Get (Safely!) Out and About In the Buffalo-Niagara Area this Winter
Your family could really use a fun outing, but you're committed to social distancing. Many popular nature trails and lake beaches seem like a good idea until you realize that many others had the same idea, making some of these destinations too crowded for comfort.. Luckily, there are new and interesting places to explore while staying a safe distance for others. If you can, switch your schedule and do your outings on weekdays to avoid weekend crowds. Here are a few suggestions you may not have considered, and all of them are in the Buffalo-Niagara area.
And don't forget your masks!
VIP Treatment At Tifft
Interested in reconnecting with nature or having a new experience at Tifft? You and your family can have a private guided tour with one of Tifft's engaging facilitators for up to 8 members of your household. This 1.5 hour tour will have you feeling like a VIP as you explore the sights and sounds of Tifft like never before. You can choose from one of several themed experiences like bird-watching, fishing, bugology, animal tracking, watercoloring and more! Just for the winter, stretch your legs with a guided wintry walk and delicious hot chocolate to keep you warm! Bring your reusable mug (or use disposable) and we’ll supply the rest. Book a morning, afternoon, sunset, or evening walk.The nature center is closed to the public, but you'll be able to use the restrooms if necessary. You must reserve your day/time in advance.
A Few Hours In the Tropics: Botanical Gardens and Prehistoric World
A trip to the Carribbean might be out of the question, but a morning or afternoon spent in the humid warmth of a jungle habitat closer to home will make the frigid snowiness outside melt away. The Botanical Gardens consists of many indoor greenhouses that are interconnected, each displaying a different exhibit and collection of plants. Visit the childrens' garden, the chocolate tree and maybe even feed the koi fish! Prehistoric World is more than just a zoo - it's an experience for all ages. You can view, hold, and interact with species from tropical and forest environments! Even on the coldest winter days it's always summer, so be sure to dress for the tropical weather! Please consider wearing a t-shirt under your coat.
Maple sugaring events are a great activity to do while you're socially distancing. Enjoy the great outdoors, meet local farmers and businesses, learn some science, appreciate the often-unappreciated season of late winter, and of course, taste some delicious maple goodness!
Because maple sugaring is weather-dependent, it's a good idea to call ahead and confirm that an event is still taking place before heading out.
Swoosh Into The Season With Winter Sports
There's never been a better time to learn a new winter sport. Staying at home all the time is tedious, and we're all hoping that we can make this winter fly by. If you're not sure where to get started, begin with our Embrace the Winter article that offers an overview of some outdoor sports you might like to try. Whether you try ice skating, snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing first we've got Big List of places within driving distance. Planning a weekend ski trip? Different resorts may be following different protocols, and you'll need to research area covid protocols if you'll be crossing state lines. Be sure to click on the ski resorts website to get all the details before setting out.
Winter At the Drive-In
Pfft - what's a little snow and cold temperatures to we WNYers? The fun doesn't end just because winter arrives and the Transit Drive-In is here to prove it. With a philosophy that says, "If the people want to see a movie, we'll show them a movie (or two)," the Transit keeps the films coming on Friday and Saturday nights. Movies are usually announced that Thursday or Friday on their website and Facebook page so definitely check there to see if they have a family-friendly movie scheduled and tomake sure that some impending blizzard hasn't forced them to close.
Go On A Hunt
Kids love a good hunt! There is something very motivating and satisfying about seaching for something, whether it's treasure or not. One fun way to lean into that impulse is to go geocaching. Did you know that little treasures are hidden all over the place? If you've never tried geocaching, it's a wonderful opportunity for kids to get some activity outside while using using their deductive skills. There are also tons of companies that offer virtual scavenger hunts, either for items that you can find just about anywhere, or region-specific hunts that provide a tour of a special place. Both activities offer the chance to safely explore while keeping a distance from others.
Take A Hike
If you dress appropriately, you can take a hike year-round. It's great exercise, it lets you connect with nature and each other, and best of all, it's free. Put away the phones (except for cool activities like geocaching, looking up new plants, or making a photo collage or map) and head out to the trail! Click the link below for nearby options, and also check out our article of tips and tricks for making the most of the experience and avoiding whining.
When Staying At Home Is Your Only Option
We know that things are changing quickly, and whether it's new local regulations or your own family's need to isolate, even the safest "out and about" options may not be appropriate for you at some point this winter. If that's the case, keep in mind that we've got plenty of ideas to keep life interesting while you're at home.