The Buffalo Museum of Science is something of an undiscovered jewel by many who reside in Buffalo. Thought of by most as an educational facility for students to study space and dinosaurs, the Museum actually boasts a number of exhibits with direct reference to Buffalo’s natural wonders.
Located at 1020 Humboldt Pkwy. in Buffalo, the Museum dates back to 1836, with the establishment of the Young Men’s Association in the City of Buffalo. The YMA was a center for cultural activities, and its committees dealt with the public library, art, literature, and science. Through its work with libraries, the YMA came to own many items of value, including minerals, fossils, shells, pressed plants, and paintings and articles with historical value. The need to display these items was the beginning of the Museum we know today.
Many of the over 650,000 specimens in the Museum’s possession pertain to the Greater Niagara region, and represent the most complete record of anthropology, botany, mycology, paleontology, entomology, and zoology of the area. One exhibit featured at the Museum is entitled Western New York Woodlands. The dioramas in this exhibit show the diversity of the habitats throughout the area’s woodlands – the animals, the plants and fungi, the colors and shapes; it also features a cross-section of a sequoia tree that is estimated to date back to the Roman Empire.
Other exhibits featured at the Buffalo Museum of Science include “Dinosaurs & Co.,” which features the 20-foot-long Dunkleosteus, which swam in the seas that covered New York State 370 million years ago, as well as skeletons of dinosaur favorites like Tricerotops, Allosaurus, and Deinoychus. Check out “Our Place in Space” for information on the astronomical process of galaxy and star formation, as well as information on space travel. The “Gems and Minerals” exhibit presents information on how minerals are formed, mineral identification, and the types of minerals in the Ontario and New York regions.
The Tifft Nature Preserve became a department within the Museum in 1982. Located at 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd. in Buffalo, the Preserve is a 264-acre nature refuge created in 1972, featuring ponds, marshes, woodlands, and five miles of nature trails. Admission to walk the trails and enjoy the preserve is free (donations gratefully accepted); the Visitor’s Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The Buffalo Museum of Science also features Chauncey’s gift shop, which sells handmade jewelry by local artists as well as a variety of science-related games, toys, and gadgets; it is open during regular Museum hours. The recently-opened Brown Bear Bistro features sandwiches, wraps, salads, and beverages; its hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Regular Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (check the website for special show hours or call 716-896-5200). Admission for adults (18 to 61) is $7; $6 for seniors (62+); $5 for children 3 to 18, students (with ID), and military personnel (with ID); and children under 3 are free. Parking is free and the lot is located on Museum grounds.