(Subscribe to The Brass File to get it e-mailed free to your in-box by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. Thank you.)

Column By Chelsea Murray Kaneb

When the Omicron variant swept across the country it became harder to find exciting outdoor-only activities to enjoy with my unvaccinated toddler. Going for walks in the woods and backyard explorations are our go-to adventures, but it’s awesome when we find a safe event to help spice up our lives; an outdoor festival, a farm visit or a trip to the zoo.

Thank goodness that here in Connecticut we have the Beardsley Zoo, in Bridgeport. It’s a beautiful, fun, educational and safe space during the pandemic for my little animal-lover to explore. Most of the zoo experience is outside, with the exception of a few optional indoor spaces, and it’s open daily from 9-4 PM.

Halfway through the Omicon spike we were going stir crazy, so we bundled up and headed to the Beardsley Zoo in mid-February. The admission tickets need to be purchased online as part of their COVID safety protocols, unless you are a zoo member.

The zoo is thoroughly cleaned prior to opening their gates at 9 AM, the restrooms are cleaned multiple times throughout the day and mask wearing is enforced in indoor spaces and anywhere that social distancing can’t be adhered to.

Before heading down to the zoo, check the website or call to make sure they are open, especially on stormy winter days because zoo animals get snow days sometimes. Every visit to the zoo (we’ve been five times in her 18 months airside) my daughter finds something else that sparks her imagination, and this past time she was crazy about the wolves. She was fascinated watching them pace back and forth as they waited for the zookeeper to feed them. My daughter loved watching the wolves tear into the bones, just like our dog, Tashi.

Zoe tried her best to communicate with the wolves by howling and barking. She’s also enamored with the gorgeous, female Amur Tiger saying “wow” as the cat sauntered by and squeaking out sweet little roars to try and get her attention.

Seeing these creatures in 3-D really helps the wheels turn in her little head and brings the pictures in her books and her little wooden, plastic and stuffed animals to life.

Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed Central Park in Manhattan and Fulton Park in Waterbury, also designed Beardsley Park. The zoo started out in 1922 with the mission to acquire as many animals as possible, including an Indian elephant, but eventually changed course to showcase animals in exhibits reflective of their native habitats and focus on conservation.

Many people argue that animals belong in the wild, but animal experts, including one of our family’s personal heroes, Dr. Jane Goodall, will admit that animals are facing many challenges in the wild, so a well-cared for zoo exhibit with zoo keepers that truly love them, adoring fans to support them, with plenty of space and enrichment material are all positives.

It’s true there are heinous animal parks and zoos around the world, including some in the United States like the vile tiger center depicted in the Netflix documentary Tiger King. Those types of places should not be allowed to stay open, but they are vastly different than a reputable zoo that is taking steps to not only care for the animals in their park, but to help with conservation of the species through breeding programs and habitat rehabilitation.

Animals in an accredited zoo are ambassadors for their wild relatives. They impact the people that visit them at the zoo who inspired often take action to help protect them and conserve the natural habitat.

The Beardsley Zoo has over 100 species including many endangered and critically endangered ones like the Amur Tiger, Amur Leopard, Andean Condors, Golden Lion Tamarin, Red Wolves (with only 30 existing in the wild) and a small pack of Mexican Wolves.

The Beardsley Zoo has successfully bred many endangered animals over the years, including two Amur Tiger cubs a few years ago.

A visit to the zoo provides excitement for the senses; hearing the animals make noises, seeing them on the move, taking in their unique aromas, and learning about them from zoo experts can help visitors find a deeper understanding and love for wildlife. It can help instill in a child a life-long love and respect for wildlife, and fire a hunger to want to help those animals survive for generations to come.

According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, visiting zoos and aquariums is the largest recreational activity in the United States with more than 175 million people visiting them each year. The Beardsley Zoo specifically hosted 300,000 people back in 2019, and this year as they celebrate their 100th year, they hope to welcome even more. We’re happy to join the party and add to that number not only as guests but as zoo members. We chose to go in the off-hours during the week when most children are in school. The day we visited in early February was on a Tuesday morning. It was sunny and 50 degrees outside and there were not more than a dozen visitors inside the zoo.

It was perfect.

The Beardsley Zoo website states “When so many of even our youngest guests appear to have the world at their fingertips through computers and smart phones, it becomes even more important to present them with ways to get face-to-face with our world’s wildlife. More than ever before, we need young people to learn first-hand about nature, and the critical need to protect our natural resources: animal, plant, water, air, and soil.”

And as a mother of a curious, young aspiring Dr. Doolittle, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Check out Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo website for up to date information about their centennial happenings. You can also take a peek at the web cams for the Red Panda, River Otters and Spider Monkeys from the comfort of your own home: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/

Other Events and happenings……

Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury Events:

*Story Time @ The MATT : “She Persisted”– Join for a reading of She Persisted, written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, during Women’s History Month on March 12 at 11 a.m. Learn about 13 different women of all backgrounds that were instrumental to our history.

