You visit Buffalo, NY, or you are a native still wanting to see the sites in this “City of Good Neighbors.” Here’s a guide to 5 unique Buffalo attractions.
Incredible Art in Buffalo
Nationally-renowned for its modern and contemporary art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave. at the tip of the super-charged Elmwood Strip, features post-war American and European art and many travelling exhibits. Formerly the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, the gallery’s main 1905 building was intended for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. Its eastern side backs up to Delaware Park, one of Frederick Law Olmstead’s famed green spaces. This Buffalo native has watched the gallery’s many changes and remembers “Whistler’s Mother” on exhibit during the 1960’s.
In recent years, the Albright has expanded children’s and community programs, particularly in the summer months. Tours for the public, for families and for the littlest of art aficionados (with Art Baby Stroller Tours) are amply scheduled and docent-run. There is an admission charge, but the first Friday of the month is free. Visit www.albrightknox.org, or call 716-882-8700.
Hands-on Science in Buffalo
The Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Pkwy., is at Olmstead’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on the East Side and recognized by the Kellogg Observatory dome atop the structure. Established in 1929, the museum boasts interactive exhibits and galleries on topics such as health and medicine, physics, dinosaurs and space.
The building is abuzz with children’s programs and lectures for adults. Look for the iconic pendulum which proves the earth rotates, the real and scary dinosaur skeletons and the hall of taxidermy, a favorite of this mom’s family. The museum also oversees the Tifft Farm Nature Preserve in South Buffalo which is on reclaimed industrial land. There is an admission charge and a well-stocked gift shop. For more information, call 716-896-5200; visit www.sciencebuff.org.
A New President in Buffalo
A U.S. Presidency ended and another launched in Buffalo. A visit to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, located at the Wilcox Mansion, 641 Delaware Ave., surprises with interactive exhibits teaching what Vice-president Theodore Roosevelt faced when he suddenly became Chief Executive after President William McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition. Curator Lenora Henson, staff and volunteers have made this National Park Service site come alive with the personality of the 26th President. Daily visits are by guided tour only and can include “Behind the Scenes” looks at archived Roosevelt items and a visit to where he took the oath of office. Call 716-884-0095, or look at www.trsite.org.
Disability Awareness in Buffalo
A reclaimed brick structure at 3826 Main St. houses the Museum of Disability, unique in this country for tracing the history of how we treat the handicapped. Founded in 1998 by Dr. James Boles, President and CEO of People Inc., the Museum has standing and travelling exhibits on self-advocacy and other topics such as the “Continuum of Care.”
The museum is “quite comprehensive,” says Mary Kate Bonning, Behavior Specialist with People Inc. “There are adaptive devices such as the Invacar (an early mobility scooter)…The docents are individuals who use People Inc. programs.”
There is admission. A gift shop offers items made by individuals from People Inc.’s dayhab programs. Call to arrange a tour at 716-629-3626, and visit www.museumofdisability.org.
Rich History in Buffalo
The Buffalo History Museum, One Museum Ct., just north of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, has everything Western New York in the former Pan-American Exposition New York State Building on Mirror Lake in Delaware Park. Signature Buffalo artifacts such as the Red Jacket Peace Medal and Pierce Motorette (an early Pierce-Arrow automobile) are displayed along with Pan-American Exposition pieces and “Buffalo Made” items such as kazoos and yes, Cheerios. A vast collection and research library includes things pop culture, such as clothing from well-loved AM&A’s, and more “serious” items such as sketches and paintings of Buffalo Presidents Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland. Shortly, the museum will show photos, papers and books from the NBC’s Tim Russert collection which is being donated by Russert’s family. Check out www.buffalohistory.org or call 716-896-5200.
All these sites are handicapped accessible, 100 percent Buffalo, and worth the time and travel.