The 12-foot-wide vertical wind tunnel at Niagara Freefall Indoor Skydiving & Interactive Center stretches 20 feet to the ceiling. Inside, it churns with currents of recirculating air—a system that allows its operators to control the wind conditions and temperature regardless of outside weather. Padded walls and floors, as well as trained instructors, keep those inside safe as they're borne aloft by currents of up to 120 miles per hour. Instructors prepare adventurers—who may be as young as 7 years old—for these turbulent conditions during preflight training sessions, during which they divulge flight physics, safety, and communication hand signals. They also encase their visitors in all necessary safety gear, such as helmets, pads, flight suits, and invisible force fields.
A trio of 18-hole miniature-golf courses, more than 60 interactive arcade and ticket-rewarding games, and a teddy-bear factory beckon kids to all of the varied activities at Adventure Landing. Siblings can wager their Monopoly winnings on hitting below par at their choice of lushly landscaped mini-golf greens studded with tunnels and waterfalls, or challenge parents in the arcade. Before fielding slow, medium, and fast baseballs or softballs at Adventure Landing’s seven batting cages, guests can fuel their bat-swinging biceps at the themed snack bar. Creativity also comes into play at the teddy-bear factory, where visitors can make plush friends according to their personal specifications.
A massive glass dome reminiscent of the Victorian Crystal Palace and verdant plant life stretching their green leaves toward the sun attract visitors to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens. The gardens span 11 acres and include three glass domes and nine greenhouses full of re-created tropical and subtropical climates. In the Fern House and tropical rainforest, banana trees surround a 30-foot waterfall as large dinosaur topiaries roam across a backdrop of hanging ferns.
Called a living museum, the botanical gardens is dedicated to enriching lives with nature and teaching guests to appreciate the natural systems and diverse plant life the earth sustains. Visitors can soak up Mother Nature’s splendor in addition to manmade wonders such as the 67-foot-tall Palm Dome.
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.