by Kathy Benzel

I’m ever in search of fun things to do with my grandchildren, and because their ages range from seven to fifteen, it can sometimes be a challenge to find something we’ll all enjoy. Delaware Park has always fit the bill, and we find plenty to keep us busy!

One of Frederick Law Olmsted’s first three parks in Buffalo, Delaware Park serves as the focal point of the Olmsted system and today contains many of Buffalo’s cultural institutions. Simply named The Park by Olmsted, this 350-acre setting serves as Buffalo’s “Central Park.” Delaware Park is the crowned jewel of the Olmsted system, with 350 acres of meadow, forest and lake.

The first thing we usually do is to play in one of the three playgrounds. Elijah’s favorite is in Rumsey Woods which is on the Lincoln Parkway side of the park. Next to the playground is the Rose Garden, which is extraordinarily beautiful when the roses are in full bloom. Hoyt Lake is next – a great place to explore or just sit peacefully, with rental boats on the lake during July and August; $10 for 30 minutes and $15 for 60 minutes for up to 4 passengers. Then we’re off to explore the many trails throughout the park. This could take days, and there’s always something new we discover.

That’s only one small part of Delaware Park. The other side of the park borders Parkside Avenue, and there you’ll find a golf course, baseball and softball diamonds, football, soccer and rugby fields. There’s lawn bowling courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, a couple more playgrounds, with plenty of picnic tables and shelters. And don’t forget the Parkside Lodge which houses the new restaurant, The Lunch Box and a Golf Shop.

And if Grandma isn’t exhausted by this time, we’ve sometimes even built in a trip to the Buffalo Zoo! But that’s a topic for another day!

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by Margaret Healy

HoytLakeHoyt Lake at Delaware Park has always been a favorite walkable weekend destination of mine. Close to Elmwood Avenue and neighbored by the beautiful Albright Knox Art Gallery, the lake is a perfectly serene, natural respite from its urban neighborhood. On any given summer Saturday, you can find families with picnic baskets, dog-walkers, bicyclists, and enamoured couples sitting on the steps and grass surrounding the lake, basking in the sun and enjoying the fresh air.

Last weekend, my friend and I, with iced beverages from the nearby Café Aroma in tow, decided to make our way to the lake to join our fellow Buffalonians for some much-needed sunshine. This time, however, we spontaneously decided to mix it up a bit and try out the newest addition to the fun of Hoyt Lake — rowboat rentals.

While I am something of a connesseur of lakeside sitting and eating, this was the first time I had ever ventured onto the water. The rowboats were a little tricky to get the hang of, but park employees were at the ready to assist with lifejackets, getting in and out, and instructing us on how to paddle. We spent a pleasant half hour paddling around the lake and enjoying the breeze. Once we had safely returned to land, we returned our paddles to the rental hut that had been constructed nearby and bought some snacks there while we were at it. All in all, a simple and fun afternoon excursion.

Rowboats are available every day except Monday, and cost $10 per half-hour and $15 per hour to rent.

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by Doug Sitler

bikenavalparkNo question, one of my favorite activities in Buffalo is riding my bike. Throughout the years my trusty Trek mountain bike and I have explored many areas, neighborhoods and sites around the city. The natural and metropolitan landscape of the city offers unlimited bike riding adventures for riders of all levels. Five of my favorite bike rides that offer unique experiences in Buffalo include:

Forest Lawn Cemetery – under a beautiful canopy of trees, this massive cemetery adjacent to Delaware Park offer miles of bike riding opportunities. You can enjoy a tranquil ride past jaw-dropping examples of funerary art and architecture, sculpture and the final resting place of some of the United States’ most prominent citizens. 

Riverwalk Bike Path – beginning in downtown Buffalo, this path follows the Niagara River northward to the Erie Canal city of North Tonawanda. On this path, you’ll see Buffalo’s waterfront community, the Frank Lloyd Wright Boathouse, the Peace Bridge and much more. 

Erie Basin Marina & Cobblestone District – In this ride you can get an upclose look at the cobblestone streets around HSBC Arena, Buffalo & Erie County Naval Park, the Erie Basin Marina Gardens, and the Buffalo Lighthouse. 

Richmond Avenue – a majestic Buffalo Street lined with large Victorian homes that features bike lanes for a safe and unobstructed ride. 

Delaware Park – Scajaquada Bike Path – enjoy the 1.7 mile ring road around Delaware Park, before embarking on the Scajaquada Bike Path that will take you past the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Museum and onward to the Niagara River and the Riverwalk Bike Path.

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