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WATCH: Get a first look at Arctic Passage at Henry Vilas Zoo

Mary Jo Ola was at Henry Vilas Zoo Wednesday morning to share a preview of the new Arctic Passage that opens this weekend.

The Arctic Passage is the zoo's biggest renovation in its history. Crews broke ground on the project in March 2014. The passage spans nearly two acres of land and features environments for twin polar bears Sakari and Suri; and a pair of grizzly sisters known as the Grizzly Girls; and harbor seals. 

A restaurant in the addition offers diners a look at the polar bears, who can also watch you have your meal.

For more information about the opening weekend event, visit vilaszoo.org/arcticpassagegrandopening.

STAR Credit Union helps kids learn how to save

STAR Credit Union helps kids learn how to save

Kelsey Johnson earns money by babysitting her neighbor's two children; it is her main source of income. She also earns a little money at home by cleaning her room, “which I hate,” she said.

Johnson just entered the sixth grade, and has had a savings account for four years. She banks through STAR (Save to Achieve Results) Credit Union, the only kids-chartered credit union in the world.

New early childhood center hopes to take on education disparities

New early childhood center hopes to take on education disparities

The Playing Field, a unique childcare center seeking to bring kids ages 0-3 from different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds together in one classroom, will open next fall in the lower level of Bethany United Methodist Church.

The program's founder, Abbi Kruse, said she wants to know the effects of placing dissimilar children together at an early age, and hopes it will help close education disparities between white and minority students that have become a focus in Madison.

“It's my hope that at least if our children are playing together, that that's a start,” Kruse said. “And from there who knows what can happen?” Monica Host, the city of Madison's Child Care Program Coordinator, said she applauds Kruse's initiative to purposefully combine children from different backgrounds. “It's better for everyone. It's better for families, it's better for children,” she said.

Brotherhood group emphasizes peer support

Brotherhood group emphasizes peer support

Every Wednesday evening the Brotherhood group, founded about four years ago, meets to give teens in the Allied Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood a safe, positive environment where they can connect with peers. It grew from a safety and security report conducted by the neighborhood association.

Reception to celebrate local children's artwork

Reception to celebrate local children's artwork

A reception Sunday will celebrate the Young at Art exhibition, which features works of art by Madison public school students ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade, according to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA).

The reception will take place at the museum from 3 to 4:30 p.m., and East High School's East Jazz Orchestra will perform in the library.

Try powerful telescopes, see the stars at free star-gazing workshop

Try powerful telescopes, see the stars at free star-gazing workshop

A free event at an east Madison park next week will offer information on star gazing.

The city of Madison said a Learn to Star Gaze workshop will be held at Reindahl Park from 7-8 p.m. Monday.

The workshop will be led by a UW Space Place specialist and will give all participants the chance to search the skies using powerful telescopes.

 

Large consignment sale offers children's, maternity items

Bargain hunters will find a variety of used maternity and children's clothes for sale at a consignment event at the Alliant Energy Center this weekend.

The Just Between Friends sale, which opens at 9 a.m.,began Friday and will continue through Sunday.

Items including clothes, books, toys, strollers, puzzles, games, shoes, nursing pillows, Diaper Genies, maternity wear and more can be found at the JBF sale.

Find more information online at danecounty.jbfsale.com.