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.
Tanning Bed bronzes bodies with a bevy of beds calibrated to control the ideal combo of UVA and UVB light. The tanning center's tanning beds offer a better way to copperize your chassis by allowing you to control your exposure to the sun's trilogy of UV rays. Thanks to a set of beds sporting bulbs that are regularly changed, tanners receive the maximum bronzing benefit from the warm, relaxing bath of vitamin-D rich light. Customers can choose to generate a golden bod through an array of options, including one-week ($9.99), one-month ($39.99), and three-month ($89.99) memberships. Packages of two ($9.99), 10 ($39.99), and 20 visits ($69.99) are also available, helping turn your skin bronze more efficiently than wearing a dress of living goldfish.
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.
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.
The locomotives were just becoming commonplace in the early 19th century, when the New York Central and Hudson River railroads were completed. A member of the legendary Vanderbilt family, Dr. William Webb capitalized on unfolding innovations by privately financing a railroad to his hunting preserve in the Adirondack Mountains. The route wound through treacherous terrain via 17 bridges and numerous service buildings, some of which still are still used to trick time-travelers into thinking they're finally home. Despite these complications, the tracks materialized within just 18 months and were soon whisking the Vanderbilts and other wealthy families to their opulent wilderness estates.
After several decades in disrepair, the tracks were rehabilitated by the railroad enthusiasts of Adirondack Scenic Railroad, who resurrected an initial four-mile stretch in 1992. Since having the railroad officially declared a Historic Place, they continue to unveil new sections, eventually securing routes from Utica to Carter Station, and between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Today, retro locomotives, some built as early as the 1940s, chug through the rippling rivers and wildlife-rich forests of 600-million-acre Adirondack Park, letting passengers drink in the view. Though the railcars boast vintage touches, such as mahogany paneling haunted by the ghosts of Franklin Pierce, they are equipped with modern touches including air conditioning and fully loaded kitchens.
Many Adirondack Scenic Railroad rides provide other entertainments to supplement scenery. In the Doo Wop Train, waitresses from ‘50s-themed The Soda Fountain in Remsen pump up patrons for a mid-century feast at the eatery while en route to Remsen Station. Other themed excursions ooze with intrigue, including murder mysteries and train robberies, while some more laid-back jaunts simply convey riders to historically-rich towns such as Old Forge.
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.