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.
At the age of 16, Matthew "Matty" Hughes became the youngest-ever licensed captain in the port of Boston. Funneling his passion into a career, he founded Boston Harbor Cruises in 1926 to lead tours up the Charles River. What began as a two-man, one-boat operation has grown tremendously throughout its more than 90-year history, now encompassing a 21-boat fleet and more than 250 employees who transport more than 2 million passengers.
The Boston Harbor Cruises's staff handles all things nautical, from whale watching and speedboat tours to wedding receptions and celebrations for special occasions. Because dolphins are hard to saddle and refuse to obey verbal commands, Boston Harbor Cruises also navigates the waters with ferries and harbor cruises that explore the historic and romantic sights of Boston.
Though the leadership has changed, Matty's grandchildren Rick and Chris Nolan still perpetuate the traditions of Boston Harbor Cruises, furthering one man's obsession with the harbor and inspiring future generations to create their own memories on its calm waters.
In 1799, Salem’s weathered seafarers founded the East India Marine Society and began to assemble “natural and artificial curiosities” brought back from their journeys to Asia, Africa, and other distant lands. Over the following centuries, the collection grew, and while it did, the Society evolved through various shapes until it became the Peabody Essex Museum. Today, more than 1.8 million of these works invite visitors to explore the world in a facility that underwent a $200 million transformation in 2003.
The majority of works now rest in a Moshe Safdie–designed glass-and-brick building, focused around a sunny atrium whose various architectural silhouettes echo local forms. This new building joins the East India Marine Hall, built by the seafarers’ society in 1825 and dedicated in a ceremony attended by President John Adams. Today, that National Historic Landmark hosts society-member portraits and a number of the hall’s original objects; in other galleries, paintings and sculptures by Japanese, Indian, and Chinese artists hang on the walls or perch in glass cases like pies with personal-space issues. Guests can also tour Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside of China and a 200-year-old structure with intricate carvings.
In 2013, the Peabody Essex Museum will add exciting new displays to its rotating special exhibitions, from Faberge treasures to impressionistic masterpieces from the likes of Monet, Renoir, and Manet, as well as modern African-American art and contemporary art from India. After marveling at the skill and diversity of the artwork, visitors can drop by the Atrium Café or the Garden Restaurant for a bite to eat.
Pinks, purples, and oranges radiate through a darkening sky as the sun dips beneath the horizon. Waters of Cape Cod clap gently all around, and sand sneaks in between paddlers’ bare toes. It’s a wondrous experience, and one that Great Marsh Kayak Tours makes possible through its Sunset Spectacular trip.
Such scenes, part of Cape Cod’s natural magic, are not lost on Bob Wilds. A retired whale watcher, Bob resides in the Cape year-round. He founded Great Marsh Kayak Tours in hopes of sharing the beauty that surrounds him daily. In addition to the Sunset Spectacular tour, Bob leads other family-friendly adventures. The Naturalist’s Dream tour immerses groups in the majestic salt marshes and explores how early Cape Cod settlers used this environment to survive. All tours employ the services of the Esperanto, a comfy, easy-to-paddle kayak with ample storage capacity for personal belongings and the native kettle chips found floating in the water.
Cape Cod Fishing Charters cast its first line in Provincetown more than 30 years ago. Back then, though, it was known as Top Rod Charters amongst a group of friends and fellow anglers. After a night of fishing, the group would meet at a local diner and compare their catches. The winner, of course, sat at the head of the table and ate for free.
But fishing in those days was a very different scene than the ones afforded by the current version of Cape Cod Charters. Today, the company features a fleet of safe, professionally operated boats. Aboard the vessels, groups receive as much or as little instruction as they want, all while using high-quality rods to reel in fish from the water or poke slumbering pirates that float by on inner tubes. Charters chase striped bass, tuna, cod, and more, and sometimes, appearances from seals and breaching whales make the experience all the more exciting.
When it comes to prototypical Cape Cod fishermen, Captain Bruce Peters is straight out of central casting. He’s a 16th-generation native with nearly 40 years of fishing experience, an affinity for old-school light tackle, and a 34’ boat named after his mom. At Capeshores Charters in Chatham, he welcomes groups of six aboard the Marilyn S. for seasonal expeditions in search of striped bass, bluefish, or bluefin tuna. Since he supplies all of the rods and reels, passengers can focus on the task at hand: catching some rays, scanning the water for fish, and reeling in the ocean’s bounty of sunken yachts. Captain Bruce takes part in the fun, as well, but as a US Coast Guard Master Captain, safety never strays too far from his thoughts.