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TODAY'S FAMILY & KIDS ACTIVITIES IN FAIRFIELD-DEC 23

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Daily activities for kids and the family are abound in Fairfield County! Whether you want to spend the day with your children at a zoo, a museum, or just outdoors, we've got it all here. Want to see what's going on next weekend or when you have those few days off? Check out the NY Metro Parents' calendar!

Winter Creature Cruises - Maritime Aquarium
December 23, 2012 - Norwalk

These cruises seek out the harbor seals, gray seals and even harp seals that have been coming down into the Sound in growing numbers each winter. Educators on board the research vessel Oceanic point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories. They'll also help identify such winter waterfowl as buffleheads, mergansers and Old Squaws. Bring binoculars and plenty of warm clothes. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Space is limited so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-up tickets will be sold, space permitting. The cruises depart from the dock outside the Aquarium's IMAX movie theater. For reservations or more details, call ext. 2206.

Rudolph and the Reindeer Games - Downtown Cabaret Theatre
December 23, 2012 - Bridgeport

The 73rd annual Reindeer Games features familiar names, characters along with music and dance. Santa's North Pole Team is hoping the odds are in their favor for the Games. Rudy, the young, new contestant who's a "chip off the old buck," looks like he may "sleigh" the competition, but five-time Champion Donner isn't giving up his title without a fight.

Lantern Light Tours - Mystic Seaport
December 23, 2012 - Mystic

Step back in time to Christmas Eve, 1876. The village of Greenmanville is alive with the bustle of last-minute Christmas activity, preparations for the holiday festivities, and the merry jingle of sleigh bells. Stroll with a townsperson as you take in a one-hour moving performance on a tour that meanders through the Museum's 19th-century maritime village. Reservations strongly encouraged.

Community Carol Sing - Mystic Seaport
December 23, 2012 - Mystic

Lift your voice in song at the 57th annual Community Carol Sing at Mystic Seaport. The Museum's carolers will perform a holiday concert in the Greenmanville Church. All contributions will be donated to and distributed by the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center.

CONNECTICUT BALLET PRESENTSTHE NUTCRACKER - The Palace Theater
December 23, 2012 - Stamford

The Connecticut Ballet's production features principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre and international stars along with falling snow, a gigantic Christmas tree and a cast of forty professional dancers.

Holiday Show & Boutique - Loft Artist Association
Through December 23, 2012 - Stamford

All kinds of items from artwork, to cards, bookmarks, ceramics, photography, silkscreened items, clothing and jewelry, will be available to the public over the holiday season.A portion of the proceeds will go to Laurel House, a non-profit organization that provides resources and opportunities for people living with mental illness, bridging the gap between isolation and community. Fridays-Sundays, December 6-December 23.

Breakfast with Frosty & Friends - Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo
December 23, 2012 - Bridgeport

Get in the holiday spirit and join Frosty and his friends for breakfast at Connecticut's only zoo. Reservations are required. Call Amanda Bolanos at (203) 394-6574. Price includes zoo admission and breakfast.

Family Art Project: Glittery Gift Baskets - Wave Hill
December 23, 2012 - Bronx

Make a basket from unusual materials for a lovely, seasonal container or work of art. Learn how to transform and recycle an ordinary carton into something fantastic using sparkles, gems, and more.

4th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa's Workshop - McArdle's Florist & Garden Center
Through December 24, 2012 - Greenwich

Families can visit Santa's live reindeer and have their photo taken with Santa at his workshop. Hours for the Photos with Santa are: Monday-Friday 12-5:30pm; Saturday 9am-5:30 pm; Sunday 9am-4pm. Reindeer feedings will take place daily, 9am-4pm. Reindeer facts and educational information about reindeer will also be available.

18th annual Holiday Gift Show - Rowayton Arts Center
Through December 24, 2012 - Rowayton

Unique holiday gifts, decorations and collectibles by some of Fairfield County's finest artists and craftspeople will be featured in this fundraiser that supports year-round education and other community programs at the Rowayton Arts Center.

Nature Explore Classroom - Bartlett Arboretum
Through December 31, 2012 - Stamford

Children are invited to spend unhurried hours exploring the natural world in a fun and safe environment. The outdoor classroom includes areas for art, music and movement, climbing and crawling, building, and playing. Additionally, the Bartlett features the best of what Connecticut's native landscape has to offer including wetlands and boardwalks, woodland walking trails, varied wildlife, and native habitats. February 6-December 31, 2012.

Recovery in Action - Barnum Museum
Through December 31, 2012 - Bridgeport

The museum is now partially reopened two days a week while reparations are made on the museum which was hit by a tornado in 2010. A unique exhibition, Recovery in Action, will be presented on Thursdays and Fridays in the People's United Bank Gallery. Visitors gain insight into the complexities of a disaster recovery in a museum setting. The museum's collection of unique artifacts, including Tom Thumb's miniature carriages and P.T. Barnum's ornate furniture, will be among the many items on view.