*The Village Project- The exhibit will be from March 13, 2022 – May 8, 2022 with an opening event on March 20th. An installation by artists Denise Minnerly and Don Bracken that addresses the various perceptions and understandings of what a house means to all people. Hundreds of participants from the Waterbury community have worked with the artists over the last year to explore ideas around home, community, and identity. Using clay they each created their sculpture of ‘home’ which will be installed at the museum under a large, collaboratively-constructed vine sculpture representing our bonds with community, home, and nature. The collaborative endeavor illustrates both community and individual identity when displayed as one village.

*Two for the Road: Ernest Roth and Andre Smith in Europe- The exhibit will be from March 20, 2022 – May 15, 2022 with an opening event also on March 20th. Organized by guest curator Eric Denker, Senior Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, this exhibition tells the story of two American printmakers who were friends for fifty years, Ernest David Roth (1879-1964) and Jules André Smith (1880-1959). Some of the two artists’ most remarkable work was inspired by their early travels together. The multiple sketching trips to Europe they made between 1913 and 1930 particularly attest to their close fellowship. This exhibition of over 100 works that follow their travels throughout Europe, includes 17 sketches, and two etched plates, as well as prints by their friend, artist John Taylor Arms.

Palace Theater in Waterbury Events:

* Mister Wonderland– March 26, 2022- Discover the life of the great theatrical impresario Sylvester Z. Poli, who built the beautiful Palace Theater in 1922. Mister Wonderland recounts the remarkable story of Sylvester Z. Poli, a humble artisan who emigrated from Italy to America at the end of the 19th century — only to become the greatest theater impresario of his time. The film chronicles his journey from rural Tuscany to the bright lights of the Roaring Twenties, revealing how a migrant’s ingenuity shaped the movie-going experience as we know it. Crossing continents and generations, Mister Wonderland sets out to find what remains today of Sylvester’s theaters and the communities they used to serve. A champagne toast and a short speaking program by the Palace Theater CEO Frank Tavera, Board Chairman Dr. Peter Jacoby, and other local dignitaries will precede the documentary. Free popcorn will be available. This is the rescheduled date of the postponed January 2022 engagement. All previously purchased tickets to this presentation through the Palace Theater will be honored on this new date. If there is a conflict with this new date, the Box Office will be happy to address any issues. The tickets are FREE and doors open at 12:30 (with champagne available), speaking program at 1:30 and the movie begins at 2 PM. Q&A with Filmmakers: Immediately following the movie.

*The Wizard of Oz with the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra- Saturday, April 02, 2022 2:00pm – 4:00pm. The tickets range from $25-$70. The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra & Palace Theater are delighted to present one of the most beloved films of all time, The Wizard of Oz, with live orchestration. Watching the film on the big screen while hearing Judy Garland’s original 1939 studio recordings backed by a full orchestra will transport moviegoers of all ages down the Yellow Brick Road and into the whimsical world of Oz. In this classic musical fantasy, Judy Garland stars as Dorothy Gale, a young Kansas farm girl who dreams of a land “somewhere over the rainbow.” Dorothy’s dream comes true when she, her dog, Toto, and her family’s house are transported by a tornado to a bright and magical world unlike anything she has seen before. Unfortunately, she makes a mortal enemy of a wicked witch when the house falls on the hag’s sister. Now, befriended by a scarecrow without a brain, a tin man with no heart and a cowardly lion—and protected by a pair of enchanted ruby slippers—Dorothy sets off along a yellow brick road for the Emerald City to beseech the all-powerful Wizard of Oz for his help to return home. Post-Show Reception- Journey “Over the Rainbow” and down the hallway to the Palace Theater Poli Club for post-show reception. Join us for a buffet and carving station from Verbena Catering and a meet & greet with Waterbury Symphony Orchestra conductor, Leif Bjaland. Reception tickets are $55 (in addition to your show ticket). Reception proceeds to benefit the Palace Theater & Waterbury Symphony Orchestra Annual Funds.

Silas Bronson Library Events:

Wonderful Wednesday Stories at the Silas Bronson Library, Waterbury Join each week on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on Zoom (until the weather gets nicer and it can resume on the patio again) as they sing, march, play with finger games and read. Program for children ages 2+ and pre-registration is required to access the Zoom information.

