Here’s the thing about kids – they require a lot of attention, food, and entertainment. But really, if you’re a parent, or you’ve spent more than 15 minutes with a four-year-old, you already know this.
When you have a weekend stretching before you and the prospect of kid-wrangling is part of it, you may feel at a loss. What activities will work for them? How can you fill the whole day? How many times will you have to stop for bathroom breaks?
Lucky for you, there are plenty of things to do around the Buffalo area, and there are activities available to appeal to kids of any ages, whether you have toddlers and preschoolers begging for just one more piece of sponge candy or teenagers who act like they don’t want to be around you but secretly crave your time and attention.
Wondering about how to spend your family time in the Buffalo area? We’ve put together a few interesting ideas:
1. Chill at Canalside
There’s plenty to do at Canalside during almost any season of the year. Wintertime means ice skating and ice bumper cars; summer means festivals and boat tours, and all year round you can rent a bike or watch a gorgeous sunset.
In addition to enjoying all Canalside has to offer, you have dozens of restaurants and cafes available to enjoy in the near vicinity.
You also have the chance to introduce your little ones to their first hockey experience, with the Sabres playing at the nearby KeyBank Centre. And if you stay at 500 Pearl’s luxurious and convenient new Aloft hotel, you’ll have convenient access to all this and more in the central Buffalo area.
2. Take a Walk on the Wild Side.
One of the absolute best things about kids: their curiosity and desire to explore. If you’re looking for a family outing filled with exploration and excitement, this is the agenda for you.
The Buffalo Museum of Science will captivate the curious of all ages. From water tables to dinosaurs to space observation, there’s plenty to see and explore throughout the day. You can even eat a meal or watch a 3D movie while you’re there, both of which can enable you to keep the fun going all day.
The Buffalo Zoo is also an outstanding option for some wild side exploration, especially if there’s nice weather. The otters are adorable and a favorite among the more than 1,200 animals you can encounter at the zoo.
And, speaking of encounters, you can give your outing an automatic highlight reel by adding an animal encounter. Your children will never forget the day they got to be up close and personal with the rhinos and giraffes!
3. Bounce Up and Down Thanks to Sweets and Springs.
Are you one of those daring parents who are up for anything and like to live on the edge?
We challenge you to this – take your kids on an ice cream tasting tour around Buffalo (check out our Must-Try Ice Cream Shops list for inspiration), then take them to Get Air Buffalo and let them jump off that sugar rush without getting sick. Are you bold enough? If not, go ahead and jump your hearts out anyway, maybe without the abundance of ice cream.
After that combination of fueling up and burning off energy, you’re going to need a good night’s sleep. Treat yourself to a relaxing event at the Country Inn and Suites nearby. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to send the kids and your significant other to Dave and Buster’s or to the hotel’s indoor pool so you can get some quality Netflix time in.
4. See the Majesty of the Nation’s First Tourist Attraction.
Just because Niagara Falls is technically called a tourist attraction, that doesn’t mean you should shy away from seeing it. The Falls are a must-visit if you’re considering a trip to the Buffalo area, just to remind you of how cool and awe-inspiring nature can be.
Stay at The Giacomo to make getting to the Falls convenient. You can actually walk from the hotel to the Rainbow Bridge, which can help build the excitement and anticipation with your family (although nothing can really prepare you for seeing their white-capped, rushing, wild beauty for the first time.
The Maid of the Mist boat ride is another Buffalo/Niagara Falls must-do, and it’s just around the corner from the hotel as well, which means you can enjoy the splash and spray, then come back to get cozy in your plush hotel suite.
5. Rock and Roll (and Reel).
Got a physically active crew that you want to keep moving? This Rock, Roll, and Reel adventure might be the perfect option for you.
Start your day of family fun with a climbing challenge at Central Rock Gym. You can take a climbing class together; jump on and just get started, or let your little ones (ages 4 to 6) take part in the Leaping Lemurs Climbing Club Junior program while you scale the more challenging paths.
Ready for a more traditional family fun outing to make up the “roll” part of your day?
Bowling is just the ticket and is always a great option, rain or shine. While there are plenty of bowling alleys around town, Classic Lanes is a popular and affordable option for families.
Finally, for the “reel” option, we recommend dinner at Hooked in the Wyndham Garden Hotel. The restaurant offers great seafood and pasta options that all family members will love (the lobster gouda mac and cheese is the ultimate crowd-pleaser).
Or, if you have pickier eaters in your family, just spend the evening with a pizza and pool time at the hotel, then get ready for a delicious breakfast the next morning… and make sure to order the pancakes foster.
Whatever you do around Buffalo, if you’re having fun with family, you can’t go wrong. Plan a weekend to come and visit us soon!