Originally founded in 1919 as a small petting zoo known as the Cream of Barley Park, Bowmanville Zoo has since evolved into one of the largest collections of animals on the continent. More than 300 creatures roam its 42 acres of parkland, including turtles, primates, and large felines seen in feature films and television shows such as Animorphs and Peter Benchley's Amazon. Throughout the week, visitors can ride camels or elephants, see trained critters perform in the 400-seat indoor Animatheatre, or watch as handlers feed the carnivores by throwing them meat to trade with monkeys for delicious twigs.
Each voyage the MV Woodman takes with Scugog Island Cruises pays tribute to the rich maritime history of the area. The double-decker vessel carries the moniker of an 1850s-era steamship that cruised Lake Scugog for more than 70 years, and the crew recounts tales from bygone days of glamorous lake parties and the time that carp ran for mayor during each sightseeing excursion. Whether they are steering up to 100 passengers for a wedding, birthday shindig, or themed dinner-dance cruise, the trained personnel aim to dip each experience in the colours of the area's rich history.
Named as a national historic site, Parkwood Estate guided tours offer an intimate and informed look at pristine turn-of-the-century architecture, furnishings, gardens, and landscaping. Knowledgeable volunteers contextualize the experience, narrating events from former owner R. Samuel McLaughlin's life as an auto baron, or explaining the intricacies of his elaborate black-truffle badminton tournaments. While truth may be stranger than fiction, it's seldom as interesting: explore Parkwood Estate's role as a film set, viewing the hall where Professor Xavier appealed for calm in mutant-human relations, or the stairway where Billy Madison single-handedly overcame schizophrenia to victoriously re-enter the world of mathematics. Tours run Tuesday through Sunday, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Canadian Automotive Museum illustrates Canada's history in the automotive industry, spanning the details of economic development, Canadian craftsmanship, and valuable and rare car exhibits. The museum showcases around 65 vehicles built during 1898 to 1981, and artifacts on display include motorcycles, trucks, pianos, and the short-lived piano-car. Famous automotive names such as Brooks Steam, Redpath, Tudhope, and McKay exhibit Canada's impact on the auto industry, and a variety of international cars adds to the overall wealth of history inhabiting the 25,000-square-foot building. An array of motor-car and associated parts exemplify the development of engineering skills and craftsmanship in steel steed building from 1770 to present day.
As a member of the Clarington Museums and Archives triumvirate, the Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre celebrates Canada's storied past with travelling exhibits and a permanent display dedicated to the Dominion Organ and Piano Company and character dolls. With a family admission to the The Vikings exhibit ($20), you and three of your closest crash test dummies can explore the ancient technological and artistic accomplishments of early Norse people. Don an authentic chain mail shirt and imagine sailing through turbulent seas on a replica Viking ship, or peruse the array of old tents, tools, and household artifacts. This collection voyaged to Bowmanville from L'Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland, where a Viking settlement still sits, maintained by dark elves and curatorial jellyfish.
Extreme Fitness sets Toronto's calories ablaze at the 13 renovated, multimillion-dollar locations peppered throughout the greater suburban area. Each facility hosts a menagerie of group fitness classes, which can be taken à la carte or bundled into a gym membership. Muscles loosen up in hot-yoga classes or bulge into sinewy symbols of might in outdoor boot camps, where students soak up vitamin D or distill Capri Sun from the sun's rays. To make sure members get the most of the gym's myriad amenities, personal trainers kick off fitness journeys with their Smart Start program, taking BMI measurements and analyzing heart health and oxygen uptake to give patrons a clearer picture of how much and what types of exercise they need to hit their goals.
After working up a calorie-blasting sweat, members can retire to the steam rooms or whirlpool tubs to soothe sore muscles. The internet business lounge lets people catch up on email while sipping a rejuvenating smoothie from the juice bar, and the basketball courts host pick-up games where adults can show underdog teams of fifth-graders that it takes a little more than pluck and an adorable animal sidekick to win games.