Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Might It Be Norwalk?


Among the many things we did last week, we went to the Stepping Stones Kids museum in Norwalk, CT. We've been there last winter, but with the reciprocal membership deal we get through our Life and Science Museum, we get in for free. So why not go and explore the place some more? 

Ok, it's a bit of a drive and I don't like that, across TZB and on I-95 through heavy traffic. Oh, well... But the museum was great! Funny, in the winter, when it was cold and dreary, M couldn't get enough of water play. But now, as the temps were hitting record highs, he didn't at all care for water fun and instead spent a huge chunk of time exploring wind tunnels and figuring out which pieces of foam would fly better.

The museum had a new exhibit about sound. It had some cool stuff in it, such as a theremin and several slapophones. But many of the things only made sense or worked if you read the instructions. So not very easy for pre-readers to explore independently. Plus I think a sound exhibit is best explored in relative quiet, something hard to come by at a kids museum.

The wonderful Animusic was still there and we spent about half an hour watching the vids while M was running around with other kids (and sometimes stopping to watch).

The big discovery was the outdoor playspace. We didn't get to check it out last winter since it was just too cold. This time around we did and it's just wonderful. There aren't many toys. Actually, there are no toys at all. Instead, there are these plastic and foam things that you can play with. Kids were turning them into tunnels, marble runs, castles, hideouts, obstacle courses, light sabers, what have you. It was so cool to observe how different children played differently with the same objects and how their imagination was working full throttle (something that I think doesn't get exercised enough with many other toys).

We had an idea to also check out the Aquarium which is just a couple of minutes away (albeit not easy to walk to). But it was getting late and we wanted to get back before serious traffic started on TZB. So instead we drove to East Norwalk for a stroll along the Long Island Sound. Ah, it was awesome even though a bit chilly and windy. I couldn't find a way to get to the Calf Pasture Beach since it appeared to be a part of a gated community. But we parked streetside and walked along the sound a bit. Parts of the waterfront there are private, but there are enough places for public access. So we got to the water and explored the tiny sandy beach for oyster shells.

The houses we walked by were beautiful too, sort of like straight out of a movie (in fact, both the original and the remake of Stepford Wives were filmed partially in Norwalk). So I started thinking about maybe moving there. And why not? It's only an hour or so from NYC and you can get to Manhattan on Metro-North. It's close to grandparents and cousins. It has a large Russian community, a good size homeschooling community, lots of interesting places, etc. The only thing is house prices and traffic. Hmm... Maybe in a few years... For now we'll just visit.

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