Spring is almost here, and soon schools throughout Connecticut will be closing for their annual spring break. Some families will be leaving the state for a week-long vacation, but there’s no reason that those who are staying put can’t enjoy themselves just as much. For some fun “staycation” activities in Connecticut that kids are sure to love, we asked Stamford teacher Deborah Okun.
Deborah Okun
KT Murphy Elementary School
19 Horton St St.
Stamford, CT 06902
203) 977-4516
www.ktmurphy.orgStamford native Deborah Okun has been a kindergarten teacher in the city for the past 28 years, first at Rogers International, and currently at KT Murphy. Knowing a lot about how to keep children stimulated and entertained, she promises these ideas will help to make for a memorable spring break.

Check Out The LibraryOkun says that today’s public libraries have enough going on to keep kids entertained for hours. “The library is not just about books! If you haven’t been to your public library in a while you should check it out! There are wonderful programs offered, movie events, story hours… borrow books, DVDs, books on CD, use the computers, go on the internet and so much more!” Another point in its favor, she reminds us, is that library cards are free.

Visit The ZooOkun recommends that families make a trip to Connecticut’s largest zoo, The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. “The Beardsley Zoo is great for younger children as it is not too large and overwhelming,” she says. “Peacocks and guinea hens roam free on the property. There is a petting zoo. There is also a carousel!” When it’s time for a lunch break, the Beardsley has a restaurant and snack bar, and there are also a number of picnic benches for those who prefer to bring food from home. She adds that children 11 and younger get an admission discount.

Chelsea PiersThe New York recreation center Chelsea Piers opened up a Connecticut location in Stamford in 2012, and Okun thinks it is perfect for children of all ages. She calls it “a wonderful way to get out and have a fun action-filled day! There are ‘drop in’ sessions in a variety of areas – batting cages, trampolines, rock climbing, aquatic zone, gymnastics, basketball, soccer and so much more.” It also makes it possible for kids to be active even if it’s raining.

Related: Top Day Trips For Under $100 In the Connecticut Area

Head For The AquariumThe state has a couple of outstanding aquariums – Mystic Aquarium and the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. Of the latter, Okun enthuses, “there are two Jellies exhibits; they are both amazing. Touching Jellies is not something you would want to do at the beach, but it is safe to do at the NMA. The other Jellies exhibit is really cool as it’s in a dark round room where the focus is on a tall cylindrical tank filled with jellies. It reminds me of a lava lamp. It’s mesmerizing!” She also says not to miss the seals or the “Touch a Shark” exhibit and catch a movie in its IMAX theater. “A personal favorite is ‘Born to Be Wild.’ It’s perfect for all ages!”

Attend A Local Sporting EventApril is the month the New Britain Rock Cats season gets underway, and as Okun says,”it’s always fun to go to a ball game. It’s much cheaper than a Yankees game.” The team offers family packages and discount reserved seating for kids 12 and under. She also suggests catching the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the minor league hockey team who will be finishing their regular season next month.

Related: Top Spring 2015 Races In Connecticut

Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.