Visiting The Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center is a lot like stepping into a nature documentary. Guests can take a self-guided journey to meet more than 200 creatures from across the world. They may stop by the habitats of the black and white ruffed lemur, the western bobcat, and the spotted leopard. Along the way, guests might learn a lot: for instance, that the Bennett's wallaby carries its young in a pouch, and that the critically-endangered cotton-top tamarin has lost more than 75% of its native habitat.
But in at least one way, the zoo accomplishes something that David Attenborough never could. Visitors can actually reach out and touch a creature during discovery programs. They can even adopt certain animals, perhaps helping provide tasty grasses and career guidance to a red kangaroo.
These programs exemplify the nonprofit zoo's dedication to wildlife education and awareness, something they hope to instill in their visitors from an early age. In the summer, educators spin "Animal Tales" for rapt young audiences and hold a Zoo Camp, where kids start to learn about diet and animal care. As kids' love of animals grows, the zoo invites them to volunteer as Crew in Training members. Once they hit college, students can become interns working on projects such as field studies of the patas monkey.
Celebrating more than 100 years of basketball history, the halls and exhibits of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honor the players, coaches, referees, and others who helped the game grow to an internationally beloved sport. There are shrines dedicated to more than 300 Hall of Famers, and the 40,000-square-foot basketball megaplex also houses more than 70 interactive exhibits with audio and video components, limited-run tributes to standout teams and players, and special events. The Hall of Fame provides an outlet for freshly inspired visitors to emulate the giants of the sport: a full-size center court, where they can practice alley-oops and half-court slam dunks or attend clinics taught by players and coaches. On the way back to the car, many guests pause for a photograph next to the towering silver sphere that punctuates the buildings' exterior.
Named for James A. Naismith, the inventor of the sport, the Hall of Fame stands just "a midrange jump shot" from the site of the original game. Played on December 21, 1891, the first contest tallied a final score of one basket to zero, prompting Dr. Naismith to remove the bee's nests from the backboards.
Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre slowly deteriorated over the course of the century until its closing in 1989. But starting in 2001, a $23 million cash infusion from the city allowed 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee, and a 2,200-pound chandelier that gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.
At 755 Liberty Street, Moriarty's Pub and Grille brings the cozy pub, and The Tipping Cow brings the hot grub. Guests can pair a pint of lager with handheld meals such as a jalape?o burger or shrimp po-boy throughout the afternoon and evening. On Fridays and Saturdays, they can also reach for a fork, knife, and sharpened spoon to dig into potato-crusted tilapia or flank steak grilled with smashed potatoes and caramelized onions.
Licensed acupuncturist and herbalist Stan Baker draws from extensive experience in Eastern healing methods to adeptly perform numerous Eastern-medicine modalities. Baker's acupuncture and bodywork sessions help to stimulate the body's vital energy channels, working to alleviate such medical ailments as migraines and musculoskeletal pain. A Sun Do mountain yoga instructor with a black belt in aikido, Baker bolsters his understanding of the East by attending weekly chen-tai-chi classes and boycotting three out of four cardinal directions.
A nonprofit organization, Little Sun Valley Skating Club promotes ice skating through lessons, competitions, and annual shows. Its members meet at Smead Arena to practice and have some good old-fashioned fun. They also use the sport to cultivate team spirit, teaching skaters the virtues of belonging and working together.