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Explore Buffalo Announces May Tours and Events | Arts & Culture

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Explore Buffalo Announces May Tours and Events
Explore Buffalo Announces May Tours and Events

Explore Buffalo’s walking tours are back, including all of your favorites plus new tours to be added this summer. There are 100 tour dates available in May!

Advance reservations are encouraged but not required for tours and speaker series. Walk-ups are welcome! For security reasons, all credit card payments must be made in advance.  Advance reservations with a credit card can be made online until the tour starting time. Cash or checks are accepted at the start of the tour. If you make an advance reservation, please print your confirmation email or be prepared to show it on your phone.

Unless specified, most tours are between 90 minutes and two hours in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Reservations may be made online at explorebuffalo.org or by calling (716) 245-3032. 

PRESIDENTS IN BUFFALO
May 1, 8, 15, 22 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour metered parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

The home of two presidents, Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland, Buffalo has also played host to many American presidents for important speeches and other occasions, the most infamous being President McKinley's visit to the Pan-American Exposition in 1901 that ended tragically with his assassination. Some of the presidential stories in Buffalo are often told, while others are less widely known. Join us on this tour to learn about presidents who are prominent in Buffalo history, particularly Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. 

INSIDE ST. MARY’S SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
May 3 • 6 p.m.
Meet: St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, 2253 Main St., Buffalo. Enter the driveway from Main Street to use the parking lot which is behind the buildings; the main entrance faces the parking lot and is up a flight of stairs to the right of the bridge that the driveway goes underneath.
Cost: $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass $10

St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, established in Buffalo in 1853 as the first academic school for the deaf in the country, was relocated from Edward Street to its current location on Main Street in 1898. This two-hour walking tour highlights the beautiful architecture of this historic building and offers fascinating information about the history and culture of deaf people in the Buffalo area. The tour also offers a glimpse into the current world of educating deaf and hard of hearing students in the 21st century.

Highlights of the tour include original woodwork from 1898, stained glass windows in the former chapel, the school’s cherished museum which houses a wealth of artifacts and photographs from throughout the decades at St. Mary’s, and a brief meet and greet with a few of the school’s residential students, which comprise approximately 30 percent of the current school population.  Join us for a one-of-a-kind tour in one of Buffalo’s iconic buildings!

DOWNTOWN DECO
May 4, 11, 18, 25 • 10:30 a.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour metered parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

This downtown walking tour focuses on downtown buildings built in Buffalo in one of the 20th century's most distinctive architectural styles: Art Deco. Prevalent during the 1920s and 1930s, Art Deco is a unique style combining traditional motifs with modern imagery and materials of the Machine Age. Characterized by its use of bold geometric shapes, rich colors and lavish ornamentation, Art Deco buildings stand out for their beauty and symbolism.

The Court Street corridor of downtown Buffalo, from Lafayette Square to Niagara Square, puts the Art Deco style on grand display. Buildings featured on this tour include Buffalo City Hall, Rand Building, Industrial Bank Building, Michael Dillon Federal Courthouse, Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, and the lobby of the Hotel Lafayette. While visiting these Art Deco gems, you will learn about Buffalo during the 1920s and 1930s when these buildings were being built.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S FONTANA BOATHOUSE
May 4, 11, 18, 25 • 1 p.m; May 20 • 11 a.m.
Meet: 1 Rotary Row, Buffalo. Take Porter Avenue west, and immediately after crossing the I-190 expressway, turn right at the Fontana Boathouse sign. Follow the driveway back to the Boathouse where there is ample on-site parking.
Cost:  $10, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join Explore Buffalo for a tour of the only rowing boathouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright! Originally designed by Wright in 1905 for the University of Wisconsin, the Boathouse was never built until its construction in 2007 in Buffalo along the shore of the Black Rock Channel. This was one of Wright's favorite designs, as evidenced by his inclusion of the Boathouse in his now-famous Wasmuth Portfolio.

Today the boathouse is being used for its original purpose as an active rowing facility, providing a unique opportunity to see one of Wright's designs being used as originally intended. On the tour, you'll learn why it was never constructed in Wisconsin, and how it came to be built in Buffalo.

