12 Great Family Friendly Things to Do With Kids in WNY Year-Round

Photo courtesy of The Buffalo Zoo

There is no reason to be bored in Buffalo- at any age. There’s plenty of fun family-friendly activities and places to go that’ll keep the kiddos (and adults) entertained year round in Buffalo Niagara. If you’re looking for some ideas of things to do with kids in Buffalo & WNY, we’ve got you covered. Here is our official kid-approved fun guide to WNY! Thank us later.

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Photo courtesy of Buffalo Erie County Botanical Gardens

1. Buffalo Botanical Gardens

WEBSITE

2655 South Park Ave, Buffalo, NY 14218

The beautiful Frederick Olmsted architected gardens have so much to offer families with small kids! There are plenty of kids days on the calendar- from holiday fun to special workshops and arts and craft days. Wegmans also sponsors a family garden, where activity stations are scattered throughout the gardens to keep the kids entertained.

 

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Museum of Science

2. Buffalo Museum of Science

WEBSITE

1020 Humboldt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14211

The newly renovated museum is filled with super fun science studio exhibits, workshop spaces, galleries and a brand new 3D cinema. You can explore all things science- artifacts from anthropology collections, physics and motion in an interactive studio, space in the planetarium, bugs, and so much more. There is literally something for kids (and adults) of all ages. Keep an eye on their special events calendar too, as they’re always coming up with fun new ways to explore the museum.

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Photo courtesy of The Buffalo Zoo

3. Buffalo Zoo

WEBSITE

300 Parkside Ave, Buffalo, NY 14214

Hours: 10am-4pm daily

What kid doesn’t love the zoo? Believe it or not, the Buffalo Zoo is third oldest zoo in the U.S. It’s filled with unique history, and has gone through some transformations (some even within the last year). In May 2019, they opened the brand new amphibian and reptile center to the public which includes the Komodo dragon, the largest living lizard in the world and the Bushmaster snake, the longest venomous snake found in the Western hemisphere (nbd). And besides that, you’ll find everything from polar bears in the arctic edge to seas lions in the cove to squirrel monkeys in the rainforest. 

 

canalside -skating
Photo courtesy of Canalside

4. Buffalo Waterfront (AKA Canalside)

WEBSITE

44 Prime St, Buffalo, NY 14202

Canalside is hopping with fun stuff to do with the fam year round. Throughout the summer (and into the fall) months, you can rent water bikes, kayaks, and paddle and peddle boats with the kids. There’s also plenty of room along the boardwalk to enjoy the scenery on the harbor while the kids play in the giant sand pit, or enjoy the giant games spread throughout the grass/Adirondack chair area. In the winter, the fun continues with ice skating and ice bumper cars- fyi, they’ll have a blast on these! 

 

Photo courtesy of Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum

5. Explore & More – Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum 

WEBSITE

130 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14202

This all new world-class children’s museum takes play very seriously, and even that might be an understatement. And what’s even cooler? The theme is all about Buffalo and Western New York. The kids get to enjoy hands-on educational play zones that highlight WNY’s unique history, geography, culture, agriculture, architecture, athletics, commerce and innovation. Be sure to check out the event calendar before going, because there might just be something fun going on- like scratch paper art-making or puppets!

Photo courtesy of Genesee Country Village

6. Genesee Country Village Museum

WEBSITE

1410 Flint Hill Rd, Mumford, NY 14511

This 19th-Century living history museum and village is definitely a worthwhile day trip with the kids (it’s about and hour and 15 minutes east of downtown Buffalo). You can walk around the preserved Genesee country village of Mumford and check out the old schoolhouse building, heirloom gardens, and homes in the Pioneer Settlement. Along the way, you’ll catch live demonstrations from the potter and blacksmith, watch fresh bread and pies come out of the brick oven and livestock roam the farms. There’s also a nature center and trails where you can explore and learn about the woodlands, meadows, old fields, geologic formations, ponds and streams of the Genesee country. Honestly, we think the adults will enjoy it just as much (if not-more) than the kids.

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Photo courtesy of Grand Island Fun Center

7. Grand Island Fun Center

WEBSITE

2660 Grand Island Blvd, Grand Island, NY 14072

If you’re looking for a full day of fun for the family, this is the spot to be. They’ve got laser tag, go karts, mini golf, water wars, batting cages and an arcade- something for everyone to enjoy. FYI: the season runs from April-October, so make sure you get there in time!

 

Photo courtesy of Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

8. Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

WEBSITE

180 Thompson St, North Tonawanda, NY 14120

Hours: Mon-Tues: Closed, Wed-Sun: 12pm-4pm

This old historic carrousel factory building houses two early 1900s carrousels with hand-carved horses and hundreds of detailed lights that the kids can actually ride! There’s also a seasonal kiddieland park with pony carts, wet boats and helicopters to ride, which is all included in the museum admission. You can also check out the rest of the factory museum built in the early 1900s which was home to a large carving shop, a paint shop, a storage area, an upholstery shop, a machine shop, and a roundhouse where carousels were assembled and tested before shipping. Pretty neat-o!

Photo courtesy of Aquarium of Niagara

9. Niagara Aquarium

WEBSITE

701 Whirlpool St, Niagara Falls, NY 14301

Hours: 9am-5pm daily

The aquarium is a year round (aka rain, snow, hail or shine) kids destination where they can explore all the aquatic animals indoors, and enjoy some hands-on learning activities along the way. Each day, you can watch penguin feedings at 10am and 2pm and sea lion shows at 11am, 1pm and 3:30pm! 

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Old Fort Niagara
Photo courtesy of Old Fort Niagara

10. Old Fort Niagara

WEBSITE

102 Morrow Plaza, Youngstown, NY 14174

Hours: 9am-5pm daily, July-August: 9am-7pm daily

You’ll get the chance to tour the grounds and experience the oldest continuously occupied military site in North America, right on Lake Ontario. You’ll catch reenactors recreating the struggle that led to the birth of the U.S. and Canada, artisans at work, musket demonstrations, film presentations, and exhibits all throughout the fort. Just know, the fort is big enough to spend a good few hours on- and there’s plenty to keep the kids occupied!

 

Photo courtesy of Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Preserve

11. Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve

WEBSITE

4050 North St, Blasdell, NY 14219

Seasonal from June to October

Ok, we lied. This one is actually seasonal (June – October), but it’s too goo to skip. Did you know the #1 ranked fossil parked in the U.S. lives in our backyard? That’s right! You can dig up some pretty unique real Devonian Period fossils in the huge former cement quarry. They’ll let you rent tools for the day so your kids can really get into the rock. There is so much to dig, it’s almost guaranteed that every kid will walk away with something! If you check their calendar, you’ll find some fun events for the fam to enjoy.

 

Photo courtesy of Theatre of Youth

12. Theatre of Youth Buffalo

WEBSITE

203 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14201

Theatre of Youth (TOY) puts on professional kid-friendly, entertaining productions right in Allentown. TOY started in 1972 by two Daemen College theatre instructors and has lived on with some fun crowd-pleasers and award-winning set and costume. There’s always plenty of new shows going on, with all sorts of kid-centered stories!

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