non-members visiting the shop can still pick up a 20 percent discount card. All shop proceeds support the Museum’s exhibitions and education programs and new members receive a 10 percent discount.

The Westport Historical Society www.westporthistory.org offers a wonderful range of products including beautifully framed pictures, Westport dish towels, glass blown ornaments, jewelry, sweatshirts, books, mugs, stationary, postcards, and a new Westport calendar for 2012. Best of all there is no tax on anything you buy! The shop is open 10 to 4 Mon.- Fri. and Sat. noon to 4.

The New England Carousel Museum www.thecarouselmuseum.org in Bristol offers a whimsical selection of carousel themed pieces, woodcarvings, books, Victorian gifts, jewelry, quilts, prints, and paintings. They even offer full size reproduction hand carved carousel pieces! The gift shop is open during Carousel Museum hours, Monday thru Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm. The Museum is located at 95 Riverside Avenue in Bristol, 860-585-5411.

The Bruce Museum www.brucemuseum.org in Greenwich is offers a unique blend of gift ideas from science kits for young experimenters and Josh Simpson contemporary glass planets, an other-worldly gift; to Jewelry from the sublime to the whimsical and Geode bookends for literature lovers. The gift of membership to The Bruce Museum is 50% off. Holiday shopping hours are: Tues. – Sat., 10 am – 4:30 pm, Sunday, 1 pm – 4:30 pm, and Mon., Dec. 19, 10 am – 12 noon.

The Bartlett Arboretum on 151 Brookdale Rd. Stamford www.bartlettarboretum.org is offering a stunning four season calendar that features beautiful images from the photography club of lower Fairfield County as well as a number of gift certificates that can be used for classes, events, plant sales and in the gift shop. A give one and get one free family membership to the Bartlett is being offered through 12/31/11 (please note, limit one per customer). This is a great way to save 50% and give a gift that will be treasured throughout the year.

If you are looking for original artwork, stop in at the Greenwich Historical Society’s Storehouse Gallery Shop www.hstg.org that is hosting a sale of works by 2011′s Greenwich Community artists through January 25, 2012. Art in a variety of media from paintings to photography to sculpture will be on sale and may be taken as soon as it is purchased. Fresh works will replace the pieces that are sold throughout the holiday shopping season. Buy one of these beautiful creations as a gift, and you’ll not only be able to bestow something totally unique, you’ll support the Historical Society as well.

For racing fans, Lime Rock Park, the Road Racing Center of the East in Lime Rock CT is offering a holiday 15% discount for 2012 events at the Park through Dec. 31! By ordering online www.Tickets.limerock.com or by calling 860.435.5000, you can save 15% on all General Admission tickets for 2012. If you purchase Lime Rock Park tickets and Season Passes before December 31 you won’t have to pay the new 10% surcharge.

Just in case it’s fallen off your radar screen, starting January 1, 2012, the state of Connecticut requires most entertainment venues, including Connecticut’s race tracks, to collect a 10% Admissions Tax on tickets, whether purchased in advance or at the gate.

Happy Shopping!

Lime Rock Park’s Christmas Holiday Discount Ticket Sale is Underway!

Lime Rock Park, the Road Racing Center of the East is offering special discounts for 2012 this holiday season! By ordering online (http://tickets.limerock.com) or over the phone (860.435.5000), you can save 15% on all General Admission tickets for 2012.

You can even buy a 2012 Season Pass, which gets you into the track every day of every major event. That’s 12 days of admission, plus three SCCA Race Days, PLUS Premium Parking, for just $230. (That’s a $156 savings compared to the gate weekend ticket prices!) Doesn’t that sound like a great Holiday Gift? If you are undecided, you can even purchase a Lime Rock Park gift certificate in any dollar amount.

If you are looking for something really unique and unusual for the person that has everything… then you might want to consider two of Lime Rock Park’s “high-end” offerings!

Do you know someone on your shopping list who’s been dying to drive on Lime Rock Park’s famous track? Why not surprise that person with a BYOC Track Day, courtesy of the private Lime Rock Drivers Club. BYOC? That’s “Bring Your Own Car!” Yes, for $995, you get a gift certificate for four hours of track time, driving your car, coached the whole time by a racing driver/instructor. Lime Rock will provide a wonderful lunch and will even provide the helmet. If you have a “car nut” that you’re buying a Christmas present for, this tops the list.

