Secret of Circles at Stepping Stones Museum for Children

What do a bagel, a ball and a banana all have in common? Cut them through the center and each one has a circle inside! Circles are extremely familiar because they are simply everywhere, but why? The solution to this mystery and many others can be found by exploring Secrets of Circles, a new 2,000-square foot exhibit at Stepping Stones Museum for Children through January 5, 2014.

Circles are pretty amazing shapes. If you look around, you’ll find them in the wheels of a car, the clocks on the wall, the Frisbees you play with or the tortillas on your table. So simple, and yet so incredibly powerful, the circle is found in many places in nature and has been used in many ways by people throughout time and across cultures. But why are they so ubiquitous? What makes them the best shape for both pizza and a barrel? What other secrets can they possibly have?

Discover the secrets at Stepping Stones this fall. Explore this intriguing phenomenon with eighteen interactive, original components that place visitors at the center of experiences rich with the math, science, engineering, and beauty of circles. Whether you are drawing a perfect glow-in-the-dark circle at the Compass Table or building your own gear contraptions in Gear UP!, children and adults alike are uncovering the properties of a simple shape with powerful applications.

Circles are one of the first shapes that very young children learn to identify. As children get older, studying circles helps them understand basic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) concepts. The exhibit is not only educational, but provides hands-on activities that are really fun for children and families.

Secrets of Circles is designed to intrigue a wide range of ages, as well as visitors from different backgrounds. Signage is tri-lingual, (English, Spanish, and Vietnamese) and spaces are wheelchair accessible. The rich colors, beautiful bamboo plywood, eco-friendly building materials, and cultural and historical artifacts within the exhibit represent people and circles from around the world and over time. The exhibit will inspire many questions and encourage further investigation.

Visit Secrets of Circles and your world will suddenly be transformed into a delicious puzzle for your investigation. After all, circles are everywhere, and each circle has a secret for you to uncover!

ABOUT STEPPING STONES MUSUEM FOR CHILDREN

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501 (c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. For more information about Stepping Stones, to book a field trip or schedule a class, workshop or facility rental call 203-899-0606 or visit http://www.steppingstonesmuseum.org.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is located at 303 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT, exit 14 North and 15 South off I-95. Museum hours are: Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm; and Labor Day through Memorial Day, Tuesday—Sunday and holiday Mondays from 10 am-5pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org or call 203 899 0606.

FAMILY FUN IS GUARANTEED, RAIN OR SHINE IN LITCHFIELD HILLS AND FAIRFIELD COUNTY

When the beach outing or the picnic is rained out, what to do with restless kids on a wet summer weekend? Plenty of possibilities await in Western Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County, where special indoor exhibits from bats to dinosaurs to a working carousel are guaranteed to bring smiles. Families can join a workshop learning how to make their own clocks or even have a “stay-cation” at a resort with an indoor water park.

FAIRFIELD COUNTY FUN
Fairfield County’s perennial family favorite museums are offering special don’t-miss exhibitions this summer.

meercats and kids copy

In Norwalk, the Maritime Aquarium is featuring Africa: From the Desert to the Sea, starring amazing creatures from exotic fish to adorable meerkats, geckos and awesome giant boas. Playful meerkats are a favorite, and special windows allow following them into their underground burrows. A viewing bubble even lets young visitors stand up right among the meerkats. www.maritimeaquarium.org.

Not far away in Norwalk at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Dinosaur Revolution, a special exhibit through September 8, lets youngsters uncover fossils and facts about dinosaurs as they navigate a giant maze. www.steppingstonesmuseum.org

Big Chicken by Clementine Hunter Minnesota Children’s Museum
Big Chicken by Clementine Hunter Minnesota Children’s Museum

The Stamford Museum and Nature Center has a new exhibit through September 2 called Masters of the Night, starring bats, those mysterious and often misunderstood mammals. Visitors can try out a variety of fun and informative interactive stations featuring life-like models, such as “Bat Ears,” “Feast in Flight,” and the “Echo – Echo Unit.” www.stamfordmuseum.org.

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In Greenwich, Eggs-hibition: Unscrambling Their History at the Bruce Museum through October 20 promises to enthrall all with its array of bird eggs, edible eggs, and eggs both ugly and beautiful. www.brucemuseum.org.

LITCHFIELD HILLS TREATS

A ride on an old-fashioned merry-go-round is a treat for all ages, and it is included in the price of admission at the Carousel Museum in Bristol. This unique museum offers one of largest collections of antique carousel pieces in the country in its “Golden Age of the Carousel” exhibit. Visitors also see the workshop where antique carousel creations are restored. Upstairs, a Museum of Fire history awaits and the museum includes a changing art gallery and a children’s craft center, as well. www.thecarouselmuseum.org.

New England Carousel Museum
New England Carousel Museum

Waterbury’s Timexpo: The Timex Museum is a fascinating place for older kids with its Time Tunnel and a colorful history of watch making. Fun for all is the museum’s Make A Clock workshops offered every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop participants choose among many designs, decorate and assemble their own working clock. http://timexpo.com.

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Waterbury also offers a unique splurge solution for a rainy weekend. It is always 84 degrees and sunny at the Coco Key Water Resort and Conference Center, where a 50,000 square foot indoor water playground offers an Adventure River, water slides, raft rides, activity pools with water basketball and the Parrot’s Perch Interactive Play Island with a special shallow Kiddie Entry Area. If you don’t want to stay the night, day passes are available. www.cocokeywaterbury.com.

For more information about family activities and a free copy of UNWIND, a full-color,
152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in
Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968,
Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.litchfieldhills.com and www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

African Penguins Return to Maritime Aquarium At Norwalk through April 22

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is bringing back one of the most popular species it’s ever displayed: African penguins, who will waddle in for a celebratory encore exhibit through April 22, 2013.

Aquar.AfricanPenguin

African Penguins” will be open through April 22 in an outdoor exhibit on the Aquarium’s riverfront courtyard. It’s free with admission. The small colony of penguins will be on loan from the Leo Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich (www.LEOzoo.org).

Educating visitors on where penguins live may be one of the first basic goals of the exhibit. None of them live at the North Pole, or with Eskimos or polar bears. Some species do live in Antarctica. But many penguins can be found in warmer climates of the southern hemisphere, like African penguins in South Africa and several species that live up the western coast of South America, all the way to the equator and the Galapagos Islands. The African penguins – whose conservation status is listed as endangered – will help call attention to Africa’s troubled coastal environments, which receive far less conservation protection than the continent’s inland savannahs, plains and jungles.

African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) stand about two feet tall and weigh 8 pounds. They’re recognizable by the black stripe that loops up across their chest and their pink “eyebrows.” The pink “eyebrows” actually are an adaptation that helps them to survive in a warmer habitat like South Africa – or Norwalk. The “eyebrows” are featherless patches with lots of blood vessels underneath. When a penguin gets too hot, these patches get brighter as the penguin circulates more blood there to dissipate body heat.

African penguins also have evolved shorter feathers because, unlike Antarctic species, they do not face extreme cold.

The previous penguins exhibit at the Aquarium was open from February 2009-December 2010. For more details about The Maritime Aquarium’s exhibits, programs and IMAX movies, go to http://www.maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700.