When the Jacksonville Zoo first opened in 1914, it had only one attraction––a red fawn. Today, nearly a century later, it’s home to more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plant species, and welcomes an ever-changing lineup of visiting exhibits. Guests stroll along the boardwalk in a large, open environment called the Plains of East Africa, where cheetah, antelope, and warthogs roam in environs that simulate their native habitat. The African loop also includes Elephant Plaza, where elephants stir up tidal waves playing marco polo in a 275,000-gallon pool. Visitors can also pet and feed stingrays, stand eye-to-eye with a giraffe, and head to the award-winning Range of the Jaguar exhibit to roam a replica of an abandoned Mayan temple. During summer months, kids get wet at the Play Park and Splash Ground, where they can climb into a treehouse or peer through an underwater window to see penguins swimming overhead.
After guests explore the wildlife, rest and relaxation await within botanical gardens such as the Asian Bamboo garden, where patrons cross a traditional moon gate to see a tranquil waterfall, komodo dragons, and an interactive bamboo mist forest. The zoo also features a carousel, train rides, and several restaurants where humans can tap into their own wild instincts by hunting their natural prey—the sandwich.
Led by globetrotting maestro Eckart Preu, the Stamford Symphony satiates aural appetites with beautiful interpretations of classic and modern pieces. The program will kick off with Leroy Anderson's chart-topping 1951 melody "Blue Tango," which beguiles eardrums with midcentury charm and quarter notes bearing roses in their teeth. Next, the symphony treats audiences to "Last Round," written by contemporary Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov to commemorate the death of celebrated tango composer Astor Piazzolla. The soprano saxophone concerto of Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Jennifer Higdon allows the bluesy sax to moodily soar under the supporting harmonies of a full orchestra. Preu tops off the evening with Beethoven's celebrated Symphony no. 6, Pastoral, a five-act tone poem that conjures up images of a day in the country without the hassle of traveling or milking a cow in your living room.
A soulful songstress that dabbles in a mishmash of classic American musical genres, Joan Osborne blipped onto the nation's radar more than 15 years ago with the hit "One of Us" and remains steadfast well into the millennium. Immerse inner ears in an intimate acoustic set featuring Joan's pianist pal Keith Cotton and special guest Jeffry Braun. For this concert, The Ridgefield Playhouse will feature a complimentary preshow hors d'oeuvres spread from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a full bar stocked with buyable libations. Groups should call ahead to reserve blocks of seats.
Experience the exciting rhythms of the ancestral Taiko and the magical sounds of the bamboo flutes. Taikoza uses the powerful rhythms of the Taiko drums to create an electrifying energy that carries audiences in a new dimension of excitement. Taikoza draws from Japan's rich tradition of music and performance.
Gatherings blossom into full-blown galas under the ministrations of Fun-4-All Entertainment’s party accoutrements, such as balloon artists, live bands, and cotton-candy machines. The party supply service’s portable miniature golf courses let putters perfect their strokes anywhere, and its vast inflatable screens hook up to DVD-players or gaming consoles to furnish outdoor movie nights or gaming tournaments. Further party accessories nestle in Fun-4-All’s supply shop, which includes a range of items from noisemakers and rainbow-hued hats to sunglasses ideal for the best party activity of all, safely staring into your favorite lamp.
Second Stage produces work by respected playwrights and helps emerging authors heat up the stage with fresh crowd-pleasing talent. This season, audiences can enjoy productions such as the world premiere of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, which starts in April. Created by Pulitzer Prize–winning playscribe Lynn Nottage, the show delves into the life and legacy of African-American actress Vera Stark.