All aspects of the working waterfront are covered at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center (23 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, 978/281-0470, www.gloucestermaritimecenter.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily late May–Oct.), which includes an ocean aquarium, boatbuilding demonstrations, and a flotilla of watercraft moored in the harbor, including working fishing boats and a replica of one of the Boston Tea Party  ships.
Children of all ages are fascinated by the animals at Wolf Hollow (114 Essex Rd., Ipswich, 978/356-0216, www.wolfhollowipswich.com , tours at 1:30 Sat.–Sun., by appointment only Mon.–Fri., $7.50 adults, $5 seniors and children 3–17), a wildlife sanctuary where 10 British Colombian timber wolves wander around the grounds.
As might be expected with a rocky headland, Cape Ann  has a half dozen lighthouses scattered around its rocky shores. Perhaps the most picturesque is Annisquam Light (Wigwam Point, Lighthouse Rd., Gloucester, www.lighthouse.cc ), a 41-foot white tower ringed with a black railing, with a walkway over the rocks to the front door.
By far the most unusual sight in Gloucester is an abandoned village in the center of the peninsula. Once called the Commons Settlement, it was abandoned in the 1700s, when wild dogs took it over and it earned a new name: Dogtown. Now one of the country’s oldest ghost towns, it comes alive again in Walk the Words Tours (978/546-8122, www.walkthewords.com , $15 adults, $7 children), guided hikes given by two local women who regale visitors with tales of some of its most colorful former residents.
The highlight of the three mile hike is the Babson Word Rocks—23 huge boulders carved with motivational phrases commissioned to employ out-of-work Finnish stonecutters during the Great Depression. At the time, mottos like “Never Try, Never Win” and “Prosperity Follows Service” must have seemed inspirational, but now lost amidst the forest and cellar holes they seem downright ironic.