The tour includes both the exterior and interior of the Boathouse, providing an in-depth look at a masterpiece of Prairie Style design. While on the tour, enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Erie, the Niagara River and the Canadian shore from the Boathouse, and be sure to bring your camera!

DELAWARE AVENUE MIDWAY
May 4 • 6 p.m.;  May 27 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Parking is available in the TR Site’s parking lot accessible from Franklin Street or Delaware Avenue.
Cost: $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Historically the most prestigious address in Buffalo, Delaware Avenue is full of historic and architectural treasures. Join us for this tour of historic landmarks on the section of Delaware Avenue from North Street to Tupper Street. (For the other half of "Millionaire Mile," see the Delaware Avenue Mansions tour.) Featured prominently in the tour are the Midway row houses, which are the only group of row houses built on Delaware Avenue. Also seen on this tour are historic mansions, churches, social clubs and commercial buildings which provide a glimpse into society life of Buffalo's capitalists and business elite in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

TURN OF THE CENTURY TREASURES
May 5, 12, 19, 26 • 9:30 a.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

This tour showcases Buffalo commercial architecture at the turn of the 20th century, when the city was the eighth largest in America and hosted the Pan-American Exposition. Many were designed by prominent local architectural firms, including Green & Wicks and Esenwein & Johnson, and exemplify the Beaux Arts architectural style popular at that time.

Popular around the turn of the 20th century, Beaux-Arts, which translates as “Beautiful Arts” and began in Paris, is characterized by elaborate detail and ornamentation, with many classical influences. Many of the buildings on this tour have been meticulously restored in recent years to meet current needs, including the Electric Tower and Curtiss Hotel.

AMERICAN MASTERS
May 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, 31 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour metered parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free 

At the turn of the 20th century, Buffalo had grown to become the eighth largest city in America. The wealth generated by commerce and industry enabled the city’s businesses, organizations and citizens to hire some of the nation’s most prominent architects and use the finest materials available.

On this downtown walking tour, see signature works by some of America’s greatest architects, including the Guaranty Building by Louis Sullivan & Dankmar Adler, the Ellicott Square Building by Daniel Burnham & Co., and St. Paul’s Cathedral by Richard Upjohn. Learn about the prominence of Buffalo on a national scale at the turn of the 20th century while visiting buildings such as the Old Post Office, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Old County Hall.

BEST OF BUFFALO
May 5, 12, 19, 26 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour metered parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join Explore Buffalo for a downtown walking tour of the best of Buffalo architecture and history! The buildings included on this overview tour help to tell the story of Buffalo’s rapid rise to prominence, from the opening of the Erie Canal to the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Buildings seen on this tour were designed by both nationally and locally significant architects, including Louis Sullivan, Richard Upjohn, Louise Bethune and EB Green.

Perfect for both visitors and residents alike, this tour is an excellent introduction to Buffalo’s architectural heritage. This is an exterior-only tour; for building interiors, please see our in-depth downtown tours – American Masters, Turn of the Century Treasures and Downtown Deco.

ALLENTOWN MOB
May 5, 12, 19, 26 • 7 p.m.
Meet: Cafe 59, at 62 Allen St. at the corner of Franklin Street. Street parking on Allen, Franklin and other nearby streets is available and free on weekends or after 5 p.m.
Cost: $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

When Italian and Sicilian immigrants came to Buffalo, many of their local customs came with them — and so did the Mafia. Through much of the 20th century, the Allentown neighborhood was a hotspot for mob activity. Do you want to know how a Rembrandt painting stolen from a French museum found its way to Buffalo? Or how one Buffalo mobster got the nickname "Lucky Pants?” Come on the Allentown Mob Tour to find out!

LINCOLN PARKWAY
May 6, 13, 21, 27 • 10 a.m.
Meet: At the Abraham Lincoln statue in front of the Rose Garden in Delaware Park. Abundant free street parking on Lincoln Parkway is available.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to be the principal approach to the jewel of his Buffalo park system, Delaware Park, Lincoln Parkway is one of the most beautiful streets in Buffalo. The homes along Lincoln Parkway, constructed in the early part of the 20th century by some of Buffalo’s wealthiest families, represent a wide variety of architectural styles. This tour will be a “walk in the park” as we explore the neighborhood and the stories of the families who have lived there!

