Families in search of an exciting spring outing need look no further than Norwalk, in Connecticut's Fairfield County New features at the refurbished and remodeled Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and the greatly expanded Stepping Stones Museum for Children offer unique adventures for all ages

FINtastic Changes

The Maritime Aquarium is completing its "FINtastic RefurbFISHment," a $4 million makeover with 21 dynamic new exhibits. The main hall, renamed Newman's Own Hall, now boasts a 36-by12-foot map of Long Island Sound – an image about the size of a school bus – with interactive quizzes introducing the Sound.

In April, a new Shark and Ray gallery opens, starring a new, 6,000 gallon touch pool where visitors can actually feel the backs of these prowling – but harmless – predators. A clear side panel on the new exhibit will provide fascinating underwater views of the sharks and rays as well.

The gallery will feature exhibits allowing sea creatures to be observed as they come to life. Skates and chain dogfish sharks will be seen as they develop and hatch from their embryonic egg cases, and everyone will be charmed by the newborn baby sharks and rays.

All of the Aquarium's interior exhibits have been re-imagined and a number of new sea animals have been added. A new outdoor courtyard offers a children's playground. A refurbished IMAX® theater will open in September. The Aquarium, open daily, is at 10 North Water Street. To learn more, phone 203-852.0700, or see www.maritimeaquarium.org.

Double the Fun

The recently completed $17 million, expansion at Stepping Stones doubled the size of the award-winning children's museum and its hands-on, kid-powered fun and learning. Designed for ages one to ten, the Museum offers a Tot Town for littlest ones and imaginative activities for older kids such as the Wind Lab, a giant wind tunnel where youngsters feel the force of the wind and learn how it can be used to make things happen. A Water Lab water features waterfalls, basins, funnels and water wheels, enticing children to pump, push, turn and direct water and understand how it can make things move.The Celebration Courtyard offers fun with big blue foam building blocks, a 14-foot bubble exhibit and a giant checkerboard with oversized checkers and chess pieces that let them plan, predict and problem-solve like never before. Watch wee-walkers, crawlers and toddlers can develop new skills on the soft play areas, crawling mats and tunnels in the Tot Spot.

The museum, open daily is located in Mathews Park | 303 West Avenue. For information phone (203) 899-0606 or see steppingstonesmuseum.org.