As any parent knows, shopping for sporting gear is a relaxing experience that always ends with a toasty mug of hot cocoa enjoyed in front of a cozy fireplace. At least, it does at WNY Skater's Paradise. Kids and adults shop for new and used skates and skate wear from such brands as Del Arbour, Chloe Noel, and Mondor while sipping complimentary beverages such as sodas, flavored coffees, and hot tea. While guests curl up on leather couches to watch a movie by the shop's fireplace, expert skate sharpeners better blades with a custom-sharpening process that begins with a multipoint inspection and includes multiple measurements to ensure each edge is sharpened to suit the skater's size, skating style, and penchant for slicing steak with their feet. Other custom services include crystal application for skating dresses and embroidering services, which emblazon gear with each future gold medalist's name.
Safari Niagara provides a home for more than 750 exotic and domestic animals. The park?s conservationists lead educational presentations on threatened species and aim to shape children into the world?s future caretakers through up-close interactions with the park?s most social residents. Alpacas, river otters, grey wolves, and falcons are among the many animals that prowl the 110-acre facility, which also hosts an amphitheater where guests can watch musicians shimmy and shake in their natural habitat.
A vintage photo of Mallwitz’s Island Lanes, presumably from the 1980s, shows a much different alley than the one that stands today. Its patrons are dressed and coiffed for the times, bright yellows and reds flash across the walls, and strikes and spares are scrawled by hand. A modern-day snapshot illustrates the transformation that has occurred since the center's 1980 opening: 24 lanes feature computerized scoring systems and freshly oiled surfaces that glisten in the muted glow of black lights like a newborn’s head after his first waxing. Other contemporary touches include a full bar, complete with a food menu headlined by popular wings.
Tonawanda Bowling Center's 42 lanes reverberate with the thunderous roar of clattering bowling pins. Over the course of two hours, bowlers hurl multicolored bowling balls down polished wooden lanes as they challenge pins' right to assemble. Automated scoreboards announce budding rivalries between competing rock-slingers, and optional bumpers facilitate gutter-free voyages for on-duty bowling balls. Bowlers waiting their turns can slip into lane-side tables and chairs, where a pitcher of soda washes over parched lips and tongues tired from directional commands issued to defiant balls. For further sustenance, lanesmen can retreat to the full-service lounge and restaurant and partake of its full menu or sing along to Saturday night karaoke.
Zipping around a quarter-mile go-kart course. Careening into friends aboard a bumper boat. Playing any of the 40 games inside the arcade. At Adventure Speedway, you don't have to choose just one of these options. That's because the family fun center pairs visitors with all of the above at every single one of its 10 locations. It also offers up group outings and birthday parties, plus a snack area complete with goodies to fuel all-day races with neighborhood squirrels.
Contra-rotating blades once powered by a Porsche engine sit peacefully on a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter. Nearby, a World War II seafaring destroyer with nine battle stars to its name takes its place among tanks such as the 22.3-ton tank that served in the Korean Conflict. Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park's curators have amassed many such machines designed for––and veterans of––combat. Their numerous exhibits feature relics such as the only guided-missile cruiser on display in America. The role women have played in the military earns its own exhibit, as does memorabilia of former POWs and a collection of favorite cobbler recipes from WWII to present-day generals.