Louis Tussaud's Waxworks entices curious families and individual seekers with rooms brimming with waxified legends, people, and achievements. Today's Groupon grants admission for two guests into Waxworks' sprawling English Tudor–style building, which houses 16 theme galleries, filled with glossy tableaus of more than 100 true-to-life wax figures crafted by international artists. Past and present celebrities—including film and music stars, politicians, religious figures, and famous heroes and villains—pause from high-stakes staring contests for photo opportunities with passing patrons. Sit on Oprah's couch, snuggle into bed with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, or play host to an unblinking audience of invisible fish.
The Niagara Wax Museum of History has molded 46 exhibits depicting the history of Niagara Falls and the famed individuals who helped shape the area. More than 10,000 square feet of viewing space display the region's history, from the longhouses of Tuscarora Indians to the 21st-century scientists who vowed to reverse the waterfall's flow. Life-size wax figurines and authentic artifacts depict notable historic figures such as Father Louis Hennepin, one of the first people to discover the falls in the 1600s, or Annie Taylor, the first person to survive a trip over the watery summit without the assistance of an antigravity ray. Glance into a recreation of an 1800s general store, or imagine diving over the falls in one of many wooden barrels replicated in the museum's daredevil exhibit.
A 1968 photograph of Joel Dombrowski shows him as a small boy, peering over a guardrail at Niagara Falls. Awestruck by the crashing waters, he looks as if he's trying to taste the mist. Exciting that sense of wonder in others would later become his profession. Today, Joel escorts first-timers through Niagara Falls State Park as a popular tour guide. He draws upon his training in journalism, experience as a standup comedian, and a lifetime obsession with history to share the story of the park with wit and elegance. For more than 10 years, his approach⎯merging stray historical facts with compelling anecdotes and comical accounts of waterfall lore⎯has made experiencing the Niagara landscape doubly memorable for his tour companions.
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum gives visitors a view of the inner workings of a company whose products became part of the American amusement landscape throughout much of the twentieth century. A network of seven different interconnected structures, the museum occupies the production facilities of the Allan Herschell Company, the carrousel cartel credited with thawing icy relations between humans and horses. Examine exhibits such as the Lockman Collection, an assemblage of 20 different hand-carved creatures that illustrates the stylistic evolution of carrousel animals, and the Wurlitzer Music Roll Shop, showcasing manufacturing equipment and more than 1,600 hand-punched music rolls designed to coax wooden beasts from their lumber slumber. Admission to the museum includes a complimentary ride on one of two on-site carrousels: a 1940s-era aluminum ride equipped with miniature mounts for kids only, and a carrousel sporting 36 adult-sized steeds that dates to 1916, the year it was discovered that horses aren't poisonous.
Since 1861, the Buffalo Society of Natural Science has culled more than 700,000 specimens and artifacts from around the world. These treasures now reside in the Buffalo Museum of Science which opened its doors in 1929. The museum allows visitors to explore anthropology, paleontology, and zoology, with an emphasis on the Greater Niagara region.
Special exhibits inspire curiousity in guests by exploring the world around them through hands-on education. Nano, for example, explains the basics of nanoscience and the way it impacts our lives. Opened in March 2012, the Explore YOU health science studio teaches visitors about their own bodies as they study recent medical technologies that help keep the human race healthy. Our Marvelous Earth, on the other hand, focuses on geological phenomena, extreme weather, and alternative forms of energy via displays and interactive exhibits where guests will have a chance to experience tornado-force winds. The newest exhibit to explore is In Motion which motivates children to learn how things move by interacting with gravity machines, car races, and a fluid dynamics simulator. Elsewhere, Seymour (a 10-foot tall mastodon) and Stanley (a 16-foot long albertosaurus) give kids a glimpse of some really, really, really old bones. For a more relaxing experience, visitors can check out the National Geographic 3D Cinema presented by M&T Bank for rotating titles. During the next few years, the museum will continue to add new exhibits and improve others with interactive technologies.
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.