Gold-leaf writing inscribed across the towering red portico at the entrance to The Shannon Rose Irish Pub announces what one might expect to find inside: “Premium Stouts,” “Irish Whiskies,” and other culinary staples of the Emerald Isles. Behind this imposing entryway lies a series of dining rooms that have a markedly different effect; chandeliers create a sense of intimacy as they illuminate Gaelic artwork and aged hardcovers resting on lofty bookshelves.
The son of an Irish father and a Mexican mother, Jose O'Brien got his first taste of fusion cuisine as a child in New Mexico. While his grandmothers colluded on Mexican-Irish holiday meals, Jose acted as translator, taste-tester, and pint-sized UN Secretary General. The cuisine born in that kitchen lives on today in a restaurant named after Jose and located far from its regions of origin.
As one might expect, the menu features both traditional cuisine such as the casa burrito with shredded chicken, pico de gallo, and guacamole; and slightly more unusual combinations such as the Irlandes burrito, with ground beef, Irish bacon, bangers, mash, and cheddar cheese. It's also punctuated by a huge burger section, brimming with items like the Tijuana Philly, drowning in mushrooms, jalapeños, cheese, and barbecue sauce; or Jose's burger, a house favorite that comes with bacon, avocado, green chili, and the coup de grace, a fried egg. Those with a taste for unaltered Emerald Isle cuisine can get their fill as well: Jose O'Briens makes a mean shepherd's pie and a quite personable bangers and mash.
Since 1978, Champion Day Camp has sated kids’ hunger for summertime adventure. During day camps, children are divided into small groups organized by age and supervised by staff members who are responsible for three to five campers each. In this nurturing environment, kids can make friends and learn new skills as they enjoy a range of activities such as the Ropes Adventure program—which includes climbing walls, ziplines, and a 52-foot “Humongous Tower”—or computer-, yoga-, and photography-based activities. Champion also stages traditional camp activities, such as swimming, soccer, and speculating on the ingredients of bug juice.
At Levity Live Comedy Club, renowned comedians such as Kevin Nealon and Susie Essman have graced the same stage as up-and-coming comics including Elliot Chang and Sam Morril. In addition to its live shows and a variety of pub grub and drinks, the club also offers classes through Manhattan Comedy School. Eight-week sessions help fledgling comedians with everything from developing a persona to lightening up a goldfish’s funeral.
((Boom)) Burger's staff angle to put their restaurant on the map in a variety of ways. First, they put a twist on the classic burger, infusing Angus beef patties with cheesy fillings that burst open with each bite. Next, their bartenders make like mad scientists and mix beakers full of brightly colored, fruit-flavored drinks known as Boomerangs that come in giant servings of up to 38 ounces. Between all of the barstools and tabletops the eatery can host up to 300 people all set aglow by 40 high-definition televisions. This means that even at maximum capacity, there’s one screen for every seven and a half people, so you can always catch your game of choice, be it baseball, soccer, or commercial judging.
When the Jacksonville Zoo first opened in 1914, it had only one attraction––a red fawn. Today, nearly a century later, it’s home to more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plant species, and welcomes an ever-changing lineup of visiting exhibits. Guests stroll along the boardwalk in a large, open environment called the Plains of East Africa, where cheetah, antelope, and warthogs roam in environs that simulate their native habitat. The African loop also includes Elephant Plaza, where elephants stir up tidal waves playing marco polo in a 275,000-gallon pool. Visitors can also pet and feed stingrays, stand eye-to-eye with a giraffe, and head to the award-winning Range of the Jaguar exhibit to roam a replica of an abandoned Mayan temple. During summer months, kids get wet at the Play Park and Splash Ground, where they can climb into a treehouse or peer through an underwater window to see penguins swimming overhead.
After guests explore the wildlife, rest and relaxation await within botanical gardens such as the Asian Bamboo garden, where patrons cross a traditional moon gate to see a tranquil waterfall, komodo dragons, and an interactive bamboo mist forest. The zoo also features a carousel, train rides, and several restaurants where humans can tap into their own wild instincts by hunting their natural prey—the sandwich.