I have to say, I figured my 6 year old would love Stepping Stones but just didn’t know about my older two kids who are 10 and 12. As we got out of the car, I gave them the little ” just try to have a good time and let your little brother enjoy it” speech. I added that they “might like the color-coaster thingie” I had seen on the Stepping Stones website.
Boy, was I wrong.
The kids LOVED the color coaster. Especially my 12 year old. Well, I have to rewind and say that he is one of those kids obsessed with building things – a future engineer. He spends hours with his K’nex and was on the school robotics team. So I felt a glimpse into his future as he gazed at the Color Coaster and soaked in all the little complexities of it. So just what is a color coaster anyway? It’s like a giant ball track contraption with gears, lifts, levers and all sorts of paths that balls go around on. It has some hands-on interaction where the kids can lift a lever so they feel more involved in it. Even my 10 year old enjoyed and and of course, the little guy did.
When I peeled them away from there, with the word “water,” we headed into Energy Lab, the exciting, wet and wonderful exhibit which ended up being our personal favorite room in the museum.This room is a soaking wet mix of balls everywhere, water spouts, wind tunnels, basins, funnels, water rivers and lots of excitement. I really liked the feel of this fun room and even got in on the action by tossing balls into the funnel with some other Moms and Dads (hey, we’re all kids at heart). We spent a good hour there before moving on.
Making our way through the museum, we headed over to “Build it,” another exhibit with hands-on building,problem solving and inventing. And of course, kids are learning more than they ever realize when they are doing all these activities.
Next up was Healthyville, where kids got to peddle a bike, learn about body organs and various other senses. This was fun for me and anything “gross” is fun for the kids too (bodies are gross at this age, remember?) There’s quite a few hands-on exhibits here like learning how to floss on giant teeth and a pretend food station.
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The traveling exhibit, until September 8th , 2013, is Dinosaur Revolution where we got to navigate a giant maze, testing our knowledge of these prehistoric giants along the way with a mini rock wall at the end too.
In the back of the museum is the multi-media gallery. When we peeked in, there were lots of tots dancing around to a song on the giant screen. My kids quickly ran out proclaiming it’s for babies as most of the kids were the 3 and under in the room at that time. However, there is a stage and this is where the museum puts on shows throughout the year. Later that day was a Japanese drumming show.
Outside was the Celebration Courtyard with giant foam blocks the kids can build and create towers or courses to walk on and climb over. We didn’t stay long because it was over 95 degrees that day but I did like that it had a giant cover over the area so you weren’t in full sun. Looks like they also hold special performances throughout the year there.
There’s a Tot Town inside for the up-to 3 year olds which made me wistful and wishing for little ones again. I miss those days but am enjoying the discoveries we make as the kids grow!
There’s a very cute little gift shop at Stepping Stones as well and I managed to pick up a few birthday gifts for my 3 summer babies. Lots of nice educational choices.
I definitely think anyone with kids and within a reasonable drive of Stepping Stones should make the trip. I’ve been to 4 children’s museums now and honestly wish we had gone to more. Time goes fast and pretty soon kids want to go to the movies and mall with friends and these family fun days will be sorely missed. Since I’m a Mom who is big on learning outside the classroom setting, children’s museums are just of the learning adventures I love and recommend to every family.
If you’re headed to Norwalk, you can actually do the museum and the aquarium in one day if you need to. Head to Stepping Stones Museum as soon as they open at 10:00 and spend two to three hours there. The aquarium is a 2 minute drive away so you can go over there for lunch (a much better menu choice than the museum in my opinion , especially for adults) and then spend the rest of the day at the aquarium. Do check the IMAX theatre schedule first, since the movie is such a great part of the aquarium experience and is the largest IMAX in Connecticut.
Read more about our Maritime Aquarium adventures – if you have kids, it’s another stop you must make when in the Norwalk area!
Stepping Stones Museum for Children was generous enough to provide us with admission. All opinions and pictures are strictly my own.