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Tips for a Socially Distant (but Fun!) Summer

Summer is the time of year we often look forward to. There’s more daylight, warm weather, vacations and lots of fun activities to fill your calendar. This year, however, a lot of our planned activities are on hold. Vacations, weddings and even trips to the beach will look completely different while we try to keep this pandemic at bay. Here in Massachusetts, local businesses who have suffered immensely during the shutdown have been slowly reopening their doors. They’re working hard to ensure your safety while maintaining social distance and proper sanitation. Below you’ll find ideas on how you can get out of the house by visiting some of the MTAB Benefits & Discount Directory vendors who are open. Not all discounts will be available at this time and many businesses are requiring tickets to be purchased in advance. Contact your destination ahead of time to find out about their discount and ticketing policies.

Get your fill of wildlife at Zoo New England. Both Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham are still offering MTA members a $30 discount on any membership level. But before your visit, you’ll need to reserve a time slot. At Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, you can choose a traditional trip through the park or you can purchase a Drive-Thru Zoofari ticket. No matter which option you choose, you’ll need to purchase your tickets and reserve a date and time. If the salty air is calling you, a whale watch might the perfect excursion. Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester is known for delivering breathtaking views of humpback whales while out on one of their excursions.

Feeling the need for some physical activity? Hikers will be thrilled to hear that Appalachian Mountain Club has reopened most of their properties for day visits and overnight lodging. Check their website for COVID-19 guest information on food service, guest expectations, contact tracing and more. The zip lines and rope bridges at Boundless Adventures in Berlin provide a perfect setup for social distancing. The trees are 15 to 20 feet apart, they’re operating at 30% capacity and are implementing sanitation practices. MTA members save 50% off two full-price tickets. To take advantage of this offer, email ma-info@boundlessadventures.net with a picture of your MTA card, the desired date and time of your reservation and a phone number you can be reached at.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed adventure, rent a canoe or kayak and paddle on for a calm, peaceful outdoor activity. PaddleBoston is still offering MTA members a 10% discount on one boat rental. Call 617.965.5110 for purchase instructions. Nashoba Paddler in Groton is open and taking phone reservations only. Discounts are not valid this year. Another option, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, is a beautiful spot in Boylston. The property, occupying more than 130 acres, is home to 17 gardens including The Field of Daffodils, The Apple Orchard and The Secret Garden. Members receive free admission; tickets must be purchased online in advance with code MTA2020.

Whether you’re spending the days poolside or at the beach, stock up on everything you need to make it a memorable summer. Visit Boing Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain where you can grab snorkels, boogie boards, pool noodles, a wiffle ball and bat, bubbles, sand toys and so much more for outdoor fun. Bring your MTA card and save 10% on your purchase.

If summer reading is more your style, many bookstores across the state are open for business. Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster is offering curbside pickup along with indoor shopping. Members save 10 to 20% on select titles. Beverages and pastries are available for purchase too. Books by the Sea in Centerville offers members a 15% discount, but the physical store is still closed. Call or email to place an order. At Storybook Cove in Hanover you can save 10% on personal purchases; visit their website for in-store and curbside pickup hours. Roundabout Books in Greenfield is still closed to the public, but they’re taking online orders. Discounts aren’t valid online, but members can support the business by purchasing a gift card now and then using it with the 20% MTA savings once the store reopens.

Museums across the state are slowly opening back up. Clark Art Institute in Williamstown opened its doors on July 12 and is happy to extend the $2 MTA discount. Call ahead to order, as timed tickets must be purchased in advance, and bring your MTA card with you to the museum for verification. For 27 years, Discovery Museum in Acton has offered an MTA member discount: FREE admission. They’re currently open for museum members and will open to nonmembers on July 28 – and everyone gets in free until August 23! Battleship Cove in Fall River reopened back on July 6 with social distancing measures in place. Bring your MTA card for free admission, but encourage the other members of your party to purchase their tickets online in advance. History buffs can travel back in time to the 19th Century at Old Sturbridge Village. As of July 1, all visitors are required to purchase tickets in advance; MTA members should call 800.733.1830 to obtain the discount – buy one adult admission, get one free or half off a single admission.

This is just a small number of the hundreds of businesses that have offered MTA members a discount. Be sure to browse through all providers to find something that appeals to you and contact them to find out their current discount and ticketing policies. Discount information was valid as of the date of this blog post.