Shouts of “huzzah” ring out from the decks of a restored tea ship on the Boston Harbor, led by live actors costumed in waistcoats and tri-corner hats. Their triumphant shouts urge guests to take part in the events and acts of rebellion that helped spark the Revolutionary War. Inspired colonists meet Sam Adams who encourages guests to take place in a revolutionary act of resistance and throw tea into Boston harbor with the daring Sons of Liberty.
In addition to the array of immersive, high-tech storytelling devices and ornate replicas—the restored wooden ships were constructed by the craftsmen behind the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World—the museum houses a novel artifact: an original tea chest recovered from the shores of Boston after the Tea Party, of which there are only two in existence.
Cambridge Historical Tours unearths nearly 400 years of history during informative jaunts that cast light on the area's captivating, funny, and sometimes gory past. Sheathed in authentic Victorian attire, guides lead groups on 75-minute treks back in time, fusing wholesome doses of humor with laboriously researched facts. Guests take in the historic landmark Memorial Hall on the campus of Harvard University, and absorb the eerie ambiance of the Cambridge Burial Ground, where many of Harvard's early presidents are buried.
Thanks to Zoo New England, little patches of wilderness from Africa, South America, Australia, and other parts of the world now dot Massachusetts. The non-profit organization operates both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, each full of exotic creatures and their habitats. These microcosms represent an ideal world, one where endangered species thrive and fragile ecosystems last for generations to come.
At Franklin Park Zoo, tigers display their exotic stripes in the Tiger Tales exhibit where guests are educated on the perils these animals face in their natural habitats. Elsewhere, thousands of plants as well as mandrills, ocelots, and a pygmy hippopotamus turn the zoo into a tropical rainforest.
Stone Zoo, meanwhile, places simulations of the world's highlands next to Spot Pond. One area focuses on the Sierra Madre mountain range, which spans Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. The elevated habitat counts jaguars, coyotes, Gila monsters, and cougars among its denizens.
A portion of every admission goes to the organization's conservation efforts, which supports projects both locally and globally. For would-be zookeepers, Zoo New England hosts various adult and kids' educational programs, and lets volunteers help in the care of zoo plants and animals.
Breaking through the fourth wall with terrifying visions to send tingles up even the sturdiest spines, the Witches Cottage live witchcraft and ghost show interacts with audience members for a chilling introduction to Salem’s supernatural side. Guests begin their journey in the theater’s lobby, mystically transformed into an old witch’s cottage complete with bubbling cauldron, pictorial remnants of the witchcraft trials of 1692, and a utility closet full of retired brooms. Guests will feel around in the foggy 75-seat theater for their seats and gasp in horror as a shadowy wendigo spirit slinks toward the audience. Rekindle entrepreneurial ambitions of opening a soul pawn shop as you witness a puritan entering into a dark pact with the devil, and then retire said dreams as you meet, face-to-face, the soulless entities of the underworld’s darkest corners. Throughout the show, Salem history and legend weave truth and myth into ghostly tales, blurring the lines of reality as if they were mere suggestions. The spooky performance ups its terror quotient during evening shows, with special nighttime events scattered throughout the week.
At Salem Wax Museum, visitors come face-to-face with some of the area's most iconic figures, including author Nathaniel Hawthorne, ruthless witch-trials judge Colonel John Hathorne, and accused witch Tituba, who sparked the city's witch hysteria in the late 17th century. But even outside the museum's doors, guests find themselves surrounded by eerie evidence of the past. Behind the building sits the final resting place of other Salem figures at Burying Point, supposedly the second oldest burial ground in the US. Right next to it, the Witch Trials Memorial commemorates the period of time where accused witchcraft ran rampant.
Throughout the year, the museum transforms the entire scene with themed seasonal attractions. In October, for instance, it sets up terrifying exhibits such as Frankenstein's Castle and houses that pass out toothbrushes instead of candy on Halloween.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.