By Jennifer Weber
It’s the end of August? Already? Where does the time go? While it’s easy to get caught up in the so-many-things-to-do-before-school-starts list, make sure to plan a little downtime for some outdoor relaxation and fun with the family. Life is short, the school shopping can be pushed back an afternoon— take one last summer adventure together and get some fresh air at one of these local attractions.
You’ve surely been past the Springville Pop Warner Rail Trail located across from the historic train depot at 227 West Main Street hundreds of times. Maybe even more! But have you taken a walk, jog, stroll, bike ride or skated (or danced?) down the 1.8 mile trail? Why not make a lunch or dinner out of it and enjoy the picnic tables at the park? Take pictures. Share the love. Someday when the entire 27-mile trail is complete, you can say you visited the trail way back when Springville started it all. Visit www.ecattrail.org for more information.
For those who think that summer is flying by too fast and/or going back to school is for the birds, check out Gooseneck Waterfowl Sanctuary located at 5067 Townline Road in Delevan this Sunday, Aug. 27 from 12-5 p.m. for the Wild Wing Festival. Admission is $5 and includes music by the Rustic Ramblers with Gene Hilts on steel guitar and food for purchase by the Colden Mill Restaurant. But most importantly, come out to see the 78 different species of waterfowl in a beautiful landscaped park, with over 700 flying geese, ducks and swans and over 100 endangered birds. Visit www.gooseneckhillwaterfowlfarm.com for more information.
Feeling artsy? Why not visit one of America’s largest and oldest sculpture parks, found right here in our backyard? Griffis Sculpture Park located at 6902 Rohr Rd, East Otto is a magical place where you can hike along 400+acres of gorgeous wooded nature trails, fields and ponds AND take selfies with over 250 giant steel sculptures at the same time! Visit www.griffispark.org for more information.
Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve located at 4050 North St, Blasdell is the place to go to look for ancient buried treasures- fossils! (And yes, you get to dig, collect and keep what you find.) The former cement quarry has over 4,100 feet of paved trails accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers etc. On Sunday, Aug. 26, visit the park from 5-11 p.m. for a Midsummer Night’s Adventure, which includes a twilight walk across the 54 acre park searching for fossils and stargazing after dark through telescopes for the “Waxing Crescent Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Summer Triangle, Big Dipper, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Hercules, The Ring Nebula and The Great Globular Cluster.” Want to learn more about the No. 1 ranked fossil park in the U.S? Visit www.penndixie.org for more information.
On Saturday, Aug. 26 from 7-11 p.m. visit the Buffalo Audubon Society located at 1610 Welch Rd, North Java for their End of Summer Night Hike and Campfire. Grab some s’mores by the fire and join the resident beavers, owls, bats, raccoons and nighthawks during the sunset night hike. Pre-registration is required, call (585) 457-3228. Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk and there are nature exhibits and a library to check out at the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center. For more information visit www.buffaloaudubon.org.
If you’re looking for a more interactive experience, like getting up close and personal with one of over 400 animals representing 40 species from around the world, check out the Hidden Valley Animal Adventure located at 2887 Royce Road, Varysburg. Visitors can take a guided Safari Tour on a trolley through the 60-acre park where you can view and interact with zebras, bison and 300 other animals. There’s also a Small Animal Adventure Area where visitors can walk among the smaller, friendly animals. Tours run daily beginning at 10 a.m., rain or shine. Visit www.hiddenvalleyadventure.com for more information.