NORWALK – “We were closed for 20 months,” says Robert Townes, Director of Public Affairs at Stepping Stones Museum for Children which recently held a grand re-opening.

At first, the museum closed down due to Covid concerns, like most locations, but then an opportunity for renovations presented itself.

“When the pandemic hit, we thought, it’s a good chance to do all this work at once, rather than on a gallery to gallery basis,” he explains.

Now, the popular spot is back with fresh energy and attractions.

“We have the animatronic Dilophosaurus, the Connecticut state dinosaur, she’s still here,” says Townes, noting her environment is new. “One piece of the exhibit is Connecticut 200 million years ago…then you go to the other side, through our wacky time machine, and you’re in present-day Connecticut.”

Little Leo missed the museum while it was closed. He loves dinos.

“When this all started, he was two, so, it’s been a long couple of years with very few options for someone who is inquisitive and wants to learn. It’s incredible that it’s back,” says mom Jennifer Gould of Stamford.

The fun doesn’t stop there. There’s a new TV studio where kids can practice being an on-air journalist or meteorologist.

“They can role play and pretend,” smiles Townes. “You’re seeing children sing songs with the microphone. They get to be a budding Sarah Cody, so to speak.”

The Healthyville Cafe was expanded with a focus on locally sourced foods.

There’s also the Lights On exhibit.

“This is teaching kids all the fun and cool things you can do with light,” says Townes. “We’ve seen plenty of big kids playing with the Light Bright, along with the youngsters we serve.”

While virtual programs worked, nothing replaces a dynamic in-person experience.

And that’s what Stepping Stones provides.

“We’re just happy to be back to give children the opportunity to go on their own learning journeys, learn at their own pace, and do their own explorations,” says Townes. “It’s a fantastic time to come back in.”

Click here to learn more about expanded hours at the museum.