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.
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.
The Arcade & Attica Railroad began its existence as a handful of incomplete tracks, proceeding in stops and starts through the Allegheny River valley. When the Pennsylvania Railroad Company decided it needed service to Buffalo, it bought up the disparate stretches of rail line and linked them together. The company and its successors hardly imagined it to be one of their more long-lasting endeavors, but the little railroad weathered track washouts and bankruptcies and even made it through the Great Depression without laying off a single employee. In the 1950s, its owners decided to try short, scenic passenger excursions to bolster their flagging freight business, and the tourist line as it exists today was born.
These days, trains launch from historical Arcade Station, which is a small museum of American railroad history. Restored steam engines idle out front, waiting to pull up to 382 passengers through countryside largely unchanged since the 1880s. In addition to stunning views, excursions provide photo opportunities with the locomotive and the chance to enthusiastically wear striped overalls in public.
Hidden Valley Animal Adventure's 60 acres are home to more than 30 species of animals—including zebras, wildebeest, and emu—who freely roam and peacefully coexist among the park's rolling plains and lush forests. Here, the park’s safaris leisurely tour through more than two miles of trails that cut through the non-African badlands. Guests hop aboard trolleys, soaking in the scenery as knowledgeable guides broaden their zoological horizons and impart facts about the park. Upon meeting a slew of animals along the path, guests outstretch feed-filled hands to nourish passing llama, camels, and hungry groundskeepers. During winter months, horse-drawn carriages gracefully escort guests through snow-covered paths behind strapping belgian draft steeds.
Located on Hidden Valley's expansive grounds, The Lodge accommodates guests with rustic hotel rooms, and its woodsy event space hosts banquets, weddings, and special events. After daylong romps through animal habitats, guests can partake in locally grown foodstuffs and libations at the Trailside Grill & Bar, sating thirsts worked up while trying to outspit a llama.
Located in the historic Market Arcade Building, CEPA Gallery welcomes new and experienced photographers and art appreciators to its gallery spaces, exhibitions, workshops, and youth events. Instructors hone student skills on the finer points of point-and-shootery, helping them discover new ways to adjust exposures, compose portraits, and capture eye-catching images. Curators line gallery walls with offerings from diverse artists, invite members and visitors to visit darkroom and lab, and help resident artists avoid inadvertently stealing the essences of passers-by.