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.
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.
Along the main stretch at Hilltop Paintball, one recalls the Old West while spying the silhouettes of two cowboys leaning against wooden structures and dangling signs swinging in the wind before a camo-clad anachronism emerges from behind a wagon wheel. The stranger locks and loads a paintball marker before hightailing it to one of seven terrains with scenario games, such as Alien Planet and speedball. In order to win matches, he and his teammates must navigate obstacles, including stacks of logs, hay bales, and clones of Barney Fife. In airsoft matches, they play a paint-free game with similar principles to paintball, and an onsite target range gives them a chance to hone their aim. To shake it up, they can practice putting at an 18-hole mini-golf course, try their hands at Nerf Dart Tag, or refuel at the barbecue and picnic area. The facility also accommodates larger groups for special events such as corporate outings and birthdays with custom packages, and a private party tent is available with advance reservations.