Despite spending most of their 125-plus-year history as a minor-league organization, the Bisons were a major-league club from 1879 to 1885. All told, nearly 3,000 players and managers have donned the Bisons uniform, including 20 who have been immortalized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Currently, the Bisons compete every summer for an International League title, as well as the Thruway Cup—a regional and bragging-rights-based trophy chased by the Bisons, the Rochester Red Wings, and the Syracuse Chiefs. The Bisons have played half of their games since 1988 at Coca-Cola Field, which boasts the largest video board in the minors and an infield kept moist by hoses that spray water and not the soda that the field’s name would suggest.
The phosphorescent indoor landscape at Monster Mini Golf immerses putters in an eerie universe that inverts the sun-soaked cheer of conventional courses. Rimmed in glowing barriers, 18 holes lure swingers of all sizes to challenge their coordination and resolve in the face of winged monsters, scowling animated trees, a creepy clown, and their opponents' shockingly dazzling smiles. Sheltered from searing rain and howling wind, the indoor course enables play around hazards such as a spell well and luminous, ghostly windmill at any time of the year. An in-house radio station and DJ mask the sound of pounding hearts with lively beats and course commentary, and golfers looking for additional glory can win prizes by participating in regular contests or at the on-site arcade.
Paintballs and BBs whiz through the air across Buffalo Battleground's 13,000-square-foot indoor area, where opponents snipe enemies from behind obstacles or engage them head-on with wide-open barrages. Although the action can get intense, the staff takes every precaution to keep guests safe. Before arming them with their choice of shotgun, pistol, or assault rifle, the staff outfits guests with full-face protection and limits the velocity of ammo to 351 feet-per-second.
Sail Buffalo Sailing School's nationally accredited instructors captain a fleet of boats, teaching novices the art of wind wrangling while fostering community for seasoned aqua explorers. During the two-hour picnic sail and lesson, a crew of up to four launch onto Lake Erie for hands-on wind lassoing. Instructors lecture on general ship-savvy and negotiating with 18th-century pirates, before coaching each student through a turn at the helm. As first-timers confront wind gusts, instructors keep the atmosphere relaxed and positive, helping students recover and learn from mistakes. Meanwhile, crewmates soak in secondhand sail know-how and build camaraderie while crunching through BYO picnic fare and determining the best way to build a secret underwater fort.
Enveloped in cool lake winds and showers of sunlight, Bait Master Charters' boats have sailed the waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario since 1992. Each of the company's two fishing boats boasts cabins, private bathrooms, and decks, along with professional downriggers, outriggers, planer boards, and dipsy divers. Onboard, experienced fishermen guide customers on private fishing charters, scouring Lake Erie for walleye or combing Lake Ontario for salmon, steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, and gold coins. Upon the trip's closure, the staff cleans and packages all catches so that customers can bring them home to cook.
The dedicated teaching professionals at Village Glen Tennis Club oversee a wide variety of programs for adults and juniors of all skill levels, earning the club recognition as a Top 50 Tennis Welcome Center of 2007 from the U.S. Tennis Association. This honor followed on the heels of a major renovation of the club’s facilities in 2006 by a new management team, who modernized the six hard and eight clay courts and brought in new nets instead of pealing white picket fences. Today, players can take up the game through a series of classes that help them progress alongside players with similar abilities or hone specific strokes through drills designed to isolate and improve their technique. Players excited to show off a shiny new forehand or a pitch-perfect grunt can do so through the club’s adult leagues or socials.
The third-oldest zoo in the United States, the Buffalo Zoo was originally founded in 1875 as a deer park in the northwest corner of Delaware Park. Since then, it has grown into a 23.5-acre home for diverse species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish, all under the care of the Zoological Society of Buffalo, an organization dedicated to advancing the conservation of the world’s exotic, endangered, and ordinary animals. Within its habitats, creatures ranging from Asian elephants to poison arrow frogs serve as ambassadors from far-off kingdoms, and at the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm’s 1800s-era barn, a collection of berkshire pigs, southdown sheep, and other farm animals represents the fauna that once commonly lived along the Erie Canal. To carry out its educational mission, the zoo regularly hosts programs such as behind-the-scenes workshops and Zoo Snooze, in which kids can stay over for the night and wake up alongside the lions roaring angrily at their rooster alarm clocks.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.