The Sweet Life- A Guide to Some Maple Sugaring Events in CT:

* Annual Pancake Breakfast (to go) & Maple Sugaring Demonstration Fundraiser

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Indian Rock Nature Preserve
Fuller F. Barnes Education Center
501 Wolcott Rd., Bristol

Adult and Child-size “To Go” breakfasts include: Pancakes, bacon or sausage patties, and beverage. Pancake flavor options: Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip or Plain. Beverage options: Coffee, Decaf Coffee, Milk, or OJ. Pure maple syrup included with each order PLUS a special “thank you” treat. Proceeds benefit Environmental Learning Centers of CT’s education programs (Indian Rock Nature Preserve & Barnes Nature Center).

Pre-registration Required Here

* Maple Syrup Demonstrations on February 26 – March 13 at Flanders Nature Center/Land Trust

Reserve your time to visit the Sugar House as staff and volunteers demonstrate turning sap into syrup with an entertaining mix of science, stories, and humor. The entire family will be fascinated by the maple sugar-making process. There is a $3 per person donation suggested, which supports Flanders’ future maple sugar programming.

Schedule: February 26-27 and March 5-6, 12-13 Flanders Nature Center 5 Church Hill Rd. Woodbury, CT 06798. Choose a time between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (203) 263-3711 https://flandersnaturecenter.org/current-calendar/

*Maple Sugaring Sunday and Pancake Breakfast Party on March 6th at Lyman Orchards

Tap that Tree! There’s a Maple Syrup Sugar Shack demonstration during brunch on March 6. Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut’s traveling sugarhouse will be onsite for families to learn about the tradition of maple sugaring. Kids and adults can try their hand at tapping a “tree” before or after you indulge in our delicious ‘Pancake Party’ brunch menu.

A delicious pancake menu awaits, strawberry, blueberry, apple or chocolate chip. Enjoy this outdoor demonstration with your paid brunch reservation. Limited reservations available. COVID guidelines strictly enforced.

Reservations can be made Here.

1741 Pub & Grill at Lyman Orchards Golf Course

70 Lyman Rd.

Middlefield, CT 06455

9 a.m.-1 p.m.

(860) 349-6033


Visit Website

Maple Sugar House Demonstration

February 19 – March 27

Mother Nature has answered us with a YES for the maple sap to be flowing for collection and boiling. Join us for a brief description (as little or as much as you would like to know) about how and why maple syrup is produced in Connecticut. Sample some that have been made, and have a chance to shop our Pop-Up Shop for some.

Please visit our Facebook page for current updates on weather and maple boiling. Face masks are required.

Stay Sweet.

Woodbury Sugar Shed

41 Washington Rd.

Woodbury, CT 06798

Sat.-Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

(203) 263-4550



Maple Sugaring Demonstrations

February 19 – March 6

The Dudley Farm Museum

An opportunity to get outside, watch the sap run, the trees drip, and maybe even sneak a taste.

The Dudley Farm Museum

2351 Durham Rd.

Guilford, CT 06437

Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

(203) 457-0770

Maple Weekend in Connecticut

March 19 – 20

Visit sugarhouses and taste great maple products. During the two days, many sugarhouses across the state will be open for tours and will be selling their products. This is a great opportunity for visitors to learn how maple sap is collected and turned into delicious, sugary products.

Hours for individual sugarhouses are posted in their listing.


Maple Fest Weekend

March 19 – 20

The Open House will display maple syrup techniques used by indigenous peoples, early Colonists, the Civil War era, and finishing with a tour of the modern facility. The farm’s maple syrup and other maple products will be available for purchase.

Sullivan Farm

140 Park Lane

New Milford, CT 06776

Sat. 10 a.m-4 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.



Disney’s “Encanto”

March 12 & 13

Connecticut Science Center

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charming place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel (voice of Stephanie Beatriz). But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope.

Featuring all-new songs by Emmy®, Grammy® and Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Moana) and directed by Byron Howard (Zootopia, Tangled).

Connecticut Science Center

250 Columbus Blvd.

Hartford, CT 06103

2 p.m.-4 p.m.

A separate add-on ticket is required for all 3D movies.

Downtown Mystic Ghost Tours

February 19 – November 27

Seaside Shadows Haunted History Tours

Where does the famous giggling ghost visit dining guests? What curse haunts the landscape of Mystic? Who keeps watch over the town’s Civil War Office awaiting the return of her long-lost love? Where do the lights keep flickering to remind guests of a murder mystery over a century old?

Find out all this and more on a Downtown Mystic Ghost Stroll guiding you through the bustling town of Mystic, in the historic drawbridge district. Featuring true stories of history and mystery, guests will have the opportunity to capture evidence of paranormal phenomena in the town and take a step back in time to stories filled with mystery and dark tales that are rarely told today. The beautiful seaside town is filled with lore and tales that are sure to send a chill up your spine and leave you wondering who walks among us in the dead of night.

