KITC would like to welcome back, guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel. During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival. During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.
Buffalo New York is a great place to visit with a family. You might think there is a typo in this sentence or it was April Fool’s day when I wrote this article. There is no typo and we are about six months away from April Fools. Buffalo may not be top of mind like Orlando or Hawaii but our family had an awesome trip to the city. Here are a few things we did.
Buffalo Bisons Baseball Game - The Buffalo Bisons are the Triple AAA affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays. In short, that means you get to see the future stars before they get inflated salaries and egos to match. We took in a game with the Bisons taking on the Syracuse Mets.
We got to see Bo Bichette, who is now a major star for the Toronto Blue Jays. Aside from the baseball, there were plenty of other things to keep our interest. David spent much of his time trying to get on the stadium tv and succeeded. I had fun watching a drink vendor who wore the classic Saturday Night Live Conehead and had a jersey with Conehead on the back.
The fans were some of the best I have ever met at a sports event. They were into the action and very friendly when I mentioned we were from Ottawa. The stadium is located downtown and even though it was constructed in 1987, it has a classic old-school feel.
Buffalo Riverworks - Buffalo Riverworks are grain silos that have been converted into an entertainment complex. Activities include ziplining, a ropes course, brew pub and even an indoor roller-skating rink. Being from Saskatchewan, I never imagined grain silos could have so many different uses.
David opted to try the zipline course which went between the grain silos. David tried all four ziplines. He ended up not making it all the way across two ziplines as he does not weigh a lot. The guides were great at assisting David. At no point was he in danger. The last zipline was quite comical as he was perched about ten feet over the crowd and everyone cheered when David made it to the end.
David’s thirst for adventure was temporarily quenched so we checked out the interior of Riverworks. There was a teen roller derby tournament going on. There were teams from various areas including Ontario. The space also featured a very popular brewpub. We did not try the food but it looked delicious.
There is also a ropes course, climbing wall and a skating rink in the winter. Definitely the coolest grain silo I have ever visited.
Buffalo Canalside - Much of the resurgence of Buffalo can be credited to the development of the Buffalo waterfront. The day we visited the area known as canalside, there were fitness classes going on, a music festival and salsa lessons. There are plenty of restaurants in the area and a Tim Horton’s that even has a small exhibit about the Buffalo Sabres hockey team!
There are also numerous family attractions including river cruises, a children’s museum and the Buffalo Naval and Military Park. David, Sandy and I enjoyed seeing the World War II naval ships and even a submarine.
Martin House Complex and Buffalo Zoo - I have included both attractions since they are within easy walking distance of each other. The Martin House is a must see for an architecture fan. The complex was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright who is considered one of the leading American architects of the 20th Century. Both the exterior and interior of the buildings were stunning. We took the one hour tour which proved to be just right for David. Longer tours are offered and there are a number of other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the Buffalo area.
The Buffalo Zoo is only about a ten minute walk from the Martin House. The zoo is well worth a visit and has all the animals you might expect including lions, giraffes and gorillas. David’s favourite area was the amphibian and reptile center. The zoo is located in Delaware Park which would be a perfect place for a picnic before or after the zoo.
Where to eat - It would be remiss to visit Buffalo without trying chicken wings. I quickly learned that Bufallonians take their wings seriously. Ask for the best place and opinions will vary. It is generally accepted that the Anchor Bar was the birthplace of wings. The day we visited, the lineup was quite long so we picked Gabriel’s Gate restaurant. I can say the wings were the best I ever had. The sauce was evenly applied and the wings themselves were juicy. Nothing like the frozen ones I have tried from the grocery.
We had a very comfortable stay at the Embassy Suites Buffalo. The hotel was located right downtown so was close to everything. Breakfast was also included. I can recommend the omelettes!
For more information about Buffalo, visit, www.visitbuffaloniagara.com
Disclosure: Stephen was comped for hotel and attractions for the purposes of this review, but all views are his own.