As America’s first zoo and current home to more than 1,300 creatures, the Philadelphia Zoo hosts a cavalcade of winged avians, furry friends, aquatic characters, and slithering showboats on 42 sprawling acres. Gauge the ferocity of your roar at the Big Cat Falls, or visit the snow-strewn habitats of polar bears, snow leopards, penguins, and the Cheetos-dusted Amur tigers. Exercise your bipedality over to the primate reserve and speak firsthand with the trainers and conservationists working to save and protect endangered primates worldwide from the violence of video games and reckless taxis. The Philadelphia Zoo also features rides and attractions (at additional costs), allowing revelers to twirl about the Amazon rainforest carousel, paddle the swan boats, or take a ride in the iconic Zooballoon, where, from the comfort of the skies, the bearded pig's questionable facial hair is only turning children’s tears into raindrops.
The beastmasters of Turtle Back Zoo fill the troughs of their squawking menagerie with the help of donations through the Adopt-an-Animal program. A framable adoption certificate commemorates the adoption of Turtle Back Zoo's endangered African penguins⎯the noble butlers of the Southern Hemisphere⎯and the donation funds fish reserves, maintenance, and medical needs. Bird-benefactors also receive a photograph of the newest, most feathered member of their family and a bumper sticker with which to emblazon vehicles with a message championing the plight of penguin expatriates. Lodged near the entrance to the zoo, the Adopt-an-Animal Honor Roll Board proclaims the names of trans-species foster parents to visitors and those studious penguins who have learned to read.
Chris and Heidi Long always dreamed of the country life, and moving their things out of the city to a place where the pace was slower and the air was cleaner. When they finally purchased their dream-farm, they realized they could combine their shared, extensive experiences as teachers to create something that melded the best of both of these worlds. And thus, Whispering Pines Family Farm Camp was born.
Throughout the warmer months, the Longs and their staff keep kids entertained with an eclectic medley of activities. Programs and classes range from learning about and interacting with resident farm animals to arts and crafts and practicing your right to imprison your friends during games of capture the flag. In the fall, the farm opens its grounds to families for the Fall Festival, which includes an autumnal potpourri of activities such as hay rides, pumpkin picking, and face painting.
According to legend, Elias Atrum—a recluse dubbed "Old Eli" by area townsfolk—first farmed the grounds in the 1800s. When locals began disappearing, the authorities’ investigation pointed toward Eli’s farm, where they stumbled upon unspeakably gruesome sights. Now, every October, the farm fills with the sound of screams and Eli’s maniacal laughter.
Creepy Hollow’s Atrum Farm tells the gruesome story surrounding the locale, tracing Eli's grim descent and the carnage that he left in his wake. New this year, Paranoia—a second trail—lures intrepid guests through more of the haunted grounds, highlighting the sinister presence that lingered long after the mad farmer disappeared. This trail maintains a petrifying mood made all the more unsettling by strobe lights, fog machines, and loud noises. For easily frightened guests, Creepy Hollow includes a relaxing moonlight hayride through some of the 1,000 acres of farmland and a 5-acre, family-friendly corn maze. The staff also keeps teeth from chattering with concessions such as hot dogs, hot cider, and hot chocolate.
Each season grants guests a new excuse to visit Ort Farms, which has been the pride and joy of the Ort family since 1916. Each fall, the family designs a giant 8-acre corn maze, which serves as the centerpiece for the annual Fall Festival, which welcomes guests to visit farm animals, climb a giant hay pyramid, and board a hayride to the pumpkin patch. On weekend, visitors can enjoy rides on ponies, trains, and monster trucks. Winter brings holiday decorations, such as douglas firs and wreaths, and spring blossoms to life as pots of geraniums, annuals, and marigolds spring up inside the farm's five greenhouses. And as the sun dons its giant summer bathing suit, the Orts arrive at local farmers’ markets bearing fresh lettuce, colorful peppers, and other seasonal produce.
Locals can also participate in Ort Farms' share club, which connects consumers and farmers without forcing them to share a studio apartment. Each week during the harvest season, the farmers pick a certain amount of locally grown produce for each individual or family participating in the CSA program.
The Watershed Butterfly Festival, presented by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, will teach families about their local environment. Kids can get face to antennae with butterflies and other insects at the insect zoo, and families can explore nature on hayrides, walks, and at the festival's interactive enviro-zones. After learning all about a butterfly's lifecycle and rambling along on a trail, guests can take in the fest's butterfly parade. Other entertainment will include live music from Grammy-nominated kids' artist Miss Amy and classic rock from The Dadz. Food and art will also be available from local artisans.