Lorikeets will be eating out of your hand!

There is still time to visit the Lorikeets and step into a lush aviary to share a laugh and a squawk with beautiful tropical birds that will sip food right out of your hands. The “Lorikeets” returns is the special summer exhibit at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk through September 1.

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The exhibit will feature more than 50 free-flying lorikeets, which are colorful medium-sized parrots native to the south Pacific (SE Asia, eastern Australia, Polynesia). The birds come in a dazzling rainbow of colors – with feathers that almost radiate an iridescent glow when seen in full sunlight. Lorikeets are naturally found in rainforests and woodlands, but also in wooded urban areas, where they primarily feed on the nectars of various blossoms and fruits.

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Visitors are invited to purchase a cup of nectar for $3 that will attract lorikeets to land on you while drinking creating an unforgettable experience and photo opportunity.

Lorikeets are specially adapted to their sweet nectar diet through their specialized tongue. Tiny hair-like appendages called papillae form a U shape on the end of the tongue. When the tongue is extended, these papillae stand up like bristles on a brush, expanding the tongue’s surface area and allowing the birds to easily soak up nectar. Unique to lorikeets, these papillae have earned the birds the nickname “brush-tongued parrots.”

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Some other important items to note about “Lorikeets”: • It will be handicapped-accessible but no strollers, please. • Guests will be asked to sanitize their hands before entering. • To encourage the birds to rest, the exhibit will close for a half-hour at 1:30 p.m. daily. • The exhibit will close 30 minutes before the rest of the Aquarium: at 5:30 p.m. in July and August.

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Get more details about “Lorikeets” and other summer offerings at The Maritime Aquarium, including the new IMAX movie “Journey to the South Pacific” by calling (203) 852-0700 or logging onto www.maritimeaquarium.org.

Concerts at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk

Each Wednesday night throughout the summer, music lovers can head to scenic Calf Pasture Beach on Calf Pasture Beach Road in Norwalk (06851) to enjoy an evening of free musical entertainment. If you don’t have a parking sticker for this beach, not to worry, there is a nominal $5.00 parking fee charged for cars without a Norwalk beach sticker.

Cash Kings
Cash Kings

To start off the month of August at 7 p.m. Cash is King is performing. Fans of the Man in Black will enjoy this recreation of performances by Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Three with June Carter Cash.

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The Classic Car Show is back on August 13 and begins at 6 p.m. This gathering of than 100 vehicles is hosted by the Coachmen Rod and Custom Club, an organization of men and women who enjoy classic cars. Owners of 1981 and older cars can participate in the shows, which attract owners from throughout the tri-state area. Each car show participant is asked to contribute canned food or make a donation to the St. Vincent De Paul food bank. At 7 p.m., Deja Vu will entertain the crowd. For ten years, this popular group has been performing “golden oldies” at events from New Haven to New York. The group includes Dominick Muro (lead vocals), Tony Masi (keyboards/lead vocals), Arthur Armstrong (lead vocals), George Gionios (saxophone/vocals), Rocco Castango (drums/vocals), John Skrensky (bass guitar/vocals) and Sal Salta (lead guitar/vocals).

Desert Highway
Desert Highway

Curious Creatures kick off the August 20 event at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a concert by Desert Highway. This is a passionate group of six talented professions who perform the rich vocal harmonies and intricate guitar styles made famous by The Eagles. The band includes Mike Green (lead vocals, guitars), Larry Lippman (lead vocals, drums), Carl Bova (bass, vocals), Rich Naso (guitars), Ed Betancourt (guitars, vocals) and Mitch Lieb (keyboards).

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On August 27 at 7 p.m. Back to the Garden 1969 will entertain concert goers. Spotlighting music from the Woodstock era, these seasoned musicians have toured, performed and recorded nationally. Each member of the band – Gary Adamson, Bob Fonseca, Mike Garner, Larry Kelly and Annie Masciando — plays multiple instruments and also is a lead vocalist.

