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.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
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.
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.