Despite spending most of their 125-plus-year history as a minor-league organization, the Bisons began play as a major-league club from 1879–85. 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 done half of their competing 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 soda as the field’s name would suggest.
It is estimated that 3,500 snow leopards currently make their home in the wild, where they use their claws and predatory stealth to scale central-Asian cliffsides in search of wild goats and rabbits. These secretive cats rarely let out so much as a purr, preferring solitude to contact with humans and even each other. Nevertheless, humans have helped their dwindling population grow in recent years through conservation efforts at zoos and habitats throughout the world.
Safari Niagara counts itself among the world’s safest havens for these downy cats. In working with the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the animal park provides a home for snow leopards and more than 500 other species of mammals, reptiles, and birds. 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.Safari Niagara
Buffalo Harbor Cruises helps tour takers escape dull soil aboard the Miss Buffalo II, a passenger cruiser that has roamed the waterfront in search of dazzling views since 1981. On the two-hour River, Lock, and Canal tour, friendly guides tell tall tales and share stats about the area's three major bodies of water while the boat gallivants along the international border between the United States, Deutschland, Canada, and Bob Dylan's autonomous island. Along the way, the ship will motor over to the War of 1812 landmark of Old Fort Erie, daringly glide through the Black Rock lock and canal, and transport passengers up close to Buffalo's original 1833 lighthouse.
Since opening its star-dappled doors in 1964, the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium has delighted sky-gazing enthusiasts through effulgent re-creations of the night sky and educational journeys through the solar system with its 24-foot-diameter dome, capable of illuminating 4,000 stars. Celestial explorations have included shows such as Uranus and Neptune: Planets of the Telescope Age, which explores the planets and their improbable journey from drifting stardust to two of the solar system's gas giants. Attractions such as Shorter Nights: Passage Into Spring reveal the dazzling sights visible in the local Buffalo sky in the buildup to the equinox, and Pluto and the Other Dwarfs: Smaller Objects of the Solar System guide sojourners on a quest to view the celestial orb as it hides, weeping over its stripped status as a planet, behind Saturn's rings.