In Focus: Stone Zoo
Year established: 1905
Formerly known as the Middlesex Fells Zoo
Renamed in honor of former director Walter Stone in 1969
Owner and operator: Zoo New England, a nonprofit organization
Size: 26 acres
Exhibits: 8, including Barnyard, Windows to the Wild, and Treasures of the Sierra Madre
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In Focus: Beebe Estate
Original owner: William Foster, a Boston merchant and politician
Architectural style: early Greek Revival
Namesake: Decius Beebe, merchant and tannery owner
1963: ownership passes to City of Melrose
1981: listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Uses: public events, rentals, and host for lectures, exhibits, and classes
Home to: the Council on Aging, Melrose Alliance Against Violence, and Friends of the Fells
Notable feature: lilac, rose bush, and hedge gardens, used for outdoor concerts and poetry readings
Five Things to Know About Franklin Park Zoo
Franklin Park Zoo covers 72 acres and goes back more than a century, to 1912. More than 100 species of animals may be found among the 12 exhibits with names such as Tiger Tales and Tropical Forest. Before you bring the family for a day of animal fun, here are a few helpful hints and facts:
There’s plenty for kids to see and do. The children’s area features the cute red panda, the stately African spurred tortoise, and the industrious black-tailed prairie dog. There’s also a petting zoo at Franklin Farm replete with goats and sheep, as well as a 10,000 sq. ft. zoo-themed playground.
The zoo takes conservation very seriously. In addition to inspiring its guests to take an active role in saving animal populations, Franklin Park Zoo also participates in more than 80 species-survival plans that help endangered species survive and rebuild in captivity.
The animals have plenty to do. Zoos are far removed from the times when animals sat around in cages all day with nothing to do but sleep or despondently watch TV game shows covered in mustard and beer stains. Instead, zookeepers encourage the magnificent creatures to develop skills they would actually use in the wild, placing food in tricky-to-reach areas, and offering items such as “boomer balls,” tire swings, and egg cartons to help them stay occupied.
Some activities are available for an extra fee. Camel rides, spins on the carousel, and rhino-rescue film showings are among the extras available when the weather is warmer.
There’s an annual beer fest. Each year, the Brew at the Zoo raises money for Franklin Park Zoo and its sister zoo, Stone Zoo. It features frosty quaffs from a lineup of breweries that have included Coronado, Long Trail, and Samuel Adams. Other events include the Halloween-themed Boo at the Zoo and a party for the zoo’s gibbons.
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.