By Alicia Dziak
It’s summer vacation! If you’re a kid, it’s time for staying up late and filling the days with outdoor activities. If you’re a parent, it’s time to get planning! Have no fear—there’s loads of great summertime fun right at your fingertips.
Start out at one of WNY’s great parks. Sprague Brook is close to everyone living in Springville and offers hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, tennis courts and open spaces for lots of fun lawn games. On hot days, the creek is a great place to cool off. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it, or reserve your spot at the campgrounds to extend your stay. Call (716) 858-8355 for reservations.
New York state parks offer everything you look for in an outdoor experience.
If you like waterfalls and gorges, check out Letchworth State Park, which also boasts cabins and camp sites, weekly programming, scenic trails, shady picnic areas and opportunities for whitewater rafting.
Allegany State Park offers hundreds of camp sites, cabins and full service cottages, miles of hiking and biking trails, two beaches, and plenty of rentals to keep you busy on and off the lake. The park also hosts numerous programs all summer long, including 10 new programs like Wetland Walks, Night Hikes, Team Challenge Games and more. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/alleganystatepark.
Lake Erie beaches are plentiful, and for a flat entry fee, you can check out Lake Erie State Park,. Evangola State Park, Woodlawn Beach State Park and more along the shores.
Head to Griffis Sculpture Park to meander through the woods while checking out a variety of unique 3D artwork, some of which you can even climb on.
If climbing is your thing, check out Rock City Park in Olean or Little Rock City in Little Valley and Thunder Rocks at Allegany State Park for giant rock formations you can go on and in.
Now open daily throughout the summer, head to Holiday Valley’s Sky High Adventure Park, which includes the Aerial Park, the Climbing Forest and the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster.
Those ages five and up can enjoy the Climbing Forest, which is like a 3D version of a rock wall, and only one of three in the country. There are 10 trees outfitted with color-coded climbing holds and the difficulty ranges from very easy (yellow) to very challenging (purple). Each climber is fitted with a harness that is clipped into an Auto Belay system. Once a climber reaches the top of the tree at up to 45 feet, they just let go and the belay system slowly lowers them to the ground. There is also a kids’ area with two trees where the youngest climbers can climb about 6 feet up and climb back down. For rate info, visit www.holidayvalley.com/summer/sky-high- adventure-park/climbing- forest/.
The Aerial Park, the largest of its kind in New York State and third largest in the U.S., combines a series of platforms and bridges built in a 4-acre section of the woods near the resort’s Tannenbaum Lodge. The Aerial Park includes 142 platforms, 170 elements and 43 ziplines, with the tallest platform at 68 feet and the longest zip line measuring 350 feet. For rates and to make reservations, visit www.holidayvalley.com/summer/sky-high- adventure-park/.
The Mountain Coaster takes riders up the hill in their own car and lets them control their own speed on the way back down.
While in Ellicottville, cool off this summer at HV’s three-pool complex, open daily through Labor Day. Splash into a kiddie pool, a lap pool and an activity pool, featuring a diving board and slide, play a variety of poolside games, like giant Jenga or Cornhole, or grab a frozen mocktail from the Cabana Bar.
If you want to stay closer to home to cool off, SYI’s community pool is open daily starting June 23. For just $1, open swim is every day from 1 to 8 p.m. Little ones will also enjoy the SYI Spray Park for free, open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
SYI also offers an abundance of camps to keep the kids busy all summer. Choose from soccer, tennis, volleyball and golf camps, bowling, and children’s art program run in conjunction with the Springville Center for the Arts. Visit www.syionline for more info.
Looking for some unique entertainment? The Ellicottville Championship Rodeo returns June 30 to July 2, featuring a jam packed show with nine exciting rodeo events, along with Hardway Buckout Junior Bull Riding, contract acts and clowns. A kids’ stick horse race and a variety of great food round out the event. For more info, visit www.ellicottvillerodeo.com.
Get the kids in on the area’s live music scene this summer.
The annual Summer Music Festival returns to Ellicottville June 30 to July 1 and features the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday, July 1 and Grand Funk Railroad on Sunday, July 2. Other weekend highlights include the annual pet parade, strawberry festival and much more. For more info, visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.
Other area venues offering outdoor entertainment include Canalside, Allegany State Park, Darien Lake, ArtPark, just to name a few. Be sure to read about upcoming shows in the pages of the Springville Times and online at www.springvilletimes.com.
With so much to do and so little time, make your plans for a fun-filled, action-packed summer!