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.
At Salem Wax Museum, visitors come face-to-face with some of the area's most iconic figures, including author Nathaniel Hawthorne, ruthless witch-trials judge Colonel John Hathorne, and accused witch Tituba, who sparked the city's witch hysteria in the late 17th century. But even outside the museum's doors, guests find themselves surrounded by eerie evidence of the past. Behind the building sits the final resting place of other Salem figures at Burying Point, supposedly the second oldest burial ground in the US. Right next to it, the Witch Trials Memorial commemorates the period of time where accused witchcraft ran rampant.
Throughout the year, the museum transforms the entire scene with themed seasonal attractions. In October, for instance, it sets up terrifying exhibits such as Frankenstein's Castle and houses that pass out toothbrushes instead of candy on Halloween.
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.
Staff Size: 11?25 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Free parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Antique toys, trains, dolls, and 1690 house
Recommended Age Group: All ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Wenham Museum is a family-friendly museum that's perfect for young visitors. The museum?s collections and most popular attractions inlclude 10 model-train layouts, a world-renowned doll collection, vintage dollhouses, a costume and textile collection, antique toys, historic photographs, and the National Historic Register Claflin-Gerrish-Richards House. The museum?s changing exhibits and programming celebrate childhood, connect generations, and honor local heritage.
What special training do you or your staff have?
Our museum educators are great with young children (and big kids too). We have family-friendly programming, and [our] rotating exhibits are designed to bring our collection and exhibits to life. Our museum offers many hands-on activities.
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
Read about our exhibits and collections before you visit. Our welcome desk can also give you tips for a successful visit. Check out [the] website for directions and hours at http://www.wenhammuseum.org/visit.html.
The architects behind CoCo Key Water Park have accomplished something out of every meteorologist's dreams: they've controlled the weather. In the 65,000-sq.-ft. domain of their indoor water park, the artificial sun always shines bright, the park's parrot mascot CoCo always has a smile on his face, and the air remains a consistent 84 degrees Fahrenheit?the perfect temperature to soar down water slides or get splashed during a trip around the Coconut Grove Adventure River.
Most of these signature attractions cater to kids ages 2?12, although older visitors have plenty of ways to get soaked. Indoor and outdoor spas have large whirlpools reserved for those 15 and older, and The Coral Reef Canyon fuses water and competition with water basketball and an obstacle course. The nearby arcade offers a drier area to have fun, as do private and colorfully decorated cabanas filled with couches, chairs, and televisions. For families who can't tear themselves away, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston North Shore is next door.