Named as one of New England’s top five public gardens in Yankee magazine, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum spans 33 acres of lawns, gardens, trees, and historic stone structures. Through October 3, Blithewold is celebrating the seasonal color scheme with Autumn Splendor, a festival that includes access to colorful grounds (daily) and the more than a century-old mansion (Wednesday–Sunday), plus free children’s story time for children to read encyclopedia entries to each other (Friday at 11 a.m.).
It would take months of sea travel, extensive scuba certifications, and fluency in several crustacean dialects to find—let alone interact with—all the creatures found in Ocean Explorium's interactive exhibits. The science center emphasizes environmental stewardship and scientific literacy through several educational habitats such as touch tanks of local aquatic wildlife—including New Bedford's world-famous scallops and schools of rays and sharks. The Living Laboratory exhibit brings visitors face to face with sea creatures such as baby sharks, shark egg cases, coral farm, and moon jellies. Beyond the up-close encounters with denizens of the deep, Ocean Explorium also enlightens patrons with a variety of non-living displays. The Explorer's Zone presents scientific experiments that reveal the workings of the natural world through hands-on exhibits themed around different weekly topics, and Discovery Bay enthralls children aged eight or younger with games, puzzles, and a sand and water table. Advanced computers construct a three-dimensional image of our home planet as it appears from outer space in the Science on a Sphere exhibit, displaying global weather patterns in real time or replaying natural phenomena from history, such as the time it rained men.
For the past 15 years, The New Bedford Art Museum has dressed up downtown New Bedford with a seasonally changing collection of visual stimuli from local, national, and international artists—all presented within a former bank that still contains two vintage vaults. Pamela Calore's Time Has Left Its Mark explores the haunting remnants of abandoned local factories and the Rhode Island System that governed the lives of its workers. New Bedford Through the Lens, meanwhile, charts the city's changes over time through photographs or a feature film, depending on how fast attendees sprint past the photographs. The New Bedford Art Museum is open Wednesday–Sunday.
A visit to the Museum of Natural History & Planetarium will take you on a journey to discover the world around you and beyond. Open since 1896, the museum houses natural history and cultural collections, from local sources and from around the world. Aside from the main exhibits and housing the state's only public planetarium, the museum features programs as well as scientific and cultural events aimed at children, adults, families, and scouts, thus living up to its reputation as "The People's University."