Travel

Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience at Franklin Park Zoo

This weekend we decided to visit the Franklin Zoo which unveiled its doors to the Lantern Experience and what a delight it was. As we entered the Zoo we were greeted by an illuminated welcome sign which gave us a little sneak peak into what to expect and let me tell you we were not disappointed. At the entrance they scanned our tickets and let us in. To ensure social distancing at the Zoo and maintaining limited capacities so as to avoid overcrowding it is essential to make online reservations here. They have ticket options available starting at 6.00 pm everyday until 9.30 pm everyday until November 1, 2020.

We made reservations at 9.00 pm allowing us enough time to enjoy the displays as the Zoo shuts its doors at 10.30 pm. We spent a good 1.5 hours enjoying the displays which we found was enough without it being rushed. If you are planning to go with kids I highly recommend going in earlier just so it doesn’t feel rushed and you have enough time just in case the kids decide to spend more time at the interactive displays.

Spanning 72 acres of the Franklin Park Zoo, there were over 50 majestic displays for everyone to enjoy. As we entered we saw interactive displays like the conservation wheel which allows you to spin the wheel to learn about different ways to conserve nature and wildlife, and step on lit tiles that bloom the petals of flowers on the wall display.

As we walked further, we saw the beautiful Asian lantern displays and a 197 foot long dragon breathing fire details bordered with Chinese Zodiac signs as per the birth year. Just at the tail of the dragon there were interactive musical step stars which were quite popular with the kids. We saw so many kids jumping around on the musical step stars and dancing their way out. I am not going to lie I did too. After all doesn’t everyone have a kid inside of them ?

Walking ahead there were various displays of lights as we reached the section displaying Pandas – A huge tall giant Panda, 2 pandas kissing each other. Another Panda display which caught my eye was the gleaming lit colorful tree with Pandas on it.

As we walked ahead we saw displays of giraffe, zebras, elephants, alligators, hippos and a few more displays. But the one which struck my eye the most was the display of twinkling color changing butterflies. It was bright, colorful and so full of life.

Walking ahead under the tunnel of white lanterns that hung above we we saw another display I really enjoyed was the Peacock fanning its spectacular feathers. Everyone stood there peacefully waiting to watch the peacock fans its feathers and the beautiful changing colors. It was a delight watching the Peacock, The National Bird of India in all its glory.

As we walked ahead through the various dazzling lantern displays and luminous flower displays we watched the beautiful color transforming tree. My husband said this tree reminded him of the tree in the Avatar movie (The Tree of Souls).

Passing through the blue Jellyfish display we walked into yet another display which I completely loved. A walk through an illuminated 66 foot long shark tunnel completely caught my eye. It was as though you are walking directly into the mouth of the shark. It was so creative and beautiful.

As we walked ahead we were nearing the end and walked through the Cinderella Carriage, and an interactive giant piano where you could dance your way on the keys making it lit up and play tunes. Definitely brings out the kid inside of you.

These were just a few of the key highlights for me but there is so much more and literally something for everyone. It is a fun one of a kind experience. If you enjoy watching the lights, the wildlife, nature, and cultural traditions this is definitely for you. As a part of the Zoo’s commitment to conservation and preservation they have used energy saving LED lights to create this whole experience.

The whole experience is magical and in parts interactive as well making it absolutely captivating. Highly recommend it to everyone.

Food, Travel

My Sunflower and Blueberry Picking Experience – A fun Summer Day

This weekend my husband and I decided to do something different, something that screams summer while exploring the outdoors and maintaining social distancing. We decided to explore the Sunflower Picking and Blueberry Picking at Tangerini’s Farm.

Approximately 30 minutes from Boston located in Millis, Massachussets this beautiful 60+ acres of farm land currently has the option to pick your own Sunflowers, Blueberries and Wild Flowers. We opted to pick our own Sunflowers which are often associated with the carefree days of summer and the plump, juicy and sweet blueberries straight from the farm.

We made our reservations for UPick a day prior and selected our time slot of 3.00 pm for Sunflower Picking and 4.30 pm for Blueberry Picking. Due to the pandemic it is essential to make an online reservation ahead of time. They usually open up bookings one to two days at a time and all the bookings are live. There is free parking available at the farms. Here is a link to the farms where you can check the schedule and make a reservation.

As we walked towards the fields they had placed disposable masks and sanitizers for anyone who needs it just outside the farm stand. As soon as we entered the fields we checked ourselves in with a staff member sitting under a tent at the bottom of the hill. when you are checked in you will be asked to wash your hands with soap and sanitize them too just before you enter the farms. Since we were doing sunflower picking first we were also handed sanitized clippers to select and cut the sunflowers of our choice.

You have the option to pick from one, three and seven stems each while making a reservation. We had selected picking three sunflower stems each.

We headed into the fields to explore the beautiful happy sunflowers – A feast to the eyes! After all how can you not smile when you see something like this. It is indeed a bountiful display of bright cheery yellow something I love. We handpicked our own sunflowers using the clippers provided to take back home to make our own flower arrangement. Remember to carry a bucket of water with you to keep the flowers fresh till you reach home.

There is also an option to do a professional photo shoot at the sunflower fields. Also, there next sunflower fields will be ready on August 1, 2020 in time for the next weekend.

Once we were done with picking our own sunflowers we checked ourselves in again to return the clippers and to pick our own blueberries. They gave us a pint each to collect our blueberries. Currently as the fields were not having UPicks at capacity they are happy to accommodate you a little earlier too if you have a reservation for multiple picks and get done earlier from one a little before time for your next reservation.

We walked in to our assigned rows and started foraging for ripe and plump blueberries. Packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and potassium blueberries are one of the most popular fruits here as they are also native to North America. The best thing about blueberries is they can be enjoyed in multiple ways such as pancakes, jams, jellies, pies, muffins, salads, cobblers, smoothies, ice creams, tarts, on their own and so much more. The options are unlimited.

We started filling our respective pints by handpicking our own blueberries and we picked up some really big blueberries. A tip to pick the best sweet blueberries is to check that the blueberry is deep blue even near the stem and not red or green near the stem.

Once we were done picking our own blueberries we headed to the Ice Cream Shop and got the Purple Cow (Blackberries, White chocolate and Dark Chocolate) and Watermelon Sherbet icecreams. After all what beats the summer heat better than an Ice cream.

Before we left to go home, we visited the farm stand and also got some amazing farm produce like sweetcorn, lettuce, spring onions (the biggest I have ever seen till date), blackberries, mini carrots, and a few unique soda drinks. All the produce was so fresh.

We were wearing masks the entire time but got extremely lucky as we were alone in the fields for sometime and just for a split second removed the mask and got a couple pictures.

All in all a great way to enjoy the outdoors and a fun experience! And the best thing is it is something that can be enjoyed with the whole family, friends or even by yourself.