With fall in full swing, there’s plenty to experience in the Greater Buffalo Area. The trees are changing and Buffalonians are seizing the last of our area’s warm weather. Whether you’re looking to try something new, or ready to broaden the scope of a previous passion, here are some ideas to help you savor every last minute!
Festivals and Events
The Great Pumpkin Farm
The Great Pumpkin Farm should be a staple in every true Western New Yorker’s fall experience. With a massive corn maze, farm animals, hay labyrinth, carnival rides, expansive indoor facilities and naturally tons upon tons of pumpkins, the Great Pumpkin Farm has it all. It’s essentially the ultimate fall adventure for individuals of all ages. Every weekend features a different special event. These affairs include weight-offs for some of the world’s largest pumpkins, the pumpkin “Olympics” and pumpkin hurling trebuchets to name a few.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens hosts a special event every fall. This year the gardens are celebrating over a 100 years and “Mums in the fall” offers a spectacular way to appreciate. From October 17th to November 8th revel in the beauty of myriad colorful Mums. In a beautiful setting, take in the vibrant hues that mark seasonal change!
After its construction from 1897-1899 the Buffalo Botanical Gardens was one of the largest public greenhouses in the country. Today there are fewer than a dozen large Victorian Age conservatories in America, and ours is one of only two with a tri-dome design (the New York Botanical Garden being the other).
Old Fort Niagara
Each year at Old Fort Niagara a special Halloween event is held. On October 17th and 24th the fort grounds has more to tell than just history. From the headless ghost that haunts the 1726 French Castle to unexplained shadows, slamming doors and unnerving orbs, the mysterious past of Old Fort Niagara will be exposed. On these particular nights, spooky incidents and happenings come to life! The event offers visitors a nocturnal tour of the Fort, complete with ghosts and stories from the Fort’s violent bygone era. Visitors can linger by a bonfire and hear true stories of unexplained supernatural sightings. All on fort grounds!
Outdoors and More
Geocaching and Letterboxing
Geocaching and Letterboxing are great outdoor activities if you’re looking for something different to try. Both are similar in that they’re equivalent to a large scavenger hunt. However, Geocaching involves the use of a GPS and Letterboxing a set of instructions. The object of each undertaking is to find a hidden box. Local people set up a unique location, usually using a Tupperware container. Inside is a sheet to sign your name and record the date etc… For Letterboxing it’s common to have a stamp with which you can record your arrival. Likewise, each box will contain its own unique mark. You can use this in your own stamping book to track where you’ve been and what you’ve found!
Sometimes the boxes will have keepsake “prizes” to take along with you. Personally, I find Letterboxing to be especially enjoyable. It’s great for group hikes. All you need to do is check out the website for established clues at the locations you’re headed for. Often these will include riddles, puzzles and other exceptional challenges.
Chestnut Ridge Park
The Eternal Flame Falls is a lesser known Western New York gem. Tucked away in the Shale Creek Preserve of Chestnut Ridge Park, a moderate hike will lead to fantastic reward. In a small grotto at the waterfall’s base, a natural gas emission creates a perpetual flicker. Occasionally, this gas has to be re-lit with a lighter or match, but one is generally left there for the public to use. Just in case. It’s incredible to see such an inexplicable natural wonder!
Culture and History
Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park is a great place to take in some fresh air. With a sprawling landscape it’s just the place to enjoy the coming of fall. The park has miles of trails to hike. Matchless steel sculptures cover the grounds, highlighting the singular genius of artist Larry Griffis Jr. and others. Lose yourself in the extensive trail system or maybe even try climbing a few of the structures!
Albright-Knox Art Gallery
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is Western New York’s premier center for modern art. Internationally renowned, it’s made a name for itself as cutting edge and forward thinking. Classical and contemporary masterpieces abound. The museum features more than 6,500 works, and allocates nearly $5 million each year for new acquisitions. Such notable names as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh and more are displayed within.
Admission is reasonable and membership admirable. However, general admittance on the first Friday of every month is free! A variety of lectures, public tours and even lessons are scheduled for the fall months. Check out albrightknox.org for more details and special events.
Buffalo Museum of Science
On a rainy day, or maybe just for a change of pace, the Buffalo Museum of Science is a great place to visit. Experience outer space, view rare crystals and learn about practically everything and anything. From dinosaurs and the role of extinction, to the history of the universe, there’s certainly enough learning material to keep you busy. New exhibits have been added in each of the last four years! Likewise, the annual Gala takes place October the 17th. For more info. check out sciencebuff.org.
Kleinhan’s Music Hall
This year is Kleinhan’s Music Hall’s 75th anniversary! The hall has had roughly 15 million people attend its performances since opening in 1940. The fall schedule features a variety of noteworthy events. Amongst the most popular are the Buffalo Philharmonic’s Halloween performances. BPO Kids features a parade of children encouraged to wear their favorite costumes. While the BPO’s regular recital presents the renowned group’s rendition of the infamous score to Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho.
For tickets or more general info visit: kleinhansbuffalo.org
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