Zoo in Springfield

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Since 1907, Flamig Farm has developed into a reputable educational-resource facility complete with an extensive petting zoo. Visitors can frolic with emus, ducks, and sheep, then cuddle with bunnies and piglets. Though not included in this Groupon, the farm offers several other activities, including pony rides, hikes, and hayrides. The farm closes when the weather gets cold, so be sure to visit before animals migrate to Hollywood and resume their winter jobs as fast-food commercial spokesmen.

7 Shingle Mill Rd
West Simsbury,
CT
US

EcoTarium’s three floors of exhibits creatively use wildlife, scientific concepts, and the museum’s natural history collection to help children discover the natural world. "Cyberchase—The Chase Is On!", a new interactive exhibit based on the PBS KIDS GO! math mystery cartoon and running for a limited time, allows visitors to protect the virtual universe by cunningly solving puzzles and math problems. "Bubbles," a seasonal exhibit, lets children discover different bubble shapes and stand inside a humungous bubble. Many animals such as a polar bear, bald eagles, and otters frolic peaceably within the museum grounds, which also features 55 acres of nature trails. Regular museum events, a digital planetarium, and free parking are also available.

222 Harrington Way
Worcester,
MA
US

Visiting The Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center is a lot like stepping into a nature documentary. On guided tours, a knowledgeable narrator takes small groups on a journey to meet more than 200 creatures from across the world. They stop by the habitats of the black and white ruffed lemur, the western bobcat, and the spotted leopard. Along the way, guests learn a lot: for instance, that the Bennett's wallaby carries its young in a pouch, and that the critically-endangered cotton-top tamarin has lost more than 75% of its native habitat.

But in at least one way, the zoo accomplishes something that David Attenborough never could. Visitors can actually reach out and touch a creature during discovery programs. They can even adopt certain animals, perhaps helping provide tasty grasses and career guidance to a red kangaroo.

These programs exemplify the nonprofit zoo's dedication to wildlife education and awareness, something they hope to instill in their visitors from an early age. In the summer, educators spin "Animal Tales" for rapt young audiences and hold a Zoo Camp, where kids start to learn about diet and animal care. As kids' love of animals grows, the zoo invites them to volunteer as Crew in Training members. Once they hit college, students can become interns working on projects such as field studies of the patas monkey.

302 Sumner Avenue
Springfield,
MA
US

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.

127 Combs Rd
Easthampton,
MA
US

Founded in 1903, New Britain Museum of American Art was designated the first museum in the country to be dedicated exclusively to American artwork. Upon its founding, wealthy industrialist John Butler Talcott endowed the museum with a hefty sum of gold bonds and bottled phoenix tears with which to purchase modern oil paintings. The collection blossomed to include other artistic media over time, and it now consists of more than 10,000 works spanning more than three centuries of American creative endeavor. The museum's permanent collections showcase works by noted American artists ranging from Norman Rockwell to John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt to Georgia O'Keeffe. Along with rotating exhibitions and borrowed collections, the museum showcases work by emerging artists.

56 Lexington St
New Britain,
CT
US

In 1936, Robert and Dorothy Leab drove their 13 head of cattle over Brodie Mountain and into Ioka Valley, where they broke ground on their new home. Despite the poor quality of the farm’s soil, their hard work gradually resulted in bountiful harvests. Decades later, the third generation of the Leab family still tills the land, planting assorted crops and opening the farm to visitors for year-round activities.

Each season brings new life to the farm, from the pastel buds and new shoots of spring to summer’s vibrant strawberries, which are grown on raised beds so visitors can pick their own pints. Kids frolic in Uncle Don’s Barnyard all summer, petting tame rabbits and llamas and whooshing down a 40-foot pipeline slide. Fall festival activities include hayrides and pumpkin picking, and during the winter, snow-covered Christmas trees can be carted home to add holiday cheer or provide a new project for the family’s pet beaver. Maple season stretches from February to April in the sugar house, occupied by 5,000 taps and two boilers. The farm churns out deep maple syrup that is served over pancakes and waffles in the Calf-A, a calf barn converted into a café. The farm’s cattle herds are pasture-raised during warm months, with their diet supplemented by the farm’s own corn, before becoming hormone-free, all natural beef.

3475 Route 43
Hancock,
MA
US