For area information visit www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Summer Cruises to Sheffield Island

The recipe for a perfect summer night out is available every Friday night in July and August thanks to a partnership between the Norwalk Seaport Association, Mama’s Boy restaurant and the Norwalk Parking Authority. “Maritime Cruise and Cuisine” Fridays are returning for a third year offering participants a cruise around the Norwalk Islands followed by dinner at Mama’s Boy and convenient, safe parking at the Maritime Garage.

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The Maritime Cruise and Cuisine package includes a Norwalk Harbor sunset cruise with the Norwalk Seaport Association’s “CJ Toth” ferry, leaving from Sheffield Island Dock (located on the corner of Water St and Washington St) at 6:00 pm and returning at 8:00 pm. Guests then walk one block to Mama’s Boy Restaurant, featuring a gourmet twist on Southern food, located at 19 North Water Street, for a three-course meal. The package price is $57 per person plus reduced price parking of $2 for the evening at the Maritime Garage. Cruise and Cuisine Fridays run through August 29th.

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The Norwalk Seaport Association is also offering up plenty of family fun in late July and early August with the pirates at the lighthouse! The Pirates are coming to Sheffield Island on July 26 and 27 and August 2 and 3. Pirate Weekend activities are free, but participants must purchase round-trip ferry tickets to Sheffield Island. Tickets to the island are $22.00 for adults, $12.00 for children ages 4-12 and $5.00 for children age 3 and under, plus applicable service charge.

Bird watching Tours run through August 10 that offers visitors the experience to understand and explore the importance of Norwalk Islands and it’s many migratorial bird species. Larry Flynn, a master wildlife conservationist with DEEP will conduct these informative tours.

Scenic Cruises to Sheffield Island are offered through September. Trips to the island take visitors through the historic Norwalk Harbor area to the Island that offers unique views of the shoreline, a tour of the lighthouse and the chance to explore the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge or picnic on the beach. Tickets can be purchased online or at the dock. Remember to wear comfortable shoes with a closed heal or back strap; flip-flops are not allowed due to safety concerns.

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The boat leaves from the Sheffield Island Lighthouse dock located at the corner of North Water Street and Washington Street in Historic South Norwalk. Parking is available adjacent to the dock and at the Norwalk Maritime Center Garage.

For information and reservations, please call the Norwalk Seaport Association, 203-838-9444 or buy tickets online at www.seaport.org.

Tips on NYC at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion

On Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 11 a.m. at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, 295 West Avenue in Norwalk, CT, urban historian Justin Ferate will give a talk entitled, Nooks and Crannies of New York City. Based on his popular tours, this lecture will explore some of New York City’s great, but often overlooked, treasures.

Fonthill Castle.
Fonthill Castle.

Mr. Ferate will take attendees on a virtual tour through some of New York City’s rich, secretive landmarks, many unknown to even the most diehard New Yorkers. He will reveal fascinating, yet lesser-known points of interests in one of the most iconic cities in the world, including some of New York’s more offbeat treasures, secret gardens, hidden houses, and covert byways.

Justin Ferate is an internationally known guide and the Director of Tours of the City, a specialty tour company that has created educational tours of New York City, focusing on the architectural, social, ethnic, literary, and cultural histories of New York for over 30 years. He has a background in Architectural and Social History with a B.A. in Education from Antioch College with subsequent studies in Architectural History at the University of Washington, University of London, University of Pennsylvania, and Salve Regina College. Recently The AAA Guide to New York rated Ferate’s weekly tour of the Grand Central Terminal neighborhood as New York’s “Best Walking Tour!” The New York Times described Justin Ferate as New York City’s “revered city Tour Guide among Tour Guides.”

The lectures are $25 for members, $30 for non-members per session. Please RSVP by Friday, July 11, 2014. The price includes lecture, lunch and a first floor Mansion tour. Lunch is courtesy of Michael Gilmartin’s Outdoor Cookers. The chair of the Lecture Committee is Mimi Findlay of New Canaan. Please contact info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com or 203-838-9799, ext. 4.

