Founded in 1975, Real Art Ways is one of the United States' leading innovative contemporary-arts organizations. The cinema at Real Art Ways screens first-run and classic independent films seven nights a week for the viewing pleasure of card-carrying art haus-ers and visually starved celluloid fanatics alike ($9 for non-members, $5 for members). Leave the distracting 4G smart-toaster at home to put all the focus on Life 2.0, a thought-provoking film about human interaction in the digital age. Vintage hits like the horrifying Japanese 1977 flick House and the slightly less-horrifying 1955 Guys and Dolls share silver-screen space with surprising ease. Visit the calendar for a full list of show times.
For almost 40 years, Center Framing and Art has readied treasured keepsakes for indefinite stays on house walls. Owners Glenn Lazinsk and Lori Chozick preserve pieces with each customer's unique aesthetic in mind, maintaining an attention to detail that earned Center Framing & Art the title of Best Picture Framing Shop in 2008, 2009, and 2010, from Hartford magazine. Staffers complete all services onsite, surrounding prints, portraits, and diplomas with acid-free materials that guard against the damage of time. They also accept challenging assignments such as shadowboxes or 2-D aquariums for lazy goldfish.
Glenn and Lori advocate for the dissemination of fine art, displaying upward of 90 original paintings from both local and international artists inside the store. Their Saturday artist events permit up-and-coming painters, glassblowers, and sculptors to speak about and demonstrate their craft.
Center Framing & Art also emanates caring, neighborly vibes by amassing countless donations of sundries from guests, which Lori distributes to charitable organizations and those in need. Her dedication to the community merited the title of Greatest Person of the Day from the Huffington Post and a feature in the West Hartford Patch.
In 1935, the Wells family sought out a place to display their massive collection of New England antiquities. When they couldn't find one that was sufficient, they decided to build a museum. Since its founding, Old Sturbridge Village—a living-history museum with its own rich history—has granted visitors a chance to experience New England life in the 19th-century firsthand.
As they navigate a town and rustic countryside filled with 40 historic buildings, including an old schoolhouse, mansion homes, and three water-powered mills, visitors encounter heritage farm animals and interpreters in period costume. At regular times throughout the day, specific sites become interactive. A shoemaker cobbles a new pair of shoes, a blacksmith submerges steaming hunks of metal, and a soldier makes lifelike musket sounds with his mouth—all for the benefit of live audiences. Throughout the year, events such as cooking and craft-making classes further enhance the educational experience.
A haven for exotic animals rescued from neglect or abandonment, Animal Adventures lets visitors interact with its furry and scaly refugees, teaching them firsthand to appreciate and respect the earth's diverse wildlife. Working with a rotating cast of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and marsupials, animal experts regale audiences with facts and the backstories of each animal, such as how they were rescued and which cartoon representative of their species best captures their regional accent. Though its denizens regularly find new homes, Animal Adventures's altruistic menagerie has included a massive alligator snapping turtle, a canadian lynx, and an asian water monitor. The sanctuary also offers day camps for youngsters looking to get closer with the animals, and an animal-adoption program for adults looking to support the cause by taking a critter home and putting it through college.
Since 1907, Flamig Farm has developed into a reputable educational-resource facility complete with an extensive petting zoo. Visitors can frolic with emus, ducks, and sheep, then cuddle with bunnies and piglets. Though not included in this Groupon, the farm offers several other activities, including pony rides, hikes, and hayrides. The farm closes when the weather gets cold, so be sure to visit before animals migrate to Hollywood and resume their winter jobs as fast-food commercial spokesmen.