When Utica Zoo opened its gates 98 years ago, three fallow deer comprised its entire animal population. Today, visitors can traipse the zoo's walking trails to view more than 200 animals, including alligators, bald eagles, zebras, and an African lion. The zoo also provides a safe haven for threatened species such as snowy owls and mexican spider monkeys. Staff members guide tours and conduct presentations, allowing visitors to get a close look at animals.
As October shrouds trees in red leaves to mark Italian Heritage month, the NY Sash–hosted A Taste of Italy food festival draws lovers of mozzarella and marinara to browse booths of cuisine and wine before attending a cooking extravaganza from the Singing Chef. In the afternoon, vendors open booths to the public, showcasing desserts, ambrosias, and wares as local dance instructors Gina and Luca Esposito team up with a hologram of Marie Taglioni to demonstrate classical moves. At night, the audience takes its seat in the historic Stanley Theater for a cooking performance from the Singing Chef Andy LoRusso. Recording albums since age 22, the chef decided to prepare his suppers with a side of operetta, a tasty twosome that turned him into a bestselling author and cameo star more seasoned than Alfred Hitchcock covered in peppercorns.
Gelston Castle Estate is the Northeast’s premier concert and event destination, presenting world-class music and exhibitions on a beautiful 330 acre estate overlooking the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York. The natural beauty, panoramic view and historic hospitality make for an unequalled concert experience.
Steeds, including Saddlebred, Morgan, and Hackney ponies, gallop across the idyllic pasture around DarMaur Manor, a full-service equine facility with 24 stalls in two barns. Show-winning instructors Christopher Carrick and Laura Denale each draw from more than 20 years of equestrian experience to enlighten blossoming riders on saddle-seat equitation and cart driving in sprawling indoor and outdoor arenas. The veteran staff also trains all horse breeds, breaking young colts and helping seasoned stallions brush up on Renaissance art history.
Town of New Hartford Recreation Center sends skaters of all ages gliding across the frosty floors of its indoor arena during two-hour public skate sessions held throughout the week. Customers can rent skates ($4; not covered by the Groupon) upon arrival or whittle their own pair out of a block of cement before hitting the frozen dance floor to salchow beneath its bright lights. An indoor refrigeration system ensures that the rink can remain open until March 31st, giving visitors one last opportunity to show off their skating skills or favorite flannel poncho.
In an effort to ignite the creative spirits of the Adirondack area’s residents, View regularly hosts events and activities focused on and inspired by the fine arts. Workshops center around hands-on instruction in various artistic mediums, such as woodworking, jewelry making, and photography. The organization’s calendar also features performances, exhibitions, and special events ranging from antiques shows to waterfront house tours done atop party barges or herds of saddled alligators. Located in Old Forge, View’s new 28,000-square-foot LEED-certified building serves as a hub for the group’s activities, housing fine arts studios, exhibition galleries, and a performance hall.