It all started with a farmer's generosity. In 1924, a civic-minded citizen handed over 16 acres of lush farmland and a small group of critters to the Borough of Norristown. Today, the Elmwood Park Zoo welcomes guests in hopes of creating a future stock of wildlife lovers and conservation advocates. A menagerie of around 300 beasts indigenous to the Americas?including jaguars, howler monkeys, gray wolves, and bald and golden eagles?peer back at visitors. Guests can also spy on more than 15 species that are threatened or endangered.
Though Washington, DC, has taken Philadelphia's place as the capital of the United States, it remains a bustling metropolis rich with American history. Grim Philly's tour guides?all of whom have at least a bachelor's degree in history?dredge up past centuries' landmark events and scandals, even ghosts and pirates, during their 75-minute walking tours, which made the Philly Hot List three years in a row. Their narration blends historical facts and local insight, with stops at a theater that was once a prostitution mecca for working girls of the night, the site of the first bank robbery, and Independence Hall.
Taking in all of Philadelphia's history could take days, but the folks at Philly By Segway somehow manage to compress the city's sights into two-hour tours. Starting along the Delaware River, excursions pass landmarks like Old City, Society Hill and the historic district, and some parts of South Philly, such as the Italian Market and the Magic Gardens. Besides historical attractions, tours stop by other notable Philly spots some of which were frequented by Sylvester Stallone while he was in town filming in his one-man adaptation of Rocky & Bullwinkle.
Accommodating up to six participants, every tour is led by one of Philly By Segway's Adventure Captains. Besides narrating the entire trip, captains snap pictures throughout, which are available for guests to take home afterward.
For over 12 years, Tours & Crawls has been has been helping to keep the peace in Maryland homes over the holidays, providing relatives a way to beat cabin fever and get out of the house for a few entertaining hours. Their thrill-seeking guides lead walking ghost tours and pub crawls around the city's historical district, examining and explaining the lives of its long-dead citizens while occasionally enjoying each pubs' choicest sips. Tours eventually wind their way to the graveyard, where a guide recounts spine-tingling tales of the buried dead and their favorite back scratchers. They also lead craft-brewed beer tours and twisted history tavern tours that fill tour goers' heads with titillating tales of the Founding Fathers and the drinking game that wrote the Constitution.
In 1989, Jim Kirkpatrick received a winemaking kit from his wife, Carole. At the time, neither Jim nor Carole knew it, but that kit churned out more than just wine—it also produced a dream. When Jim's homemade concoctions were a hit, the couple decided to try their hand at growing their own grapes, and soon moved to a home in Wrightsville surrounded by 3 acres of land.
Just 100 yards from Kreutz Creek, the Kirkpatrick's new location presented the ideal location to expand on Jim's newfound dream. Today, Kreutz Creek Vineyards generates an assortment of red, white, and seasonal varietals. Jim and Carole also use their tranquil grounds to host community events throughout the year, including bonfires and movie nights.
Flickerwood Wine Cellars is a family-built, family-owned-and-operated winery that was named Best Wine Shop by the Philly HotList. Their vine-harvested, lovingly crushed fruits create seasonal vino for the tasting—choose from more than 20 varieties of reds, whites, and blushes from sweet to dry and then back to sweet again. White-wine connoisseurs can opt to bathe the buds in Chardonnay Gold, a dry white with a citrusy honey-olive flavor and a touch of oak, while the Cabernet Franc's dry, peppery red hits rouge rogues with a hint of berry and boysenberry. Or, try the Ruby Z, a rose-colored fruity wine blended from native North American grapes. Bring your own foodstuffs to bolster your tasting experience and take home a bottle of your favorite wine to continue the tasting at home.