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.
Led by expert equestrian Devon Garone, Fairfield South's lesson program schools first-timers and national champions alike in basic and advanced English riding techniques. Groups of two to four pupils practice steering, gaits, proper riding position, and horsemanship during 30 minutes of riding time. Subsequent 15-minute sessions sequester space for students to brush, feed, lead, and read bedtime stories to each steed. Fairfield South's year-round facility accommodates apprentices in warm or chilly temperatures every Tuesday–Sunday by appointment, and ensures each rider's well-being on its brigade of safe horses. In their decades-spanning training careers, owners Gary and Marsha Garone have captained teams to more than 30 world-championship titles and numerous competitive seahorse-riding victories.
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.
Italian native Lucia Rubini began honing her artistic skills at Italy's Accademia di Belle Arti, where she learned the craft of line and color from acclaimed European artists Antonini and Antonio La Bianca. Today, she continues her studies at the Art Institute of Boston, and exhibits her colorful, impressionistic work both on murals and in galleries throughout the city.
Her canvases also adorn her own gallery, Rubini Art, where she regularly crafts customized portraits and hosts pieces by emerging artists every month. She nurtures more fledgling talent during individual and group lessons, which cover techniques ranging from shading and perspective through such mediums as pencil, charcoal, and paint. For kids, she amps up the fun by drawing fantasy subjects, using messy mediums, and recreating the works of famous artists, such as the impressionism of Picasso, the modernism of O'Keefe, and the ketchup stains on Pollack's T-shirts.
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 YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.