DELAWARE AVENUE MANSIONS
May 6, 20, 27 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
Cost: $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

The richest of the rich in Buffalo put their wealth on full display on this section of Delaware Avenue, home to the grandest collection of mansions built in the city. Marvel at these grandiose monuments to the Gilded Age and enjoy the intriguing stories of the families who built them – many were related – on this tour of Delaware Avenue from North Street to Bryant Street. This is an exterior-only tour (interiors are available once per month on the Inside Delaware Avenue Mansions tour).

RIVERFRONT RENAISSANCE
May 6, 13, 20, 27 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Courtyard by Marriott Hotel at 125 Main St. (adjacent to the Erie Canal Harbor Metro Rail station). Street parking is available on some surrounding streets; street parking in downtown Buffalo is free on weekend. The closest paid private parking lot is AllPro Parking at 155 Washington St., directly behind the Courtyard by Marriott hotel.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Buffalo grew from the water's edge, as the Erie Canal and later the railroads brought unprecedented commerce and industry to the city. This waterfront walking tour will explore some of the oldest neighborhoods of Buffalo, many of which have gone through numerous transitions and are in the midst of yet another change as the city returns its focus to the water. The redevelopment of Canalside and new waterfront attractions are featured in this tour, along with the history of the opening of the Erie Canal and development of the grain elevator and other waterfront industry.

LARKIN DISTRICT
May 6 • 11 a.m.
Meet: Outside Flying Bison Brewing at 840 Seneca St., Buffalo, at the corner of Seneca and Lord streets.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

The Larkin District, or Larkinville, is the reborn former home of the Larkin Soap Company. In the early 1900s, the Larkin Company was one of the largest mail order companies in the country, and one of its executives, Darwin D. Martin, was responsible for bringing Frank Lloyd Wright to Buffalo. Today, the former Larkin factories and warehouses have been brought back to life and the area is bustling with activity once again. Join us to explore the Larkin Company's past while enjoying the revitalized neighborhood.

SILO CITY VERTICAL
May 7, 13, 14, 20, 27, 28, 31 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Silo City, 120 Silo City Row, Buffalo. Turn from Ohio Street onto Silo City Row, and enter Silo City through the gate. Ahead on your right will be a small brick office building where the tour will assemble. Ample parking is available on site.
Cost: General $40, Student $35, Explorer Pass $35

This tour is an experience unlike any other tour in the world! Silo City: Vertical will take you to the top of the American and Perot grain elevator complexes. Approximately 2.5 hours in length, you will experience all of the history and mechanics of the grain elevator, as well as the malt production process in the Perot malthouse on this in-depth tour. A look at some of the regenerative projects ongoing at Silo City is included.

Please note that Silo City: Vertical is not recommended for those with a fear of heights. Participants on this tour must be physically able to go up approximately 100 feet (10 stories) of stairs and a short interior ladder to reach the top — and then come back down! The elevators have been out of commission for years, so stairs are the only way to go.

Reservations are required for this tour! Due to space limitations, we must limit this tour's group size to a small number. The minimum age for this tour is 14 years old. Please wear comfortable walking shoes; no sandals or open-toed shoes are permitted on this tour. The tour will proceed rain or shine.

ELMWOOD VILLAGE VICTORIANS
May 7 • 10 a.m.; May 23 • 6 p.m.
Meet: Perks Café, 448 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo. Street parking is available on Elmwood and surrounding streets.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Exploring the streets of Elmwood Village, we will see a varied assortment of architectural styles and details. Developed along the Elmwood Avenue streetcar line that opened in 1889, the Elmwood Village is a highly intact residential neighborhood that showcases many beautiful homes in the Queen Anne and other Victorian styles, which were popular at the time of the neighborhood's development. This tour includes parts of both the Elmwood Historic District West and the Elmwood Historic District East, which together create the largest historic district in Buffalo and one of the largest in the nation. Discover historic houses, apartment buildings, businesses and more on this guided walking tour.

