With the height of his career 230 million years behind him, the 20-foot T. rex followed a path typical to many retirees: he decided to hit the golf course. Since 1958, the bright-orange behemoth has kept watch over the sixth hole at Route 1 Miniature Golf & Batting Cages, dazzling visitors with his twin rows of gleaming incisors and spot-on Bob Hope impersonation. But the toothy star isn’t the only creature challenging players on this classic putt-putt course. Players must map their swings to navigate a roaring lion, yawning hippo, and towering gray elephant before testing their luck on the 18th hole, where only the most precise putts can succeed in ringing the siren and winning the player a free game.
Adjacent to the mini-golf fairways, four batting cages pitch balls at speeds of more than 85 miles per hour, and an arcade challenges players with classic video games, including Ice Ball. Come cool-down time, guests can usher in a sweet finish to their afternoon by storming the Dairy Castle to seize one of 26 flavors of Richardson’s ice cream, including black raspberry and maple walnut.
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.
Led by expert equestrian Devon Garone, Fairfield South's lesson program schools first-timers and national champions alike in basic and advanced English riding techniques. Groups of two to four pupils practice steering, gaits, proper riding position, and horsemanship during 30 minutes of riding time. Subsequent 15-minute sessions sequester space for students to brush, feed, lead, and read bedtime stories to each steed. Fairfield South's year-round facility accommodates apprentices in warm or chilly temperatures every Tuesday–Sunday by appointment, and ensures each rider's well-being on its brigade of safe horses. In their decades-spanning training careers, owners Gary and Marsha Garone have captained teams to more than 30 world-championship titles and numerous competitive seahorse-riding victories.
The Griffin Museum of Photography was founded more than two decades ago to honor Arthur Griffin, a famous photojournalist whose work appeared in Time and Life, and who was the first photographer to capture baseball player Ted Williams and boxer Joe Louis in color. The non-profit museum is comprised of three galleries, one of which is solely dedicated to displaying Griffin's own photographs.
In the main gallery, rotating exhibits spotlight contemporary photographers that have included Peggy Sirota, known for her striking celebrity snapshots, and a selection of picture curated by NY Times Magazine director of photography Kathy Ryan. Up-and-coming artists take center stage in the museum's Atelier Gallery, while Griffin's pioneering photojournalism fills the Griffin Gallery.
The museum also hosts digital and night photography workshops, where you can master being on the other side of the lens. It also sells photo books and other merchandise, including black-and-white posters of Fenway Park and souvenir mugs.
In 1799, Salem’s weathered seafarers founded the East India Marine Society and began to assemble “natural and artificial curiosities” brought back from their journeys to Asia, Africa, and other distant lands. Over the following centuries, the collection grew, and while it did, the Society evolved through various shapes until it became the Peabody Essex Museum. Today, more than 1.8 million of these works invite visitors to explore the world in a facility that underwent a $200 million transformation in 2003.
The majority of works now rest in a Moshe Safdie–designed glass-and-brick building, focused around a sunny atrium whose various architectural silhouettes echo local forms. This new building joins the East India Marine Hall, built by the seafarers’ society in 1825 and dedicated in a ceremony attended by President John Adams. Today, that National Historic Landmark hosts society-member portraits and a number of the hall’s original objects; in other galleries, paintings and sculptures by Japanese, Indian, and Chinese artists hang on the walls or perch in glass cases like pies with personal-space issues. Guests can also tour Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside of China and a 200-year-old structure with intricate carvings.
In 2013, the Peabody Essex Museum will add exciting new displays to its rotating special exhibitions, from Faberge treasures to impressionistic masterpieces from the likes of Monet, Renoir, and Manet, as well as modern African-American art and contemporary art from India. After marveling at the skill and diversity of the artwork, visitors can drop by the Atrium Café or the Garden Restaurant for a bite to eat.
Recipients of Northshore magazine’s 2010 Best of North Shore award for Best Movie Theater, CinemaSalem fills four screens with first-run, art, and documentary films. Evening flicks after 6 p.m. offer stargazing opportunities for adults ($9.50) and kids ($7.50); 3-D films levy an additional $2 to compensate the hardworking technician who throws props and actors at the audience. Take in a morning movie before 12:30 p.m. ($6), or escape incessant summer sun by ducking into a matinee ($8 for adults, $7.50 for children). While you watch, crunch popcorn or traipse to the café for movie-minded concoctions such as the Vanilla Sky, a froth of espresso, vanilla, and clouds of foam ($3.50–$4), or the Holy Grail ($4.50), a peanut-butter-and-banana milkshake.