In 2000, an educational outpost named Maritime Gloucester was birthed to help develop sea-faring talents. In a little over a decade since, the popularity of both the venue's educational programs and exhibits have transformed it into a bona fide information source about Gloucester Harbor.
In addition to the center's weekly and daily programming, site tours, and special events, the on-site museum offers a maritime wallop. It gives visitors access to boatloads of exhibits and attractions, each of which celebrate Gloucester's storied relationship with the sea by delving into the city's maritime past, present and future. The Sea Pocket aquarium, for example, encompasses outdoor saltwater touch tanks where customers can handle specimens of local marine life. Boasting the oldest continuously-operating marine railway in the United States, the grounds also contain a working Dory Shop, a large wharf yielding striking inner harbor views, and an oversized 12-foot lobster trap that allows for human entry. One of the most popular attractions occurs out on the water. Captain Burnham sets sail in the 55-foot Schooner Ardelle, a replica of a fishing schooner built in 1845—the same year the underwater blimp, The Hindensplash, horrified onlookers by losing control and floating violently to the surface.
Yankee Fleet's knowledgeable naturalists narrate the tour with nuggets of whale wisdom, and on-board whale researchers are available to answer one-on-one questions. While eyes are sure to be filled with majestic sightings of mammalian sea beasts (if you don't see one, your next trip is free), the body's fellow senses won't be forgotten. Passengers may have the opportunity to listen to whale sounds, touch whale artifacts, help capture plankton, analyze water visibility, and measure how far away whales are by counting the seconds between their lightning flashes.
Cape Ann Lanes entices pin topplers into its outer-space-theme environs with 20 sleek lanes and automatic scoring seven days a week. For two action-packed hours, don rental shoes to solo terrorize 10 pins, or bring along up to three friends, family members, or younger siblings dressed as bowling balls as backup. A cheesy pizza melts away competition-induced hunger, and a pitcher of icy soda keeps throats from asking uncomfortable personal questions of fellow lane occupants.
First established in 1994, Discovery Adventures is devoted to encouraging excitement for and exploration of coastal and ocean environments around Cape Ann. A large roster of experienced instructors and guides flex their years of outdoor-education experience as they provide introductory paddle tours, snorkel tours, and summer children's programs. All the while, they strive to foster a love and respect for the ocean in their customers and spark their interest in marine science and buying underwater vacation homes. The staff are all trained in first aid, CPR, and life-saving techniques to ensure a safe environment for all paddlers. Meanwhile, those seeking to relax on the water can partake in kayak and paddleboard rentals and float aimlessly among beaches, inlets, and estuaries.
Newcomers need have no fear of strain or overstretching at HotCore Yoga. Founder Peter Sklivas designed the 33-posture series to lengthen and strengthen the core while protecting the muscles from injury. Long, slow ujaya breaths help call up the body's healing faculties, and the warmth of the heated studio helps increase range of motion and free tension from the limbs. This attention to detail makes his 90-minute classes as appropriate for grandparents as they are for elite athletes or aspiring pretzel impersonators. As popular music from one of over 350 playlists fills the room, students of all levels move into ever-deeper poses, freeing the mind and fostering a sense of connection to the soul.
The diverse team of practitioners at Eternal Balance helps to tune out the chatter of the outside world and rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit with reiki, massage, and private yoga services. The intimate healing studio, tucked away in the Cummings Center, contains a private massage treatment room where the therapist tenderizes sore muscles and unties braided tendons with Swedish, deep-tissue, and prenatal techniques.
A nearby classroom hosts groups of students during life-enhancing workshops, such as The Art of Natural Breathing. The studio's owner, Olga, a trained reiki practitioner and yoga instructor, concludes each session with an improvised haiku to brighten each client’s aura.