SCANDALOUS BUFFALO
May 7 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Spot Coffee at 227 Delaware Ave., at the corner of Chippewa Street. Two-hour metered parking is available on Delaware Avenue and other nearby streets, or private parking lots are available – the closest is on Delaware Avenue next to Spot Coffee. The nearest MetroRail station, Fountain Plaza, is three blocks away. Street parking downtown is free on weekends.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join us for a tour of the scandalous side of Buffalo history! On this downtown walking tour you’ll learn some of the darker stories of the Queen City’s past. Stops included on the tour include the site of a triple hanging in 1825 and the former location of a Ku Klux Klan office. You’ll also find out what happened to the assassin who shot President William McKinley at Buffalo’s 1901 Pan-American Exposition.

On this tour, you’ll learn about the role some of Buffalo’s lawmen played in maintaining civil order, including a popular anti-Prohibition mayor and the Erie County Sheriff who became the only American President to have executed a prisoner by hanging. The architectural landmarks of downtown Buffalo provide a magnificent backdrop for these stories, many of which sound straight from a movie script – but they’re all true!

ART OF THE SUBWAY
May 7 • 10 a.m.
Meet: University Metro Rail Station on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. Plentiful free parking is available adjacent to the University Station in the Park-and-Ride parking lot.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free 

Buffalo’s Metro Rail system is an oft-overlooked treasure trove of modern art! Each station features unique artwork by a wide variety of artists, which will be seen on this tour as you travel from one end of the Metro Rail system to the other, getting off at each station along the way.

Metro Rail fare is not included in the tour price and must be purchased separately. (Round-trip fare is $4). This tour is approximately three hours in length and will end in downtown Buffalo, where you may either board an outbound train to return to University Station or stay for lunch before returning.

SILO CITY GROUNDED
May 7, 14, 28 • 11 a.m.; May 13, 20, 27 • 1 p.m.; May 25, 26 • 10 a.m.; May 30 • 6 p.m.
Meet: Silo City, 120 Silo City Row, Buffalo. Turn from Ohio Street onto Silo City Row, and enter Silo City through the gate. Ahead on your right will be a small brick office building where the tour will assemble. Ample parking is available on site.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

At ground level, experience the monumental scale of the grain elevators constructed in Buffalo in the first half of the 20th century and also see how they are now being repurposed. On this guided walk around the grounds of Silo City, you will enter the ground floor work areas of a flour mill, two grain elevators and a malthouse. You will also see new projects including “Elevator B.”

OLD FIRST WARD
May 7, 21, 28 • 1 p.m.; May 13 • 4 p.m.; May 26 • 6 p.m.
Meet: Mutual Riverfront Park at 41 Hamburg St., Buffalo. Street parking is available on Hamburg and South streets by the park; please do not use the parking lot for the Waterfront Memories & More Museum.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join us for a walking tour of one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buffalo! The First Ward is the neighborhood adjacent to the Buffalo River, located in the shadows of the grain elevators that employed many of the neighborhood's residents. On this tour, you will learn about how the growth and development of the neighborhood was closely tied to the rise of the grain trade at Buffalo's harbor. A neighborhood with a proudly Irish heritage, the First Ward has been the birthplace and home to some of Buffalo's most famous citizens, including Michael Shea, Jimmy Slattery and Fingy Connors. Come on this tour to learn their stories and many more! The tour will end at Gene McCarthy's Tavern and Old First Ward Brewing, the perfect place to enjoy a pint after the tour.

LOOKING UP: DOWNTOWN CEILINGS & SKYLIGHTS
May 10 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Come ready to look up on this downtown walking tour! This tour will reveal the ornate ceilings and skylights found in many buildings throughout downtown Buffalo. While many people walk underneath them on a daily basis, the ceilings of many of Buffalo's buildings are often their least-noticed feature. Join us on this tour to discover these beautiful works of art, many of which are hiding in plain sight!

