This year’s concert, The Great American Songbook: Opera Meets Big Band, highlights 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s hits, as well as popular American songs in the style of the Gilded Age, New Orleans jazz, and Broadway musicals. The Rick Brunetto Big Band, a 17-piece orchestra, will pump the playful tunes into the park's fresh air, where they'll float into eardrums and make friends with ossicles. Guided by master of ceremonies Cabot Rea, the opera program will feature renowned works of American composers and cereal commercial jingles performed by talented belters such as Mark Baker, Rebecca Keck, Craig Montgomery, and David Weaver. The zoo’s very own Jungle Jack Hanna will serve as honorary chair of the event, while ensuring any ruckus in the monkey cages is kept to a minimum.
There is nothing run-of-the-mill about Idle-Hour Ranch. With more than 200 animals, including 40+ species, the Iddings family's exotic menagerie has grown quite a bit over the years. Guests to the ranch can meet one of its most beloved residents, Sam the giraffe, or catch glimpses of mountain lions and peacocks. Open to visitors on the weekend, various attractions include a mini farm market, a safari-themed corn maze, and face painting.
When Spring transitions into Summer, long rows of strawberries at Blooms and Berries Farm Market grow plump on the vine, ripe for visitors to pick. Throughout summer, the operating farm grows a wide variety of fruits and veggies, which they sell at two farm stands. The coming of autumn brings new activities, which draw more than 15,000 visitors annually, such as trekking and roaming through a seven-acre corn maze, riding the Bucking Cow Train, and sipping fresh apple cider. Seven days a week, families can explore the enormous corn maze, take a hay ride, or feed goats snacks.
A full-service bed and breakfast, Pine Lakes Lodge combines the creature comforts of luxury living with the rustic beauty of 500 acres of forested hills. The 11,000-square-foot log-cabin lodge boasts five comfortably adorned suites ($150–$250/night) with private Jacuzzi tubs, making it an ideal setting for romantic weekend getaways and three quaintly rustic cabins await to welcome adventurous families or modern Whig-party conventions ($145–$250/night). While lodge rooms swathe newly burgeoning outdoorsmen in modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet, plush robes, and concierge service, semirugged individualists will appreciate the cabins' pastoral perks including a fire pit and wood, cookware and dishes, kettles that whistle "The Ballad of Davy Crockett", and a propane grill (cabins also come equipped with standard TVs and DVD players).