The Mayo Performing Arts Center straddles time. While one foot is planted in the old-fashioned charm of the1930s movie-palace golden age, the other is firmly in the tech-savvy modern day. Between is a stretch of history that saw the theatre fall into disrepair and then resurrect itself to its star-studded heyday thanks to volunteers. Since its 1994 rebirth, the center has welcomed everyone from the Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg to Ringo Starr and Aretha Franklin. But, if the Mayo Center were a tripod, its third foot would certainly reach toward the future?a suite of education studios is onsite to cultivate the next generation of performers.
The New York Films Critics Series culls professional reviewers and armchair critics under one roof to revel in advance screenings of highly anticipated motion pictures. Bigwig film critics, including Peter Travers from the Rolling Stone and Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly, are slated to host, helming fact-crammed introductions and popcorn-eating competitions before each film. Though the stereogram algorithm that reveals the season’s lineup has yet to be deciphered, films on the docket may include the latest movie from Academy Award-winning director Pedro Almodóvar, Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize award-winner Like Crazy, and the adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary starring Johnny Depp. Screenings are often followed by interviews with special guests, such as actors, screenwriters, and Oscar-worthy best boys. Past appearances include writer /director/actor Josh Radnor (TV's How I Met Your Mother) and actress Zoe Kazan (Me and Orson Welles).
Housed in a handsome Georgian-style mansion since 1963, the Morris Museum educates and delights visitors with its vast array of interdisciplinary exhibits and collections. A true polymath playground, Morris Museum’s permanent exhibits include the Mammal Gallery and the Digging Dinosaurs exhibit, where patrons are able to touch a real dino egg within a gallery dominated by painted hadrosaurs and acid-washed velociraptors of Cretaceous-era New Jersey. The permanent Musical Machines & Living Dolls collection showcases 19th century mechanisms from The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection, springing to life daily at 2 p.m. for a mechanical revue performed by a selection of melody-making automatons that include antique player-piano rolls and turn-of-the-century wind-up musical dolls.
At Parisi Fitness Center, visitors boost their health and well-being not only through the professional guidance of a staff of fitness specialists but also through the support and motivation of their fellow members. In this friendly group environment, guests give their lower back and core muscles a tune-up during Nancy Gorra's Pilates Reformer classes. In one-on-one personal-training sessions, a team of extensively certified personal trainers and fitness experts ensure that clients maximize their workout efficiency and refrain from accidentally swallowing any free weights. After sweating to Latin tunes during Zumba sessions, or targeting and toning problem areas with boot-camp workouts, members can pick their kids up from the complimentary childcare center, or enjoy a muscle-building shake or light fruit beverage from the juice bar.
Founded almost 120 years ago with the mission of "connecting people with nature and stewarding the nature of today for the people of tomorrow", New Jersey Audubon is one of the oldest independent Audubon societies in the country. With the goal of increasing environmental awareness and conservation ethics, the society maintains 34 sanctuaries and 7 staffed facilities, including the Plainsboro Preserve and the Cape May Bird Observatory. Organized field trips and educational programs for all ages provide up-close glimpses of birds and other animals, as well as tidbits of knowledge sprinkled throughout the day. Through these efforts, the people of New Jersey are able to meet some of their upwardly mobile neighbors, including bald eagles, ruby-throated hummingbirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, and black skimmers.