MAIN STREET: OLD MEETS NEW
May 10 • 6 p.m.
Meet: Café 59, 62 Allen St., Buffalo. Street parking on Allen, Franklin and other nearby streets is available and free on weekends or after 5 p.m.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is rapidly growing, with billions of dollars of new construction recently completed, in progress or soon to be underway. This includes the new University at Buffalo Jacobs Medical School and the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, both targeting 2017 completion dates. This tour will view these construction sites as well as finished buildings such as the Gates Vascular Institute and Conventus. (Note: this is an exterior-only tour that does not include any interior access.)

Related to the construction boom on the Medical Campus, the adjacent historic Allentown neighborhood has seen significant attention recently, focused on restoration of renovation of many of its historic buildings. This tour will view many of these restoration projects, particularly those along Main Street. Come and join us to see the amazing transformation of this neighborhood.

DOWNTOWN LOCKPORT WALKING TOUR
May 13 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Flight of Five Winery in Old City Hall, 2 Pine Street, Lockport. Parking is available on the street or in the adjacent parking lot.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Lockport is a canal town unlike any other on the Erie Canal. Growing out of a need to scale the Niagara Escarpment, the Flight of Five is an engineering feat that has long attracted visitors to this area. While Lockport is well known for its important role in the success of the Erie Canal, there is more to Lockport than just the locks. This tour will explore the development of Lockport from the early 1800s to modern times, including the humble Quakers who founded the town, inventors who brought about economic and cultural development, beautiful architecture and even a stop on the Underground Railroad.

INSIDE DELAWARE AVENUE MANSIONS
May 13 • 10 a.m.
Meet: American Red Cross at 786 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, at the corner of Summer Street. Parking is available in the Red Cross parking lot, accessible from Delaware Avenue or Summer Street.
Cost: General $20, Student $10, Explorer Pass $10

Join Explore Buffalo for a tour that features the interior of two historic mansions on Buffalo’s Millionaire’s Row. This tour will be a trip back in time to the Gilded Age, as you learn about the fascinating history of Buffalo’s business leaders at the turn of the 20th century. As Buffalo’s elite tried to outdo one another, they built larger and larger mansions along Delaware Avenue, hiring prominent architects and using the best materials available.

This tour visits the interiors of the former Clement Mansion, now the American Red Cross, and the former Lockwood Mansion, now home to Child & Family Services. Explore Buffalo is proud to partner with both organizations to showcase the history of their buildings, and thanks them for their support.

BIDWELL PARKWAY
May 13 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Soldiers Place, Buffalo. Abundant street parking is available along Bidwell, Chapin or Lincoln Parkways.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

The gorgeous houses on either side of Bidwell Parkway, especially those designed by the well-known local firm of Esenwein & Johnson, are the highlights of the tour. The beautiful parkway with its rows of trees became one of Buffalo’s most fashionable residential addresses, and its popularity continues today as the center of the Elmwood Village.

While strolling the parkway designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as part of their park and parkway system for the growing city of Buffalo, learn about the “Civil War District” they laid out that included Soldiers Circle, Lincoln Parkway, Bidwell Parkway, Bidwell Place, Chapin Parkway and Chapin Place. Along the way, see a house designed using H. H. Richardson’s plans and examine the large sculpture by Larry Griffis, “Flight of Birds,” and the newest public art in Buffalo, “Eden.”

BUFFALO SPORTS HISTORY
May 13 • 10:30 a.m.; May 23 • 6:30 p.m.
Meet: Main & Perry streets, outside of KeyBank Center.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Buffalo is well known as a city passionate about its local sports teams. This downtown walking tour will trace the history of local sports teams, stadiums and players, including both major and minor league teams and college sports. As we walk through downtown, enjoy some local sports trivia that will keep even the most fervent local fans guessing. Join us to learn about past sports history and gain appreciation of the enthusiasm that Buffalo sports fans have for the city's current teams.

DOWNTOWN MOB TOUR
May 13, 20 & 27 • 7 p.m.
Meet: Spot Coffee, 227 Delaware Ave. at the corner of Chippewa Street. Metered street parking downtown is free on weekends on Delaware Avenue and other nearby streets, or private parking lots are available – the closest is on Delaware Avenue, next to Spot Coffee. The nearest MetroRail station, Fountain Plaza, is three blocks away.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

A major part of Buffalo's criminal history will be revealed on this tour! Throughout much of the 20th century, the Mafia played in important role in the Queen City, and Stefano Magaddino not only controlled mob activities in Western New York for 52 years, but was also a national crime figure. No part of Western New York was untouched by his criminal organization. 

