Before summer temperatures hit a fevered-pitch in July, museums and other family-focused educational destinations are ready to share, educate, inform and help you and your family enjoy new experiences together. Western New York Catholic schools are big on championing family relationships and continued learning -- even when the classroom closes for summer vacation! We're offering five suggestions for educational destinations to visit in Buffalo and the surrounding region. Just be prepared to learn and have fun while doing it! We offer a fantastic way to expand horizons and foster analytical thought.
Burchfield Penney Art Museum
Government, educators and medical professionals have long advocated for and supported the important role art plays in young, developing brains. Burchfield Penney Art Center, located on Buffalo State's campus in the heart of the Elmwood Village, offers an ever-evolving rotation of art exhibits. "The Penny," as it's affectionately referred to by supporters, is the only museum exclusively dedicated to Western New York artists. Through August 21st, the museum is featuring Object as Energy Point, a piece that has actually grown and evolved for over two-decades after being formed with a small, 12 x 6-inch wooden box. Creator Andrew Deutsch's vision combined music and art as he's built the visual piece from loudspeakers, transducers and/or metaphors for speakers. The installation has evolved to include videos and "Electrodynamic Drawings," generated by audio creative art -- sound being the image source. Object as Energy Point provides a thought-provoking starting point to conceptualize through art, expand horizons, foster analytical thought and explore the rest of the celebrated museum's offerings. Perfect for students of Buffalo Catholic schools on those dreaded days when the sun gives way to rain.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Seniors (62 & over): $8
Students (with ID): $5
General and Tour info -- (716) 878-3156.
Tifft Nature Preserve
June is all about transition -- transition out of the school year and from spring into summer. With temperatures starting to climb, the Tifft Nature Preserve on Fuhrmann Boulevard in Buffalo offers shady trails, visuals and nature. Built on 264-acres, this preserve is packed with wildlife, important ecological staples and is protected, making it the perfect way to learn about and appreciate nature. The terrain is an eclectic mix of marsh, swamps, ponds, woodlands, grassy fields and thickets -- providing a great mix of educational opportunities. The grounds offer an incredible avenue to enjoy the outdoors together with over five miles of trails to explore. It only takes a quick google search to sample the breathtaking visuals Tifft has to offer! Guests are invited and urged to stop into the visitor center to scoop up trail maps before hitting the paths. Tifft also offers afterschool programs based around camping and exploration. So when Buffalo schools are out of session, make sure to dust off those binoculars and put away the cell phones, Tifft offers your family a chance to explore the sights, sounds and aesthetics of mother nature at her best.
Visitor Center Hours:
Wed-Sat: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Trails open daily
from dawn until dusk
Contact -- (716) 825-6397
Free Canalside Art Class Series
Everyone loves the region's recent commitment to and development of Canalside. From concerts, to remote-control sailboats to the dining options, Canalside has truly transformed downtown Buffalo into one of the best truly family-oriented destinations Western New York has to offer. This year, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is offering a "Canalside Art Space," a series of FREE art classes on the Lloyd Street Bridge at the replica canals. The series features a myriad of local art studios and instructors, with each session featuring a different project. Twenty-eight different classes are offered through August 28 and include workshops on "social crafting" -- creating your own jewelry or lotions, contemporary art and painting. Workshops target all skill levels and experience is not necessary! It's important to keep in mind that while classes are offered completely free of charge, pre-registration is required to guarantee a spot. Dates, class schedules and registration information can be found below.
Burchfield Nature and Art Center
The Burchfield Penney isn't the only Charles Burchfield-influenced educational destination in Western New York that offers a unique and fun educational experience. The Burchfield Nature and Art Center, located in West Seneca, offers creativity and thought-based activities that parents can engage in with their children. Guests can view birds and other wildlife in a safe atmosphere across 29-acres of property located along the Buffalo Creek, a whopping 19 of which are open to the public. The site offers paths and boardwalks through wooded areas and play areas. Foliage changes along with the full spectrum of seasons so every visit offers a unique experience. Additionally, an on-sight amphitheater plays host to summer concerts and the center holds festivals that celebrate the art community and/or nature.
Park Hours -- Dawn to Dusk
Summer Gallery Hours -
Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Seneca Park Zoo
Perhaps your family is looking for a day trip out of Buffalo. A quick, one-hour jaunt down the expressway lands you in one of Greater Rochester's most cherished family and educational destinations. The Seneca Park Zoo is located on 15.5 acres on the Genesee River; add in the tree-lined pathways and the zoo resembles favorite beautiful park...but with incredible animals to watch and learn about. The Seneca Park Zoo is dedicated to being a national leader in education and conservation action for species survival. Whether you're just a student in preschool or Catholic elementary schools, a seasoned traveler or a senior looking to explore, Seneca Park offers a wide spectrum of hands -on programs that provide engagement and educational experiences with live animals. The attraction's recently renovated Penguin Exhibit offers a fresh habitat to check out and offers learning experiences with summer camps guided tours, fun activities, and presentations.
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (grounds remain open until 5:00 p.m.)
Adults (12-62) $12
Senior (63+): $11
Youth (3-11): $9