Western New York offers plenty of events to keep you and your family busy having fun and learning over the summer months. Here are some events that we here at Tutor Doctor WNY think are not to be missed!
The outside of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is beautiful enough, and the critically-acclaimed collection of modern art on the inside is just as visually appealing. On M&T First Fridays at the Gallery, families enjoy free admission and access to fun musical and artistic events in the Gallery. For your children, the bright colors and abstract shapes can provide great inspiration for summer art projects.
Keeping history alive with various interactive exhibits as well as many historic homes and buildings from around Erie County, the Amherst Museum is a great day trip for history buffs. June 25th is the German Festival, while August 20th is the Scottish Festival & Highland Games, both of which bring an international flair to the museum through food, music, traditions, and entertainment.
Children who enjoy the water will love the Aquarium of Niagara. Open daily from 9:00 to 5:00, there are daily events including penguin feedings, sea lion training sessions, and shark feedings! With a family membership for two adults and all children under the age of 18 for only $50, you can spend all year enjoying the aquarium. At 2:00 on weekdays, you and your child can also feed a seal for only $5.
Whether your child loves visual arts or music, Artpark has something for everyone. On Family Saturdays in July from 12 to 4, children and their families can create and take home their own unique crafts and even try their skills out on the pottery wheel. Each Saturday has a different theme with a special activity, with a featured performance at 2:00. Family Saturdays are free for families! For older children who love music, Tuesdays in the Park are a free concert series that runs from June 14th to August 30th.
Children who love nature will love the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. With a plethora of rare and beautiful plants, your child can learn about the science of plants or get in touch with his or her artistic side and be inspired. From June 8th to the 29th there is a special Garden Railway exhibit, featuring model railroads compliments of the Western New York Garden Railway Society, while on July 27th there is a Teddy Bear Picnic from 11 to 1.
History buffs and those interested in ships and helicopters will love the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. The largest inland floating museum of its kind, all branches of the US Military are represented. Open daily from 10 to 5, this is a great place to spend the day on the Buffalo waterfront!
Open 7 days a week over the summer, the Buffalo Museum of Science is a fun learning experience for children of all ages. With two permanent exploration areas designed exclusively for kids, as well as permanent child-friendly exhibitions that encompass everything from the evolution of mammals and the mummies of ancient Egypt to dinosaurs and outer space, this is truly a family-friendly experience. Through August 28th, the special exhibition is Leonardo da Vinci’s Machines in Motion, which provides hands-on demonstrations of some of da Vinci’s most amazing creations. The 3D cinema, which shows 20 minute films about bugs or dinosaurs, is also a must-see. Adults are $8, children ages 2 to 17 and students are $6, and children under two are free.
The entire family will enjoy a trip to the Buffalo Zoo, the third-oldest zoo in the United States. Open every day, rain or shine, the zoo can catch every child’s interest. Be sure to check out the M&T Bank Rainforest Falls exhibit, that brings you face to face with some of the rainforest’s most interesting inhabitants. Also of note are Ferocious Fridays, which extend zoo hours until 8:30 PM on Fridays in July and August. On July 9th and 10th, the Zoo is offering free admission to students who bring their report cards with a paid adult, regardless of the grades! For those interested in photography, bring along a camera and enter the 2011 Photo Contest! There’s even a category for students, and winners have their photos displayed at the zoo during 2012.
Designed just for kids, East Aurora’s Explore & More Children’s Museum promises to spark your child’s creativity, curiosity, and imagination. With hands-on exhibits ranging from Building Curiosity, which deals with tools and construction, to Big Feats for the Littlest Hands, which caters towards toddlers and their budding skills, children under the age of eight will be totally enthralled. With admission only $5 for adults and children, your entire family can have a great time together.
For families who are interested in history, Old Fort Niagara offers a great way to get in touch with a piece of New York’s fascinating past. Located right on the shore of Lake Ontario, the fort has stood watch over Niagara River since 1726. The Fort is open daily from 9:00-5:00, and for the months of July and August the hours are extended until 7:00. From July 1st to the 3rd there will be a special French and Indian War Encampment, in which hundreds of reenactors descend on the park to deliver a truly unique taste of the 1700s. On August 13th to the 14th Soldiers of the Revolution recreates the frontier battles of the Revolutionary War. After you’re done touring the fort, the family can enjoy a picnic on the shores of beautiful Lake Ontario.
Children as young as eight can begin enjoying the works of the English language’s greatest playwright, while older children can enjoy seeing the Bard’s works performed rather than read. Since 1976, Shakespeare in Delaware Park has delighted WNY residents with outdoor performances for free! So bring a blanket, a picnic, and a jacket and head down to Delaware Park for two Shakespearian plays this summer. Running from June 16th to July 10th, The Merchant of Venice is a tragic comedy, while As You Like It, which is performed from July 21st to August 14th, is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved pastoral comedies and contains the famous “All the world’s a stage” speech. Shows run Tuesdays through Sundays and begin at 7:30 pm. To get a good seat on the hill, get there early!
Summer brings classical music out of the concert hall and into the community! The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has many free concerts offered this summer at various locations around Western New York, which are sure to delight children and parents alike.
Only open on Saturdays from 12-4, the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum is a great destination for students interested in the evolution of vehicles and history. The collection includes locally-made cars, trucks, bicycles, and motorcycles. A trip to this museum can be a great conversation starter about how inventions change over time.
With all this (and more) going on in Buffalo this summer, what are you waiting for? Keep your child learning and having fun over summer vacation!