'The Little Engine That Could' Puppet Show - New York Botanical Garden
Through December 31, 2012 - Bronx

This classic tale is brought to life in a presentation by New York City-based puppet master Ralph Lee. The whole family can join the fun to get the determined train over the mountain.

Africa: From the Desert to the Sea - Maritime Aquarium
Through January 01, 2013 - Norwalk

Learn about the importance of habitat preservation and conservation while observing such exotic African species as the air-breathing lungfish and electric catfish that use bioelectric radar to sense surroundings and zap their food.

'The Polar Express' - IMAX Theater, Maritime Aquarium
Through January 01, 2013 - Norwalk

See this popular holiday film about a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus and gets taken on a magical Christmas Eve trip to the North Pole. Through January 1, 2013.

Traveling Exhibition: Strange Matter - Connecticut Science Center
Through January 01, 2013 - Hartford

Examine the always amazing and sometimes bizarre world of modern materials, providing a glimpse of where the future of materials research might take us in this 6,000 square-foot interactive exhibit.

Annual Holiday Express Train Show - Fairfield Museum and History Center
Through January 02, 2013 - Fairfield

Visit the annual Holiday Express Train Show, an exhibit of model trains winding around a decorated tree and through holiday scenery. Members of the Fairfield based Housatonic Model Railroad Club and the Connecticut G-Scalers Club are on hand to answer questions and point out details of the collectibles, classic trains, modular dioramas and antique trains in this holiday display. The show will run on weekends with special weekday hours between Christmas and New Years. Check the website for the weekday hours. Through January 2, 2012.

Native Voices: New England Tribal Families - Stepping Stones Museum
Through January 06, 2013 - Norwalk

This exhibit is an introduction to Native Americans living in New England today. By visiting five different communities from northern to southern New England, visitors learn about Native American traditions and how modern families balance contemporary life with preservation of important cultural identities through stories and songs.

Holiday Happenings at Stepping Stones - Stepping Stones Museum
Through January 06, 2013 - Norwalk

Enjoy sock skating, a life-sized igloo, festive train rides (weather permitting), caroling, decorative snowmen, a Celebrations Maze and visits with Santa, Frosty and other friends from the North Pole.

Robert Frost: Holiday Cards in the Perkin Gallery - Pequot Library
Through January 06, 2013 - Southport

Poet Robert Frost wrote original poetry for his holiday greeting cards. Many were illustrated by prominent artists, mostly working with woodblock prints. The cards were then printed by the Spiral Press, founded in 1926 by Joseph Blumenthal. These cards are on display thanks to Elinor Wilber, Robert Frost's granddaughter, who has loaned them to the Pequot Library for this exhibit.

Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney - Hudson River Museum
Through January 13, 2013 - Yonkers

In 100 books, Jerry Pinkney has turned his artist's eye and hand to the story - a classic, a folktale, a fable - and readers all over the world saw something new, something they wanted to read and to remember. Pinkney is the master of the American picture book. More than 120 watercolor illustrations by the artist, who lives in Westchester, will be on view in the first major overview of his career as a designer and illustrator in "Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney." The exhibition follows his 2010 award of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for "The Lion and the Mouse." The Hudson River Museum is the only New York showing for this exhibition on national tour, organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Pinkney has found it interesting to trace how the chapters of his life have knitted themselves into his art, touching on the cultural themes of the African-American experience. He uncovers, again and again, the energy in a small moment that surprisingly can change a life or turn an event in history. Most recently in his almost wordless adaptation of the Aesop fable, "The Lion and The Mouse," two creatures on a faraway African plain choose not the hard chase and bloody battle but, instead, exchange kindnesses. Fascinated with wildlife, Pinkney, in many books including "The Brer Rabbit" in "The Last Tales of Uncle Remus" shows us the human qualities of an animal as he shows us the animal in its natural setting. Pinkney, Philadelphia born and bred, and now a long-time New Yorker, has illustrated children's books since 1964, but it was not an easy path. Blacks were not expected to be able to forge careers in the art field. Trained as a commercial artist at a vocational school, he persisted and won a scholarship to the Philadelphia College of Art where his work took on the shading and detail for which he is now renowned, and he where he began to use color to convey mood and emotion. He has most often worked on children's books that celebrate multiculturalism and African-American heritage, as he took on the task of reshaping the perceptions of the stereotypes of blacks. He designed the first nine stamps of the US Postal Service's Black Heritage series. Art critics will look at the color of Pinkney's illustrations, the scarlet curve of Little Red Riding Hood's cloak, the golden blade of grass on the Serengeti plane. Sociologists will look at Pinkney the little boy, who without a visit to a museum or an art class, drew at home on the back of wallpaper samples. What the viewer will see though, in "The Art of Jerry Pinkney" is his wish: "It has always been my intent for my work to continue to breathe after publication. My hope is that (museum visitors) will believe that Jerry Pinkney cares deeply for people, making art, and visual storytelling." The exhibition includes a 96-page illustrated catalog that provides new scholarship into Pinkney's work in essays by the exhibition's co-curator Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Dr. Gerald L. Early, and others. On view through January 13, 2013.

