Thanks to Zoo New England, little patches of wilderness from Africa, South America, Australia, and other parts of the world now dot Massachusetts. The non-profit organization operates both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, each full of exotic creatures and their habitats. These microcosms represent an ideal world, one where endangered species thrive and fragile ecosystems last for generations to come.
At Franklin Park Zoo, tigers display their exotic stripes in the Tiger Tales exhibit where guests are educated on the perils these animals face in their natural habitats. Elsewhere, thousands of plants as well as mandrills, ocelots, and a pygmy hippopotamus turn the zoo into a tropical rainforest.
Stone Zoo, meanwhile, places simulations of the world's highlands next to Spot Pond. One area focuses on the Sierra Madre mountain range, which spans Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. The elevated habitat counts jaguars, coyotes, Gila monsters, and cougars among its denizens.
A portion of every admission goes to the organization's conservation efforts, which supports projects both locally and globally. For would-be zookeepers, Zoo New England hosts various adult and kids' educational programs, and lets volunteers help in the care of zoo plants and animals.
Owner Richard Lanza began Open Doors as a metaphysical healing center and store in 1992, and he carried that healing spirit into the yoga studio he opened in 2003. At Open Doors Yoga Studios, Richard's goal is to create a space where people feel empowered to explore their personal beliefs on a path toward self-healing. Thus, yoga instructors at the studio's numerous locations help practitioners achieve their personal goals through accessible classes, each designed to build core strength while quieting the mind and increasing body awareness. From slow-flow heated classes to unheated Hatha sessions, students can participate in a variety of yoga styles geared toward beginners, more experienced participants, and those who only feel comfortable in a 98-degree room.
The staff at A & J Beauty and Day Spa can embed bliss in any part of the body with a lineup of massages, facials, body wraps, and nailcare services. Massage therapists deliver Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone treatments with the help of aromatic creams and oils or unscented products that leave less of a trail for hounds to track. Facials are customized to each client's particular skincare needs, and the selection of body wraps includes a seaweed body wrap, an exfoliating body mask, and a Parafango mud treatment. For nailcare, technicians perform manicures and pedicures and offer Shellac, a no-chip gel with a mirror-like finish that lasts for two weeks.
A landmark in the Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods for more than 80 years, Chez Vous Roller Skating celebrates one of America's favorite pastimes by ushering guests onto a gleaming floor for some spins around the rink. Visitors without their own roller skates can rent a pair before heading out to glide and get down to tunes from the '70s—the golden age of roller rinks—and beyond. General skating is the main attraction for everyone from youth trying out trick moves to adults seeking a nostalgic activity, but Chez Vous also hosts birthday parties and special events featuring live DJs.
The instructors at The Body Center don't view Pilates as a simple exercise trend—instead, they conduct classes as interactive seminars on human anatomy. They teach clients how to train certain muscle groups by identifying and coaxing them through specific movement patterns designed to increase strength and flexibility at the same time. Ultimately, they try to instill in their students an enhanced sense of bodily awareness, one that informs walks down the street just as much as it does stretches on the mat.
Because physiques differ depending on build, lifestyle, and how often they were pinched as babies, The Body Center's curriculum is appropriately broad. Class themes range from Reformer and mat Pilates to TRX suspension training and High Intensity Interval Training classes. These subsets are also divided by skill level. Beginners derive comfort from the company of other trainees, while intermediate and advanced classes pursue communal challenges. Specialized lessons can focus on specific body parts, sports performance, or the use of props, and modifications throughout every course cater to individual fitness levels.
The staff keeps classes small in the interest of personalization. Mat classes accept up to 10 students, and Reformer classes won't admit more than 6. Private and duet sessions allow for even more focused attention, as instructors won't be distracted by the loud popping of several emerging six-packs.
East Coast Divers whisks experienced divers to picturesque spots dotting the shorelines north of Boston, from Cathedral Rocks and Pebble Beach in Rockport to Lane's Cove and Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. But before participants can tag along on the scuba outfit's trips, they need to learn the skills. That's where East Coast Divers's faculty comes in. Comprised of professional divers, the staff puts their experience to use during an array of classes. Discover Scuba teaches students the basics during a one-hour pool session, and the refresher course can revive a rusty diver's skills. Technical diving instills safety fundamentals, and open water certifications ready divers for underwater explorations in the ocean or playing the dolphin understudy at the local aquarium.