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Venture Out to Mendon and Upton

Revisit your younger days when you hopped in the car, started the engine and drove off in search of something fun. The Sunday Patch Passport maps out where you can go on a short drive from your home. You won't want to miss these unique stops on our trip.

Three major attractions are a short drive from Milford.

1. Southwick's Zoo, in Mendon, is privately-run and home to more than 500 wild animals. Many of the species it features are endangered. On a recent weekend, zoo babies were the featured attractions. Parking is free. Admission varies by age. The zoo dates to 1963. It has primates, including several species of monkeys, as well as birds and giraffes. One section includes rides for toddlers and children.

It is located off Route 16 in Mendon, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Milford. For more information, visit the zoo website.

2. Fox 4 Paintball, on Route 140 in Upton, is another unusual destination. The site plays host to tournament paintball, as well as regular games. The Fox 4 business allows players from age 10 and up, with parental consent for minors. One of the regulars is in his 70s. Playing paintball is a rigorous, physical activity. And it tends to draw mostly men and boys. So, if your family leans on the male side, and they have energy to burn, this may be a good weekend option. Fox 4 will rent all the equipment you need to get started. And every game is preceeded by safety instruction.

The business is located at 159 Milford St. (Route 140), about 10 minutes from downtown Milford. Visit the website, for more information. And make sure you watch the attached video.

3. Upton State Forest is a quiet place. It doesn't have the activity or crowds of nearby Hopkinton State Park. But if a walk or a horeseback ride in the woods is what you want in a weekend, and Louisa Lake, let's face it, is not really an escape from civilization, 2,500-acre Upton State Forest is the closest thing. The proximity of a swamp makes it a little buggy this time of year, but you'll survive. You can bring the dog, but don't forget the leash.

The Upton State Forest is on Westboro Road, about 20 minutes from downtown Milford. Visit the website for more information.

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