Dog Days of Summer Arrive Early at Stepping Stones Museum with BooZoo's Canine Carnival

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Join BooZoo and his furry friends at the four-legged social event of the season.

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BooZoo™’s Canine Carnival, where play and learning go hand-in-paw, will take place at Stepping Stones between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on June 14.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is once again going to the dogs on Saturday, June 14. The museum will host its fourth annual, day-long festival celebrating the powerful and important bonds between humans and their animal friends. BooZoo™’s Canine Carnival, where play and learning go hand-in-paw, will take place at Stepping Stones between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on June 14. The event is free with museum admission.

The Canine Carnival is hosted by BooZoo, the museum’s fictional puppy mascot for early childhood learning and literacy, and will feature carnival games for families and dogs, pooch and people pictures in our prop-laden photo booth, a meet-and-greet with BooZoo, a “pampered pooch” area featuring a dog wash and day spa, story times with BooZoo, bobbing for doggie treats and so much more. All canine friends, accompanied by owners, are welcome to take part in carnival activities under the tent of the museum’s Celebration Courtyard.

Visitors are invited to enter their dog(s) in the museum’s Crazy Canine Contest at 11:30 am. A panel will judge the dogs in the following categories: best dressed, fastest tail wager, fluffiest, best smile, best ears and walks with attitude. Each dog will be judged in all categories. And who says old dogs can’t be taught new tricks? Visitors will be able to sign up for a five-minute time slot to give their four-legged, furry friends an opportunity to show off his or her tricks. Dogs must be licensed and accompanied by people who are 15 years or older. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs.

A highlight of the day is sure to be when assistance dogs from the Canine Companions for Independence® conduct a demonstration in the museum’s Multimedia Gallery. Founded in 1975, the world-renowned Canine Companions for Independence is a national non-profit which provides highly-skilled assistance dogs to adults, veterans and children with disabilities free of charge. Canine Companions created the concept of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities. During BooZoo’s Canine Carnival, the assistance dogs will be put through a routine demonstrating their ability to follow commands, open doors, flip on light switches, pick up dropped items and complete other important daily tasks. A Canine Companions staff member will talk about how the dogs are bred, trained and matched with their human counterparts, transforming the lives of people with disabilities by increasing their independence and providing loving companionship.

Another special component of the event will take place when Milford’s John Tartaglio, an inspirational speaker, shares his story with the audience. Tartaglio was 17 years old when he contracted an extremely rare bacterial infection. With his condition dire, doctors were left with no choice but to amputate his legs and left bicep. Tartaglio was only given a 20 percent chance to live, but he survived and now thrives. He graduated cum laude from Fairfield University. Told by medical professionals that he would never walk again, Tartaglio has completed marathons and triathlons. As a motivational speaker, he speaks to audiences about overcoming adversity, building a positive attitude and turning it into positive actions, leadership and teamwork. Empowering his audiences with his story, Tartaglio challenges people to reach their goals, raise their personal standard and expect more out of themselves because he is living proof that anything is possible.

“With the launch of our new Express Yourself exhibit, Stepping Stones has placed a heightened focus on social-emotional learning,” said Kim Kuta Dring, director of community teaching and learning at Stepping Stones. “Animals teach children important social and emotional skills such as effective communication, empathy and how to manage emotions. BooZoo’s Canine Carnival is a fun-filled event that promotes emotional intelligence, pet-friendly play, early childhood development, reading literacy and intergenerational learning between children, parents and caregivers.”

Throughout the event, the mobile unit of the North Shore Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, will be on hand to answer questions and showcase some of their adoptable friends. Between noon and 2:00 pm, Shake Shack will be on hand in our courtyard serving “Pooch-ini®,” a custard-based doggy snack.

About BooZoo:
Building on the commitment to promote early childhood development and reading literacy for young children, the museum developed the BooZoo character three years ago. BooZoo is a toy puppy who lives in Tot Town™, the museum’s toddler exhibit. He’s smart, incurably curious and loves reading books.

About the company:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, CT, is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501(c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. Located on five acres in Mathews Park, the LEED Gold certified museum encompasses five hands-on galleries, state-of-the-art Multimedia Gallery, Family and Teacher Resource Center, cafe and retail store.

Stepping Stones is located at 303 West Ave., exit 14N or 15S off I-95 in Norwalk. Museum hours are from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from Labor Day through Memorial Day, and Monday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more, call 203-899-0606 or visit

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Michael Peterson
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