Holiday Train Show - New York Botanical Garden
Through January 13, 2013 - Bronx

Marvel at the charming model trains and New York City landmark replicas, stroll the spectacular grounds, and decorate (and eat!) gingersnaps. Within the enchanting setting of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, model trains zip over bridges and past replicas of New York landmarks made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves. Show favorites include the original Yankee Stadium, Statue of Liberty, and Brooklyn Bridge. The Artist's Studio provides an insider's look at how the replicas are constructed as you get up close to G-gauge trains.

Sea Rex: Journey to a Prehistoric World - IMAX Theater, Maritime Aquarium
Through January 17, 2013 - Norwalk

Explore an underwater universe inhabited by such creatures as Liopleurodon and long-necked Elasmosaurss, enormous animals that were ruling the seas before dinosaurs conquered the earth. Encounter the gigantic Shonisaurus, the T-Rex of the sea. Through January 17, 2013.

To the Arctic - IMAX Theater, Maritime Aquarium
Through January 17, 2013 - Norwalk

The changing climate of the earth has effected people and animals that call the Artic home. See the impact on polar bears, a migrating herd of caribou and walruses. Meryl Streep narrates. Through January 17, 2013.

Born to Be Wild - Maritime Aquarium
Through January 17, 2013 - Norwalk

Academy-Award winner Morgan Freeman lends his voice to this film which follows orphaned baby orangutans and elephants, and the people who rescue and raise them for eventual release back into the wild. Through January 17, 2013.

Search for the Great Sharks - IMAX Theater, Maritime Aquarium
Through January 17, 2013 - Norwalk

Join shark experts Dr. Eugenie Clark and Rodney Fox on a round-the-globe expedition for close encounters with some of the world's largest sharks, including whale sharks and great whites. Swim with a whale shark (life-sized on the giant IMAX screen), witness the birth of a baby shark and see if Fox survives when dropped into great white-infested waters while inside a clear diving tube. Through January 17, 2013.

'Ice Age' to the Digital Age: The 3D Animation Art of Blue Sky Studios - Katonah Museum of Art
Through January 20, 2013 - Katonah

This unique interactive exhibition looks at the imaginative work of Greenwich, Connecticut-based Blue Sky Studios, a leader in the animation industry for over 20 years. Creator of such blockbuster films as the "Ice Age" series, "Robots," and "Rio," the studio prides itself on technical innovation, while retaining a strong narrative heart. '"Ice Age" to the Digital Age' will guide visitors through Blue Sky's entire process of creating computer-animated films: from initial concepts, storyboards, character design, background art, and three-dimensional modeling, to the highly technical work of animation, rigging, materials, lighting, special effects, and sound. In addition to final movie clips, the exhibition will feature rarely-seen original concept drawings, sculptural models, props, and digital stills. Interactive stations will allow visitors to sketch a scene or manipulate computer-generated images to better understand the innovative technology that brings the films to life. Katonah resident Chris Wedge, a co-founder of Blue Sky in 1987, believes that the secret to the studio's success is in its inventive process. In his view, the art challenges technology and technology inspires the art. The Museum will be turning all the galleries, including the Learning Center, over to this exhibit. There will be gallery talks with Blue Sky co-founder Chris Wedge and "Ice Age: Continental Drift" directors Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier, as well as a calendar of programming in partnership with the Jacob Burns Film Center. Details about these programs are available at katonahmuseum.org. The exhibition will be on view from Sunday, September 16, 2012 through January 20, 2013.

2012 Festival of Lighthouses Contest - Maritime Aquarium
Through January 21, 2013 - Norwalk

The Maritime Aquarium is decorated for the holidays with 24 hand-crafted lighthouses. Visitors can follow these homemade beacons through the galleries and cast a vote for their favorite. The builder of the lighthouse with the most votes will receive $1,500 at an awards ceremony on Jan. 25.

All Aboard with Bill Probert and Friends III - Stamford Museum and Nature Center
Through January 27, 2013 - Stamford

Bill Probert will be making an encore performance with his All Aboard LEGO train exhibition. He creates visual puns, pastoral scenes with unexpected surprises, and urban scenes where railroad tracks, weeds, carefully-tended gardens, and busy streets blend seamlessly into one another. A special feature in this year's exhibition will be the addition of four creations from winners of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center's All Aboard competition. LEGO enthusiasts in four age categories from five-years-old and up will be submitting entries for inclusion in the exhibition. Through January 27, 2013.

