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.
A haven for exotic animals rescued from neglect or abandonment, Animal Adventures lets visitors interact with its furry and scaly refugees, teaching them firsthand to appreciate and respect the earth's diverse wildlife. Working with a rotating cast of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and marsupials, animal experts regale audiences with facts and the backstories of each animal, such as how they were rescued and which cartoon representative of their species best captures their regional accent. Though its denizens regularly find new homes, Animal Adventures's altruistic menagerie has included a massive alligator snapping turtle, a canadian lynx, and an asian water monitor. The sanctuary also offers day camps for youngsters looking to get closer with the animals, and an animal-adoption program for adults looking to support the cause by taking a critter home and putting it through college.
Shouts of “huzzah” ring out from the decks of a restored tea ship on the Boston Harbor, led by live actors costumed in waistcoats and tri-corner hats. Their triumphant shouts urge guests to take part in the events and acts of rebellion that helped spark the Revolutionary War. Inspired colonists meet Sam Adams who encourages guests to take place in a revolutionary act of resistance and throw tea into Boston harbor with the daring Sons of Liberty.
In addition to the array of immersive, high-tech storytelling devices and ornate replicas—the restored wooden ships were constructed by the craftsmen behind the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World—the museum houses a novel artifact: an original tea chest recovered from the shores of Boston after the Tea Party, of which there are only two in existence.
Cambridge Historical Tours unearths nearly 400 years of history during informative jaunts that cast light on the area's captivating, funny, and sometimes gory past. Sheathed in authentic Victorian attire, guides lead groups on 75-minute treks back in time, fusing wholesome doses of humor with laboriously researched facts. Guests take in the historic landmark Memorial Hall on the campus of Harvard University, and absorb the eerie ambiance of the Cambridge Burial Ground, where many of Harvard's early presidents are buried.
Sweet Meadow Farm is not just a kid-friendly equestrian center. Sure, their experienced instructors lead private and group horseback-riding lessons year-round, but the farm also houses an interactive barnyard zoo. Their menagerie of domestic and exotic animals ranges from miniature horses and potbelly pigs to peacocks and kangaroos. Sweet Meadow Farm hosts birthday parties, too, during which kids can meet new critter friends inside the air-conditioned barn and make up secret handshakes that do not require opposable thumbs.
Breaking through the fourth wall with terrifying visions to send tingles up even the sturdiest spines, the Witches Cottage live witchcraft and ghost show interacts with audience members for a chilling introduction to Salem’s supernatural side. Guests begin their journey in the theater’s lobby, mystically transformed into an old witch’s cottage complete with bubbling cauldron, pictorial remnants of the witchcraft trials of 1692, and a utility closet full of retired brooms. Guests will feel around in the foggy 75-seat theater for their seats and gasp in horror as a shadowy wendigo spirit slinks toward the audience. Rekindle entrepreneurial ambitions of opening a soul pawn shop as you witness a puritan entering into a dark pact with the devil, and then retire said dreams as you meet, face-to-face, the soulless entities of the underworld’s darkest corners. Throughout the show, Salem history and legend weave truth and myth into ghostly tales, blurring the lines of reality as if they were mere suggestions. The spooky performance ups its terror quotient during evening shows, with special nighttime events scattered throughout the week.