Mommy & Me


A BIG RED OPENING TAKES PLACE THIS SATURDAY! Board the Birdwell Island Ferry and journey to the world of Clifford™ for the reddest exhibit to hit the Springfield Museums! Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog offers immersive “paws-on,” bilingual (Spanish and English), multi-sensory adventures.

Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog transports children and adults to the world of Clifford, Emily Elizabeth, and all the residents of Birdwell Island. As visitors explore Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog, they will encounter the people and places that make-up Clifford’s world. From boarding the Birdwell Island ferry to greeting the nine-foot tall Clifford The Big Red Dog in his own backyard, visitors can playfully explore the exhibit’s themed areas and discover Clifford’s Big Ideas. These ten simple, tangible, life lessons are designed to help young children navigate their world: Share, Play Fair, Have Respect, Work Together, Be Responsible, Be Truthful, Be Kind, Believe in Yourself, Be a Good Friend, and Help Others.

Visitors can also visit the Norman Bridwell Art Retrospective and view clips from an interview with Norman Bridwell. Children and adults can get an inside look at Clifford’s character and story development during the past 50 years.


Exhibit Entrance
Welcome to Birdwell Island, the home of Clifford and his owner, Emily Elizabeth Howard. Clifford was the runt of the litter when Emily Elizabeth adopted him. Much to everyone’s surprise, Clifford outgrew all the other dogs because of Emily Elizabeth’s limitless love. So, the Howards left the city and moved to Birdwell Island, where they made new friends, including Cleo, T-Bone, and Mac.

Visitors enter Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog by passing Birdwell Island’s lighthouse and board the ferry. Children and adults can join “Victor” and “Pedro” in the pilot house and try their hand at “steering” the ferry. Visitors hear the sounds of seagulls and ocean waves roaring as they navigate their way to Birdwell Island with the help of a three-dimensional map of the island. Children can move “tourists” around the map and visit Samuel’s Restaurant, the Post Office, Cleo’s Backyard, and all of Clifford’s favorite places on the Island.

Samuel’s Fish and Chips Shack

Say “hello!” to “Samuel” and his son “Charley,” pull up a stool at Samuel’s Fish and Chips Shack on the pier, and place your order (maybe Samuel’s delicious fish and chips!). Children and adults can enter Samuel’s Shack and role-play restaurant employees working together to restock the shelves, cook, clean, and serve. Kids can grab an order pad, take their family and friends’ orders and total their bill at the cash register.

T’Bone’s Beach

No island is complete without a beach! “T-Bone” welcomes children and adults to a bone- shaped “beach” where kids can follow Clifford’s Big Ideas and “Play Fair” by taking turns hunting for seashells.

Clifford The Big Red Dog’s Doghouse

A nine-foot Clifford greets visitors in his backyard outside his doghouse. Children can take a seat next to Emily Elizabeth on the giant paws of her big red best friend and slide down Clifford’s tail.

Kids can “Be Responsible” by helping fill Clifford’s giant dog bowl using a bone-shaped conveyor belt to keep the crimson canine’s giant dog bowl full of bones.

Inside Clifford’s Doghouse, fans can create pictures, invitations, letters and more using paper, crayons, pencils and other supplies. They can display their masterpieces in the doghouse, mail them to an Island resident or take them home and bring a smile to a family member or friend.

Emily Elizabeth’s Backyard Theater and The Howard’s House

“Mac” invites visitors to take the stage with Clifford and his pals in Emily Elizabeth’s Backyard Theater.

Dressed in Cleo, T-Bone or Clifford costumes, they can get “red”dy to be the best in show. Kids can perform for family and friends sitting in the audience on bone-shaped benches. Young children use their imagination to create their own performance using maracas and drums.

Children and adults can visit The Howard’s house, complete with garage. In the front of the house, kids can pick, sort and replant flowers in a flower box. Fans can “Be a Good Friend” to Emily Elizabeth and Clifford by using lawn tools, watering cans and lawn mower to spiff-up the backyard.

Cleo’s Backyard

Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog’s youngest visitors will dig Cleo’s Backyard, designed especially for tots with a soft floor and “stone” wall enclosure. “Cleo” encourages toddlers to crawl through a tunnel, or play a shape-sorting activity at Cleo’s doghouse. At the “stone” wall, kids can enjoy activities as they open the doors to T-Bone’s doghouse, and are greeted by their reflection in a mirror; turn a crank to make Clifford go in and out of his doghouse; and spin two tumblers to match Birdwell Island characters to their home.

Birdwell Island Post Office

Children can join “Mr. Carson” at the Birdwell Island Post Office, and help sort and mail. letters. Then they can deliver mail and pictures to the Birdwell Island residents’ mailboxes.

Birdwell Island Library and Norman Bridwell Art Retrospective

Take a break from all the action and cozy-up for a reading adventure. “Ms. Lee” welcomes visitors to the library to see a collection of Clifford books. Children can practice believing in themselves and building confidence (just like Clifford!) as they share Clifford stories and play games.


Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog was created by Minnesota Children’s Museum in partnership with Scholastic Entertainment Inc

The exhibit is sponsored by The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, American International College, and Dave’s Soda and Pet City.
Special thanks to our Season Supporter MassMutual Foundation.


Illustration in Massachusetts
Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford The Big Red Dog, made his home in Martha’s Vineyard, MA. He is one of many iconic children’s book illustrators at home in Massachusetts, including: Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, who was born and raised in Springfield, MA.

A Fetching Success Story
Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford The Big Red Dog, turned his love of drawing into a career. In 1962, Bridwell put together a portfolio of colorful drawings and visited fifteen children’s book publishers, all of whom turned him down. One editor told Bridwell his art alone was not good enough and no one would ask him to illustrate a book; however, the editor suggested he write a story about his sketch of a little girl and a horse-sized bloodhound.

A Star is Born
Bridwell made the bloodhound even bigger and more of an “all-around” dog, like the dog he dreamed of riding and sharing adventures with as a little boy. He wanted to call the dog “Tiny,” but his wife Norma thought “Tiny” was boring. Norma suggested “Clifford,” the name of her childhood imaginary friend. He named the little girl after his daughter, Emily Elizabeth. Three weeks after delivering his drawings and story to Scholastic, the phone rang—Scholastic wanted to publish Clifford The Big Red Dog!

A Well Read Dog…Who’s Also Red!
Norman Bridwell created the first Clifford The Big Red Dog book in 1962. Today, the best-selling book series consists of more than 160 Clifford titles and 100 million books in print.

Someday You Will Succeed
Norman Bridwell tried to stress to young writers is that rejection is not a reason to give up. “Sometimes you’ll do something that you really like and no one else does. You’ll feel terrible, but you’ve just got to press on and keep trying. If you like doing it and keep working at it, then someday you will succeed.”
here are more than 150 Clifford titles, 129 million copies of Norman Bridwell’s books are in print and many of his stories are translated into 13 languages.
Norman Bridwell and his wife, Norma, moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1969. Bridwell died on December 12, 2014. He was 86.

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