The Industrial Revolution's innovation and muscle come to life during cruises aboard the "Chautauqua Belle," a historic open-air steamboat. The eponymous vessel glides across the calm surface of Chautauqua Lake as guides educate guests of all ages on the lake's colorful history. Guests can enjoy snacks and libations from the full-service bar as they glimpse picturesque beaches and lush forests during dinner, fireworks, and private charters or narrated history tours.
The beautiful and informative tours take place in association with the Chautauqua Institution, a historical society located in an even more historical building. Formerly known as the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly, the society first perched itself on the edge of the lake in 1874, and by 1880 was a nationally recognized forum where intellectuals discussed global politics, scientific developments, the arts, and favorite fishing holes. The name may have changed, but the Chautauqua Institution carries on that spirit of inquisitiveness and community development today in educational programs, artists' outreach, and religious services.
It's fitting that Alleyway Theatre makes its home in a renovated bus depot—the venue is a destination for local talent. The company focuses on Buffalo artists, frequently staging world premieres and fostering the work of homegrown playwrights. Freshly penned plays and acclaimed shorts entertain audiences in the historic venue, which sports the curved walls, stainless steel trimmings, and distinctive mustache of the Art Moderne architectural style.
Originally a whimsical children's book, and later a popular Disney film,
the Broadway stage production of Mary Poppins administers a sugar-spooned dose of dancing chimney sweeps and aerial stunts to audiences on its national tour. Unlike some English nannies who instill discipline with a stiff upper lip and an even stiffer pitchfork, Mary Poppins teaches children with a kinder, albeit unorthodox, arsenal of happy work songs and bottomless carpetbags. Welsh native Caroline Sheen brings the practically-perfect-in-every-way babysitter to life in a nearly three-hour (including intermission) Disney dance-tacular that combines favorite movie songs with all-new numbers and forgotten scenes.
The historic 85-year-old Riviera Theatre welcomes moviegoers to experience the show-stopping splendor of an original 1920s movie palace, boasting no less than 1,150 seats and myriad perching possibilities for taking in a roster of Streisand's most beloved films. Beginning June 30 with What's Up, Doc? and concluding with The Way We Were on September 1, the film series presents nine of Babs's best flicks for ultimate fan perusal and trivia-night upsets at Fran Drescher's house. Bask beneath the crystal-laden chandelier on July 21 and August 11 to chortle along to Barbra's portrayal of famed comedienne Fannie Brice in both Funny Girl and Funny Lady respectively, and mark your calendar for July 7, when A Star is Born examines Streisand's brief foray into celestial midwifery. Pummel your senses in The Main Event (July 28), extend greetings to Hello, Dolly! (August 4), witness the charged banter during The Owl and the Pussycat (August 18), and don cloudless glasses during On a Clear Day You Can See Forever(August 25).
Greg Frewin's list of accomplishments—which includes winning numerous awards and playing to international audiences—is so lengthy even he would have trouble making it disappear. Greg makes jaws drop and heads scratch with a fast-paced, Vegas-style magical review. The sleek, lavender-hued theatre seats more than 600 patrons for a family friendly show that features unreal illusions and exotic animals, including Greg's pet tigers, Boomer, Cashmere, and Shimira. As the curtain goes down, show-goers will leave the auditorium delighted by dexterous sleights-of-hand, which, like the actual spelling of Saskatchewan, will remain forever a mystery.
Predator. Viper. Red Hawk. Though these could be the monikers of assassins in Kill Bill: Volume 3, they're actually the names of a few of Darien Lake Amusement Park's thrilling roller coasters. Eleven daring rides greet the adventurous and include rides like classic wooden coasters
the Ride of Steel, which boasts speeds of up to 75 mph and a 205-foot plunge. But spending a day here isn't just about the scream-inducing rides. The park also features water excursions and kid- and family-friendly rides, such as the nostalgic Grande Carousel and the Moose on the Loose ride, not to be confused with the less popular Mole on a Stroll.
Those interested in aquatic fun can venture into Splashtown, Darien Lake's adjoining water park. There, people of all ages enjoy looping tube slides, a heated lazy river, and the popular Tornado—a 132-foot-long tunnel that shoots you into a giant funnel at 20 mph. And if one day isn't enough time, check out Darien Lake's lodging options, which include camping, glamping (ready-made campsites), RV rentals, and cabins.