Astride their trusty snowmobiles, the knowledgeable guides at Jay Snowmobile Adventures help visiting adventurers conquer the winter landscape during tours of picturesque Vermont snowscapes. One- and two-person tour packages begin at the outfitter’s home base, located 3 miles from the entrance of Jay Peak Resort. From there, groups wind through the wilderness of Jay, Vermont and parts of Westfield for up to two hours, exploring the snowy nooks and frost-covered crannies of Jay State Forest and the nearby countryside. They rarely make the trip alone, though; moose and white-tailed deer often dot the secluded paths, ready to pose for snapshots in their most photogenic outfits.
The story of the United States Navy begins on Lake Champlain. The year was 1776, and the fledgling American Revolution seemed doomed to failure almost before it began after a naval retreat to the town known today as Whitehall, New York. Then the Continental Congress issued a command on June 17 of 1776 "to build, with all expedition, as many galleys and armed vessels as ... shall be sufficient to make us indisputably masters of the lakes Champlain and George." By August, eight new gunboats were afloat on the lake—just in time to face the British in the Battle of Valcour.
That story and hundreds more come to life in the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, images, and documents. Visitors can marvel at the massive 10' x 8' rudder of the steamboat Champlain II, and explore her shipwreck in real time using a remote-operated vehicle. In the Hazelett Watercraft Center, the 111-year-old ice yacht Storm King towers over 90 dugouts, bark canoes, kayaks, rowing skiffs, and sailboats. But the core of the museum is the Key to Liberty exhibit, where visitors can read eyewitness accounts of the Battle of Valcour and marvel at a 9-foot scale model of a gunboat. On fair days, the full-size gunboat replica Philadelphia II sets sail, giving passengers a glimpse of a distant era without the bother of going though a time machine broker first.
For more than three decades, birthday parties, family outings, and corporate retreats have come to life at Karters' Korner with the hum of go-karts, the satisfying sound of well-driven golf balls, and the laughter of children at the mini golf course. A glistening fleet of 40 single and 8 double-seater carts send drivers and passengers zooming around a nearly mile-long track, shielded by the safety of annual vehicle inspections, roll bars, seat belts, and force fields. Visitors who don't meet the track's 54-inch height requirement can practice their automotive skills on the four-wheeler kiddy-kart track. Golfers master their swing at the 1,000-foot driving range, sending balls soaring over a glistening lake speckled with four island greens. Mini golf unites families against the challenge of sending golf balls past cleverly designed obstacles, and an arsenal of pool tables, air hockey, and video games entertain guests indoors. The newly-added paintball fields allow patrons to splatter paint at will within one of several courses. During warm, sunny days, picnickers gather at the large covered patio for lunch, and athletes pick up games of basketball or beach volleyball at the outdoor courts.
Little Ray's Reptile Zoo is a grand hotel for cold-blooded critters overseen by animal enthusiasts Paul "Little Ray" Goulet and his wife Sheri Goulet. At their new location in Hamilton, they host one of the largest sanctuaries in Ontario for unwanted reptiles. Meanwhile, the renovated Ottawa location features 25 permanent exhibits, a nature centre, and a hands-on room. Born from the joy Little Ray experienced sharing his personal collection of reptiles with school children, the zoo now encompasses a variety of exhibits and daily feeding demonstrations showcasing more than 150 animals. The expert staff—which has trained keepers at other animal facilities on proper husbandry and correct presentation—safely introduces visitors to the animals which include giant snakes, tarantulas, and more. The zoo is open daily for corporate groups, birthday parties, and everyday animal lovers to tour the reptile environs and educational displays. The reptile zoo hosts large private-party and function rooms and a jungle spa where pythons receive hydrating wraps to combat scaly skin.
As the leaves began to slip into their autumnal shades in September of 1988, Ottawa’s artists won a years-long battle to secure their city a municipal art gallery of its very own. Built with the hopes of showcasing the unique energy and voices of the local artistic scene, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) has, in the two decades since its founding, upheld its advocacy and celebration of municipal talent with an ever-changing roster of exhibits. An ongoing lineup of interactive programs and events cultivates a community of art lovers and sparks cultural discussions. Meanwhile, kids' art camps bolster the creativity of local youngsters and the egos of any cryogenically defrosted Monets in attendance. The OAG also houses the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, a compendium of upward of 1,600 homegrown masterpieces from the modern period featuring celebrated artists including Emily Carr, Jack Shadbolt, and Paul-Émile Borduas.
Glowing monkeys scamper toward a neon waterfall, and a knight bearing a radiant yellow lance rides past a bright orange octopus emerging from the ocean. What appears to be a time-traveling session gone awry is really the evolving environment within Putting Edge’s indoor black-lit mini-golf course, which whisks players to deep seas, Aztec jungles, and medieval times. Since opening its original location in Canada, Putting Edge has now expanded to 16 North American locations, all of which invite guests onto its challenging 18-hole courses to seek victory over opponents and the forces that keep their teeth from not glowing as brightly as they could. Elsewhere, the facility houses private party rooms, concessions, and an arcade filled with gamer favorites such as air hockey.