Visions of Gingerbread: The Sweetest Architects IV - Stamford Museum and Nature Center
Through January 27, 2013 - Stamford

See creative confections, consisting completely of edible materials, from the area?s bakers, chefs and caterers. Returning favorites, along with new competitors, will show off their gingerbread skills. Visitors will be able to vote for their Fan Favorite." Through January 27, 2013.

A PERSISTENT PASSION: The Art of Lora Eberly Ballou, 1870-1976 Places in a One Hundred Six Year Life - Old Town Hall Museum
Through January 31, 2013 - Stamford

A first time solo exhibition introducing the art and celebrating the life of Lora Eberly Ballou featuring a collection of over 30 floral arrangements and landscape oil paintings; an assemblage of personal effects; and a historical timeline documenting her 106 year life. September 27-January 31, 2013.

Westport Arts Center presents TOY DESIGN COMPETITION - Westport Arts Center
Through February 11, 2013 - Westport

Inspired by WAC's upcoming exhibition, "William Wegman: The Traveler," WAC seeks toy designs conceived by children ages 5-12 for a juried contest. Submit up to three concepts, be it a manipulative toy, action figures, game, or animated robots. A maximum level of creativity, playfulness, fantasy, humor, and imagination are strongly encouraged. Entries due February 11.

Promise of Freedom: The Emancipation Proclamation - Fairfield Museum and History Center
Through February 24, 2013 - Fairfield

Exhibit and programs commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and its significance over time, featuring Abraham Lincoln's signed copy, rare slavery artifacts, prints, political cartoons and more.

Seasons of Change: Global Warming in Your Backyard - Yale Peabody Museum
Through February 24, 2013 - New Haven

This interactive traveling exhibit illustrates how climate change is impacting the landscape of New England over the changing of the seasons. As you explore the exhibit, you'll get a chance to find out how climate change is affecting the people of New England; share your thoughts about what aspects you might miss most about New England's current climate; compare coastal flooding today with projections for the year 2100 and control a global climate change simulation. December 15 2012-February 24, 2013.

Let It Snow! Children's Book Art - BRUCE MUSEUM
Through February 24, 2013 - Greenwich

This family-friendly exhibition of winter scenes from children's books features more than thirty original artworks from favorite illustrators, including many living in the Connecticut region such as Lizzy Rockwell, Jennifer Thermes and Wendell Minor. The snowy season is depicted in vivid winter landscapes, frolicking animals, and popular sports and games such as sledding, ice skating, and snowball fights. Displayed works present the range of media available to illustrators, including pen and ink, colored pencil, oil, watercolor, gouache, papercut, collage, and digital media. December 1, 2012-February 24 ,2013.

Pajama Program - Office of the Superintendent - Bridgeport Public Schools
Through March 30, 2013 - Bridgeport

Help a child stay warm and cozy by donating new pajamas and/or a book. Pajama Program is a 501(3)c not-for-profit organization providing new pajamas and books to children many of whom are waiting to be adopted.

Magnificent Trees of The New York Botanical Garden - New York Botanical Garden
Through April 14, 2013 - Bronx

Larry Lederman, landscape photographer and member of NYBG's Board of Advisors, has spent years walking the garden grounds to observe and photograph trees and vistas in all seasons and at all times of day. Lush images featuring their diversity and visual impact are on view in the gallery space. The New York Botanical Garden is home to more than 30,000 trees, some in woodland, some in groves, and some standing in solitary majesty. Magnificent Trees is lavishly illustrated with photographs by Larry Lederman and accompanied by descriptions by Todd A. Forrest, Arthur Ross vice president for horticulture and living collections at the garden. An authority on the diverse species present across the 250-acre landscape, Forrest details their fascinating histories -- from their vital role in Native American life and culture to their function in neutral territory during the Revolutionary War. Lederman captures their grandeur in hundreds of stunning images and portrays their diversity with photographs that reveal the trees in myriad fascinating perspectives: in landscape views that convey the garden's genius loci; portraits illustrating the architecture and profound visual impact of select trees; remarkable details of flowers, fruit, leaves, and bark; and impressionistic images, abstract in character yet beautiful in composition.

Manolo Valdes Monumental Sculptures - The New York Botanical Garden
Through May 26, 2013 - Bronx

Drawing inspiration from the natural landscape of the Botanical Garden, seven towering sculptures by acclaimed Spanish artist Manolo Valdes showcase the relationship between art and nature.

Sensory Bounce - BounceU
Through September 28, 2013 - Stratford

This is a program for children and adults with sensory integration dysfunction, autism, and other disabilities with a sensory component. Teachers work on balance and coordination, auditory and tactile sensitivity, strength building, motor coordination, cooperative play, turn-taking, and social and verbal skills.


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