Sat: 7 p.m.
March: Sat. 8 p.m.
April-May: Thu. & Sat. 8 p.m.
June-Aug.: Tue., Thu. & Sat. 8 p.m.
Sept.-Oct. Tue., Thu. & Sat. 7 p.m.
Nov.: Thu. & Sat. 7 p.m.


Cottrell Street

Mystic, CT 06355

7 p.m. or 8 p.m., start times vary seasonally.

March- Sept. $25, Oct. $30.

(860) 754-8923



Book tickets now Visit Website

Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises

March 4 – 20

Connecticut River Museum

Each winter as the temperature dips below freezing, Bald Eagles from as far north as Canada make their way to the open waters of the Connecticut River for easy fishing and nesting. This March, climb aboard RiverQuest, an environmentally friendly vessel with heated cabin and ample deck space. An on-board naturalist provides narration while you get an up-close view of the River. Coffee and use of binoculars is included in ticket price as well as free admission to Connecticut River Museum galleries and the Eagles of Essex exhibit.

Advance ticket purchase strongly suggested. All departures subject to weather conditions.

Connecticut River Museum

67 Main St.

Essex, CT 06426

Fri.-Sun., departing at 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.

$45, includes free admission to the Museum’s exhibits and galleries.

(860) 767-8269


“A Taste of Greece” Greek Food Takeout Event

March 5 – 7

St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church presents “A Taste of Greece” drive-through takeout event. Featuring a selection of authentic Greek favorites, including gyro, souvlaki, spanakopita, pastitsio, meze plate, Greek salad, pastries, and more. All food must be pre-ordered and picked up curbside. Order at www.odysseyexpress.org or call (203) 795-1347.

Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church

480 Racebrook Rd.

Orange, CT 06477

Sat. noon-7 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.

(203) 795-1347


New England Public Beer Tour

March 5

All-inclusive public beer tour to New England Brewing Company, No Worries Brewing, 12% Beer Project, and Bad Sons Brewing.

- New England Brewing Company (two half pours or one pint of beer)
- No Worries Brewing (flight or pint of beer)
- 12% Beer Project (two half pours or one pint of beer)
- Bad Sons Brewing (flight or pint of beer)
- Safe and reliable transportation
- Pizza at Roseland Pizza (Located at Bad Sons)

What to bring: Please bring a photo ID. All passengers must be 21+

Pick-up locations:
11:30 a.m.: DoubleTree Hotel, Bristol, CT

DoubleTree Hotel Parking Lot

42 Century Dr.

Bristol, CT 06010

Trip ranges from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.




Litchfield Hills Public Beer Tour

February 27

All-inclusive public beer tour to Brewery Legitimus, Little Red Barn Brewers, and Great Farms Brewing.

- Little Red Barn Brewers (flight or pint and tour)
- Great Farms Brewing (flight or pint)
- Brewery Legitimus (flight or pint)
- Pizza for lunch
- Safe and reliable transportation

What to bring: Please bring a photo ID. All passengers must be 21+

Pick-up locations:
11:15 a.m.: DoubleTree Hotel, Bristol, CT
11:45 a.m.: Canton Commuter Lot, 465 Albany Turnpike

DoubleTree Hotel Parking Lot

42 Century Dr.

Bristol, CT 06010

Trip time ranges from 11:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.-5:45 p.m.




Lunarfest Community Mural

February 15 – March 15

Local artist Kaitlin Tan Fung has designed a Year of the Tiger community mural for Lunarfest 2022.

Lunarfest’s partners in the community and schools have individually decorated different pieces of the design which were then reassembled to create a collective community artwork. The collaborative mural will be on display starting February 15 at 77 Audubon Street. It will be printed on postcards available at the New Haven Free Public Libraries and the New Haven Museum as well. Special thanks to our lead designer Kaitlin Tan Fung and community partners: Aiping Taichi Center, New Haven Free Public Libraries, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven Museum, Co-op High School, Town Green, Office of International Students and Scholars, Yale Police Department, New Haven Promise, aapiNHV, Long Wharf Theatre, Highville Charter School, Educational Center for the Arts, Elm City Elementary, and Eli Whitney Museum.

77 Audubon St.

New Haven, CT 06510

St. Patrick’s Bar Crawl

March 12

New Haven’s official St. Patrick’s Bar Crawl returns bigger than ever for the 6th year. Register now and join the Shenanigans!

Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 13

Since the mid-1950s, this parade has become one of New England’s premier Irish events. As the 6th oldest parade in the nation, its fame was recognized by the Library of Congress in 1999. Features 3,000 marchers and musical units celebrating the diversity of many cultures.

The Parade begins on Chapel Street at Sherman Avenue and continues on Chapel Street toward the Green. The route turns left onto Church Street, down to Grove Street, and ends on Orange Street.

(Subscribe to The Brass File to get it e-mailed free to your in-box by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. Thank you.)