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.
The brainchild of owner Dale Ali and chef Sergio Aquino, Epic Restaurant and Lounge captures diners’ interest with dishes that showcase fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as the chef’s mastery of culinary techniques ranging from classic French to peasant, according to Buffalo Spree. The menu—which the Buffalo News called “ambitious” and “totally different from any other in the area”—comprises upscale dinner fare with unexpected twists: the grilled rib eye arrives with pomegranate jam, and the duck breast is flanked by a cilantro-nutmeg emulsion and rubber-ducky bodyguards.
The eatery also strives to be epic in its drink selection with a varnished wooden bar offering more than 25 imported or microbrewery beers as well as an extensive wine list. Diners can kick off the weekend with dinner, drinks, and jams every Friday night, with entertainment alternating between salsa and live bands.
Immersed in pictures of hockey stars, Center Ice Sports Bar & Grill unfurls a menu of savory American fare and a bevy of beverages. Treat your tablemates to an order of potato skins to see synchronized tongues climb aboard four starch-laden boats carrying gooey cheddar cheese and bacon bits ($7.50). Or, troll your own fork-motor through the grilled salmon entree, served with veggies, a choice of potato, and soup or salad ($14.95). Diners may sit at the bar, relax in one of the booths, or practice their head stands on the 12-ounce Certified Angus cushion of the Center Ice burger, stacked high with lettuce, tomato, and onion, and drizzled with thousand-island dressing ($7.95). The veggie wrap is a green thumb's delight, with a grilled tortilla enshrouding steamed broccoli, tomatoes, cherry peppers, and cheddar cheese ($7.50).
Curious 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 across 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.
Three branches of a winding creek intersect at the very center of 18 Mile Creek Golf Course, spreading out in a wishbone pattern along the layout's fairways and greens. Along with four small ponds, the creek supplies the bulk of the course's hazards, as golfers must steer their drives, approaches, and thirsty golf carts away from water that comes into play on 10 holes. With a total distance of 6,081 yards, the par 70 layout caters to clubbers across the handicap spectrum. After rounds, golfers can replenish energy sapped from crushing drives or disciplining misbehaving wedges at the clubhouse, which serves burgers, hot dogs, beer, and other grill food and refreshments.
Many fitness professionals spend years studying exercises but ignore how those movements impact the physical makeup of the body. The instructors at Fitness360 stand out from the crowd of exercise experts by each holding four-year degrees in physiology in addition to their training certifications. The team shares its copious knowledge as it leads individuals and small groups through private workout sessions. Instructors use nontraditional training gear such as heavy ropes, weight sleds, tractor tires, sledgehammers, and cartoon anvils to target each muscle group and keep things interesting for their clients. Each of routine is designed with fluid movements to encourage muscle definition all over the body while simultaneously increasing cardiovascular health. In addition to regular classes, the 360 team also hosts specialty workshops for distance runners.
While they take advantage of Fitness360's facilities, guests can also stop by the juice bar for a protein rich shake before heading home.