Jiggle a Jelly at the Maritime Aquarium Norwalk

Apparently it’s a lot of fun to touch jellyfish when you know you won’t be stung. “Jiggle A Jelly” has become a permanent offering at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. The display, will now will be open on weekends, holidays and school-vacation days through June 30, and then daily in July and August. It’s free with Aquarium admission.

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Visitors will be able to experience the unusual sensation of touching jellies making Jiggle A Jelly’ one of the Aquarium regular hands-on features, along with their Intertidal Touch Tank and our Shark & Ray Touch Pool.

Visitors can safely touch live moon jellyfish, one of the most common species in Long Island Sound. Maritime Aquarium volunteers staff the exhibit, encouraging visitors to use two fingers to gently touch the top of the jellyfishes’ gelatinous body or “bell.”

Moon jellies (Aurelia aurita) do have tentacles but their stings are generally benign to people. A common species in Long Island Sound, they grow to dinner-plate size during the warmth of summer. Short tentacles rim their bell, and four “oral arms” extend underneath. Moon jellies are colorless and translucent, except for four central horseshoe-shaped reproductive organs.

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Letting visitors get close to jellyfish is nothing new for The Maritime Aquarium. A mesmerizing gallery featuring moon jellies, sea nettles, lion’s mane and other live species of jellyfish is now in its 19th year at the Aquarium and remains among the most popular and memorable exhibits.

Plus, displays of jellies in their various life stages in the Jellyfish Culture Lab let visitors see how the Aquarium keeps a year-round supply of the seasonal creatures on exhibit. But “Jiggle A Jelly” is the first time visitors have been able to touch them.

Learn more about the Aquarium’s exhibits, IMAX® movies and programs at www.maritimeaquarium.org or by calling (203) 852-0700. For information about Fairfield County www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

For the love of Trees in Norwalk – the annual Tree Festival

The Connecticut Tree Festival, Norwalk’s annual spring tribute to leafy greenery is set for Cranbury Park, located on Grumman Ave. on Saturday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.

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This family fun festival will be both entertaining and educational for the whole family with up to 40 exhibition booths on a U-shaped midway making it easy to explore. Best of all, this event is free, everything in the park is free to the public–admission, parking, door prizes, even a picnic-style lunch.

There are demonstrations of how trees are planted, trimmed and moved as well as information on how to care for trees. Bring a twig and leaf from home and look for the “Ask the Arborist” signs, certified arborists are on-site to help identify trees, foliage or unusual conditions. In a mid-day ceremony, an eastern redbud tree is to be planted to honor the late Dick Aime who died last year at age 93 after many years as secretary of the Norwalk Tree Alliance.

For kids there is face painting, scavenger hunts, and arts and crafts activities. A highlight of the event are the cherry-pickers located around the midway that offers kids rides to the tree tops and tells them about the importance of tree care.

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Popular exhibitors include: the Wolf Conservation Center from South Salem New York, Wildlife in Crisis of Weston, CT, Earthplace of Westport and Connecticut’s Search and Rescue dog team.

Appearing for the first time is the Art Academy of Weir Farm in Wilton with a booth on the midway and a display of arboreal art called “A Celebration of Trees” in the neighboring Gallaher Mansion.

For additional information about this event visit https://www.ioby.org/project/2014-connecticut-tree-festival. For information on Fairfield County visit www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

About Cranbury Park

This is an expansive parkland of 227 acres that has a series of wooded trails, and a challenging 18- hold disc golf course. Also on the grounds is the Gallager Mansion built in 1913 by industrialist/inventor Edward Beach Gallaher. This limestone Tudor Revival mansion is styled with carvings, stained-glass windows and Walnut paneled rooms. It includes a large terrace and adjacent garden that make it perfect venue for outdoor entertaining. It’s available to rent for meetings, events, luncheons and weddings. The Carriage House Arts Center is located adjacent to the mansion. Contact Recreation and Parks for details. (203) 854-7806 or http://www.norwalkct.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/1