Chikki Plaza Kids Playground stimulates the imagination of kids ages 1?5 while expanding their language skills. With toys and play areas labeled in both English and Spanish, little ones can brush up on basic Spanish words, such as supermercado, coche, and Pen?lope Cruz. Kids are welcome for open play, where they can settle into one of the drawing stations, cruise around in the toy cars, or pretend to be a grownup by shopping at the play market. Aside from open play, the staff regularly hosts activities, such as sing alongs, readings, and arts and crafts.
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.
Led by expert equestrian Devon Garone, Fairfield South's lesson program schools first-timers and national champions alike in basic and advanced English riding techniques. Groups of two to four pupils practice steering, gaits, proper riding position, and horsemanship during 30 minutes of riding time. Subsequent 15-minute sessions sequester space for students to brush, feed, lead, and read bedtime stories to each steed. Fairfield South's year-round facility accommodates apprentices in warm or chilly temperatures every Tuesday–Sunday by appointment, and ensures each rider's well-being on its brigade of safe horses. In their decades-spanning training careers, owners Gary and Marsha Garone have captained teams to more than 30 world-championship titles and numerous competitive seahorse-riding victories.
The Griffin Museum of Photography was founded more than two decades ago to honor Arthur Griffin, a famous photojournalist whose work appeared in Time and Life, and who was the first photographer to capture baseball player Ted Williams and boxer Joe Louis in color. The non-profit museum is comprised of three galleries, one of which is solely dedicated to displaying Griffin's own photographs.
In the main gallery, rotating exhibits spotlight contemporary photographers that have included Peggy Sirota, known for her striking celebrity snapshots, and a selection of picture curated by NY Times Magazine director of photography Kathy Ryan. Up-and-coming artists take center stage in the museum's Atelier Gallery, while Griffin's pioneering photojournalism fills the Griffin Gallery.
The museum also hosts digital and night photography workshops, where you can master being on the other side of the lens. It also sells photo books and other merchandise, including black-and-white posters of Fenway Park and souvenir mugs.
During afternoons at Together in Motion, children, accompanied by their parents, safely crawl through tunnels, practice somersaults, or explore a Parthenon made completely out of padded building blocks atop a cushioned floor. Evenings, however, turn the tables, allowing grownups to take over the space to fling dodgeballs at opponents or rehearse martial arts strikes in time for their kids' Bring Your Ninja to School Day. Weekend nights find thumping dance soundtracks traveling through the rooms, as black-light parties for teens and tweens celebrate birthdays and raise funds for nonprofits.
Though they admit disparate age groups, these classes and events provide a venue for guests to connect through movement. Together in Motion's facility rents its rooms to independent organizations—Social Boston Sports and Arlington Martial Arts among them—that encourage exercise and camaraderie. From the Latin-inspired beats of adult-centric Zumba classes to the musical motor-skill activities of Movin' Groovin' Tots, all of the programs foster both communal support and a healthy sense of self-confidence.
Any coach will tell you that teaching absolute beginners requires patience. As luck would have it, Marissa Theobald of Marissa's Bit O' Luck Stable has patience in spades. She needed it to complete her equine industries degree at the University of Massachusetts?Amherst, earn a license as a riding instructor and trainer, and work with problem horses, especially when they would ask, "Are we there yet?" from the trailer. Novice riders enjoy her calm, levelheaded approach as they learn the German method of riding, which emphasizes a balanced seat and developing a relationship with the horse?core tenets at any experience level. As riders advance, they can continue their education in dressage, jumping, and eventing under Marissa's tutelage, occasionally sneaking off to enjoy the miles of trails that abut the 9-acre ranch.