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What's Happening During Winter Break

With no snow in sight, here are some ideas for the long weekend.

Aside from hearts and chocolate, February conjures up images of hills studded with snow-covered evergreens, warmly clad skiers swooshing down well-groomed mountains and neighbors gliding across the pond at Ram's Pasture. But this year, those sports that keep the kids busy over winter break are nowhere locally to be seen.

If you want to see snow and ice, pack the kids up and head for the hills of Canada, where there is natural snow. But for those of us staying put, here are some area ideas to get those kids unplugged and out of the house.

Food

Danbury's 4th Annual Chili Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 19, 1pm - 4pm. This event has area competitors vying for not only bragging rights for the best-tasting chili, but non-profit groups also compete for winners' checks, ranging from $150 to $600. Families can enjoy tasting the chili, face painting, live music and, of course, skating. The cost is $5 a person or $15 a family, which includes discounted skating for children 12 and younger.

Take the night off cooking and go to the 55th Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook. This meal includes pancakes and the traditional fixings, including corned beef hash, sausage and drinks. The event also offers takeout and runs 5pm - 7:30pm on Feb. 21.

For future chefs, The Silo Cooking School offers a cooking class where students will prepare a special “presidential menu,” while learning basic cooking and kitchen safety skills. This school is located on Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford, and class will be held on Monday, Feb. 20, 11am - 2pm. The class is for children ages 5 - 10 and costs $50 per student.

Adventure

The Maritime Aquarium is launching its newly refurbished exhibits beginning Feb. 18. The Norwalk facility now boasts a new seal show, more than 300 new animals and many hands-on exhibits. Admission for the exhibits (not including the IMAX theater) is adults, $12.95; children 12 and younger, $9.95; seniors, $11.95. Hours are daily, 10am - 5pm.

The Yale Peabody Museum runs its' Dinosaur Days program next week. Kids can join a fossil dig, handle real fossils and meet paleontologists. There are pupper shows daily at 11am. Admission is adults, $9; children, $5; seniors, $8. The program runs Feb. 20 - 24, 10am - 3:30pm. 

Movies

The movies aren't exactly unplugging, but there are a several 3D showings that appeal to all ages. At the Danbury AMC Loews theater, Beauty and the Beast, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Hugo, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace are all being shown in 3D.

Newtown's Edmond Town Hall Theater will be showing Puss in Boots (PG), with matinees Sat. - Tue. at 1pm and 4pm, in addition to the evening shows daily at 7pm.

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