Thanks to Zoo New England, little patches of wilderness from Africa, South America, Australia, and other parts of the world now dot Massachusetts. The non-profit organization operates both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, each full of exotic creatures and their habitats. These microcosms represent an ideal world, one where endangered species thrive and fragile ecosystems last for generations to come.
At Franklin Park Zoo, tigers display their exotic stripes in the Tiger Tales exhibit where guests are educated on the perils these animals face in their natural habitats. Elsewhere, thousands of plants as well as mandrills, ocelots, and a pygmy hippopotamus turn the zoo into a tropical rainforest.
Stone Zoo, meanwhile, places simulations of the world's highlands next to Spot Pond. One area focuses on the Sierra Madre mountain range, which spans Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. The elevated habitat counts jaguars, coyotes, Gila monsters, and cougars among its denizens.
A portion of every admission goes to the organization's conservation efforts, which supports projects both locally and globally. For would-be zookeepers, Zoo New England hosts various adult and kids' educational programs, and lets volunteers help in the care of zoo plants and animals.
The Griffin Museum of Photography was founded more than two decades ago to honor Arthur Griffin, a famous photojournalist whose work appeared in Time and Life, and who was the first photographer to capture baseball player Ted Williams and boxer Joe Louis in color. The non-profit museum is comprised of three galleries, one of which is solely dedicated to displaying Griffin's own photographs.
In the main gallery, rotating exhibits spotlight contemporary photographers that have included Peggy Sirota, known for her striking celebrity snapshots, and a selection of picture curated by NY Times Magazine director of photography Kathy Ryan. Up-and-coming artists take center stage in the museum's Atelier Gallery, while Griffin's pioneering photojournalism fills the Griffin Gallery.
The museum also hosts digital and night photography workshops, where you can master being on the other side of the lens. It also sells photo books and other merchandise, including black-and-white posters of Fenway Park and souvenir mugs.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
The sniper crouches behind a tree bathed in the glow of a black light, catching his breath as the music filling the air pounds in time with his racing heart. He pokes his head around the trunk just as his adversary rounds the corner and fires bright green beams in his direction. The gunslinger sprints away, trying to protect his shining blue vest from taking a game-ending hit. High-adrenaline scenes such as this occur on the laser-tag arena throughout the day and into the night at Boomers Family Fun Center.
Founded with the goal of fostering a safe environment for children and teens, Boomers Family Fun Center upholds their mission within a meticulously maintained, 10,000-square-foot gaming facility. The laser-tag arena beckons players into its black-lit confines designed to resemble a jungle replete with luminescent plants, glowing insects, and confused Tarzans wrapped in Christmas lights. Armed with their high-tech phasers and computerized vests, gamers of all ages take to the playing field, lobbing light beams back and forth as trained staffers referee the action. Along with its signature laser-tag sessions, Boomers grants respite to weary players with arcade games and an onsite concession stand stocked with pizza and soda. The friendly staff also presides over parties that include access to a private room and exclusive rounds of laser tag.
Husband-and-wife team and Prana Power Yoga cofounders Philippe and Taylor Wells foster an environment in which clients can explore holistic wellness through yoga, intensive workshops, and events. Instructors at each heated studio locations roll out the welcome yoga mats, encouraging students of all interests and skill levels, from mothers-to-be to veteran sun saluters, to build strong bodies and peaceful minds in a judgment-free environment. During athletic Vinyasa-style yoga classes, certified instructors crank up temperatures as high as 99 degrees before taking mat mavens through a sequence of sweaty postures linked with mindful breathing exercises designed to boost lung capacity to Sting-like levels. Meanwhile, visitors in search of a transformative experience can attend one of the studio's workshops or events, which range from juice cleanses to destination yoga retreats in Nayarit, Mexico.
No matter the weather outside, the conditions are always right at Extra Innings, a 15,000 square foot indoor baseball and softball training facility. The facility includes four batting and pitching tunnels, each of which is 70 feet in length and equipped with an adjustable pitching machine, an L-screen for live batting practice, and a pitching mound. If players want more help, they can turn to Extra Innings' instructors, many of whom are former or current professional players and college all-stars. These experts use a uniform step-by-step teaching system to help students develop their swings, improve their fielding, and learn to only exclaim "I got it!" if they're about to catch a fly ball or have just been told a joke. For a break, players can visit an on-site pro-shop full of name-brand gear, or they can even arrange a shindig in the party area to celebrate birthdays and special victories.