Another option is to make someone a member of the aptly named “Insider’s Club”. For every race day of every major event, Insider’s Club members get the VIP treatment in the beautiful Lime Rock Chalet, near the top of the Infield Spectator Hill. “Insiders” get wonderful catered food beautifully presented by Lime Rock’s own chefs, terrific personal service, souvenir programs, VIP Parking… and even the chance to get to know some of the more famous Insider’s Club members such as Sam Posey and John Fitch. Only a small, limited number of Insider’s Club memberships are available every year at $975, so if this sounds appealing, call soon. This will be a gift that will be appreciated all year long!


Looking ahead to 2012 Lime Rock has already scheduled the following events:

May 25-27- * Sports Car Championships (main event Trans-Am) & Royals Car Show

July 6-7- (no Monday races) * American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Northeast Grand Prix

July 21- Ferrari Challenge

Aug. 31 – Sept. 3- Historic Festival 30 & Sunday in the Park Concours

September 28-29 – * Grand-Am Rolex Championship Finale

HOLIDAY SPIRIT GETS AN EARLY START IN THE LITCHFIELD HILLS – Dec. 2 and 3!

One good place to start is Connecticut’s own little town of Bethlehem, a quaint, village that is transformed each December, when it becomes New England’s favorite Christmas Town. Thousands of visitors arrive to mail their Christmas cards with a Bethlehem postmark and to enjoy the 30th annual gala Christmas Town Festival, set this year for Friday night December 2 and Saturday, December 3. The town green is transformed for the occasion with some 70 vendors offering crafts and good food. Bring the family for musical entertainment, hayrides and the chance for a photo with Santa. Find the complete schedule at www.christmastownfestival.com

Bethlehem’s historic Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden will be festively decorated for the weekend, with themed decorations in each of the first floor rooms. Children will enjoy games, prizes and surprises and refreshments in the Visitor’s Center. This house will be open during festival hours, December 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and December 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For details, phone (203) 266-7596.

Bethlehem also offers the chance to visit a rare museum-quality 18th century Neapolitan Crèche housed in a barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. Check the hours at abbeyofreginalaudis.com.

Family Fun

Kids will love the Grinch Festival a the Imagine Nation Children’s Museum in Bristol on December 2, where the Dr. Seuss world of Whoville, complete with crafts, sing-alongs and special visitors–including the Grinch. www.imaginenation.org

December 3 marks the opening of the Winter Indian Arts & Craft Market at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, and from 1 to 2 p.m. parents can shop in peace while their children are happily occupied making cornhusk holiday angels to decorate the tree at home. The market continues the whole month of December. www.birdstone.org

More holiday ornament-making for kids will take place at the Sharon Tree Lighting on the green and Sharon Historical Society Open House starting at 4:45 on December 3. Everyone is invited to enjoy hot chocolate and homemade cookies furnished by Sharon residents at the society’s headquarters, the historic Gay-Hoyt House, which is beautifully decorated for the occasion. www.sharonhist.org

The Merwinsville Hotel and Museum is transformed into a winter wonderland every year for Christmas in Gaylordsville, a world of snow villages, model trains around the Christmas tree, caroler’s displays of snow globes, nutcrackers and music boxes. Art, crafts, jewelry, weavings, birdhouses, and photography by local artists are among the tempting items for sale. A special Story Time for children will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 11AM. www.gaylordsville.org

Festive Shopping

This will be the 22nd year for St. John’s Bazaar in Woodbury December 2 and 3. A live auction will take place at Friday night’s preview party, with offerings such as a week in Tuscany or a Nantucket getaway. The Bazaar continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with festive gift shopping and delicious treats from the famous St. John’s Larder. www.stjohnwoodbury.org

Another favorite historic celebration is the annual Holiday Festival at the Glebe House in Woodbury, also Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3. Free tours will be offered of the museum house, beautifully decorated for the holidays with wreaths, holiday lighting, and garlands, all for sale. A bazaar offers many original gift ideas. www.theglebehouse.org

The Holiday Tea at the historic Rider House is a happy tradition presented by the Danbury Museum and Historical Society from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on December 3. A variety of teas and an assortment of sandwiches, savories and sweets will be served and the Danbury Museum’s Holiday Bazaar will be open with a host of gift ideas. Reservations are required–space is limited. Call (203) 723-5200 for further information.

The Bethel Holiday Craft Festival at The Best Western Berkshire Inn on December 3 will be another opportunity to find unique gifts made by many talented artisans. Phone (203) 261-2414 for hours.