The Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Connecticut was already one of the top 50 children’s museums in the country, but a recent large-scale renovation and re-opening has made it even better.
“Learning through play” is the motto of Stepping Stones, a Norwalk fixture enjoyed by Connecticut children for over a decade. The museum opened in 2000, and has been the destination for thousands of school and civic group field trips – all drawn by the immersive experience of learning, creativity and discovery that Stepping Stones offers.
The recent expansion more than doubled the size of Stepping Stones, making it one of the largest children’s museums in Connecticut. The highlight of the new space is the Stepping stones Energy Lab, where children learn about the science behind energy. There are hand-on labs devoted to solar, wind and water energy, plus a unique lab that explains the concepts behind coal, oil, natural gas and uranium.
The Energy Lab is a symbol of Stepping Stones’ commitment to environmental science. The renovated museum is itself a model of energy efficiency. The building includes solar panels, a wind turbine, and the natural insulation of vegetation growing on the roof!
Also new to Stepping Stones is a special area for the youngest children, Tot Town is unique among Connecticut’s children’s museums in that it is specifically for infants and toddlers. Museum administrators say the area was designed based on cutting edge research in early childhood learning. There are language exercises, exercise areas, and activities centered around animals, books and art.
Of course, many children around Norwalk, Connecticut have grown up on the Stepping Stones favorites – including the Color Coaster. This giant kinetic sculpture – over 27 feet high – is a thrilling 3D jumble of wheels, levers, springs and more. Behind the fun are key discoveries about motion and color and energy – but the kids will be enjoying themselves too much to realize all they are really learning.
Another of the new attractions at Stepping Stones is the Multimedia Gallery. Here, children can create their own content using cameras, audio equipment and lighting, then project their creations onto the massive screen more than 30 feet across. It’s the perfect interactive experience for children growing up in the digital age of online video, wifi, and social media.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children is located at 303 West Avenue in Norwalk, Connecticut – adjacent to Matthews Park – and is easily accessible from Interstate 95 at exits 14 North or 15 South. Stepping Stones is open seven days a week, and admission is $12. Memberships, with discounts and special privileges, are also available.