Join us on this walking tour of downtown to learn about the impact the mob had on Buffalo, from daily life to major government building projects. Among the stories uncovered on this tour are the Buffalo Zoo warehouse, the Barrel Murder of 1903 and the hit at Caruso's Restaurant. Walking among some of the downtown locations that mob members would have been familiar with as they plotted their next moves, you will understand the power the local mob once wielded.

WEST SIDE MOB
May 14 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Providence Social restaurant at 490 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. Free street parking is available on Rhode Island, Chenango and other nearby streets.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Buffalo’s West Side was once a hotbed of mob activity and government surveillance as law enforcement tried to make a dent in the criminal underworld, often with little success. Find out how the mob succeeded at eluding the government men for decades on this entertaining tour. This tour is adapted from Mike Rizzo’s book “Gangsters and Organized Crime in Buffalo.”

PUBLIC ART OF DOWNTOWN BUFFALO
May 17 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

This tour focuses on the public art of downtown Buffalo. Come walk with us as we view and appreciate the varied media in downtown Buffalo’s sculptures, monuments, building ornamentation, advertising and street art.

BUFFALO NIAGARA MEDICAL CAMPUS
May 18 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott St., Buffalo. Metered parking is available along Ellicott Street or in the paid parking lot across the street from the Innovation Center.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is a hive of construction activity and development, with gleaming new medical facilities rising each year. See soon-to-open additions to the campus, including the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. This tour includes interior stops at the Innovation Center, University at Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Gates Vascular Institute. This tour is made possible by the support and cooperation of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.

POSTMODERN DOWNTOWN
May 19 • 1:30 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Locals and visitors usually fall in love with Buffalo’s highly decorated buildings such as the Guaranty Building (1896), City Hall (1931) and, of course, churches. These same people often find Modern architecture like City Court (1974) and Main Place Mall (1969) bland and boring by comparison. 

In reaction to Modern architecture, from the mid-1970s to the end of the 20th century, there was a return to color and ornament in new buildings including the Buffalo Bisons Stadium, the Buffalo Savings Bank Annex and the Flickinger Athletic Center. This style is known as Postmodern and this tour will focus on the ornamentation and color in a number of those and other Postmodern buildings, including Lafayette Court, Key Center at Fountain Plaza and City Centre skyscrapers.

ELEVATOR ALLEY KAYAK
May 20, 21, 27, 28 • 9 a.m.
Meet: Elevator Alley Kayak at The Barrel Factory, 65 Vandalia St., Buffalo, corner of Hamburg and Republic streets across from Gene McCarthy’s. The tour will launch from Mutual Riverfront Park, a one-block walk from The Barrel Factory. Kayak rental is included in the tour price. All kayaks used on this tour must be from Elevator Alley Kayak; bringing your own kayak is not permitted.
Cost: General $40, Student $35, Explorer Pass $35

The best way to appreciate Buffalo’s many grain elevators is from the water! From a kayaking perspective, the massive scale of the grain elevators and silos will be even more awe-inspiring. Join us for a kayak tour of the Buffalo River and its grain elevators in partnership with Elevator Alley Kayak, who will provide the kayaks for this urban adventure tour. Learn about the history of the grain elevators in Buffalo and have many terrific photo opportunities on this guided kayak tour!

CITY OF LIGHT BUS TOUR
May 20 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo
Cost: General $40, Explorer Pass $35

At the end of the 19th century, Buffalo was a major American city in the forefront of technological progress. It was a busy inland port and a railroad hub with heavy industry and state-of-the-art electricity – all of which brought great wealth to the city. These economic and technological developments culminated in 1901 when Buffalo hosted a spectacular world’s fair: the Pan-American Exposition. Experience Buffalo through the eyes of the narrator of Lauren Belfer’s historical novel, City of Light, which is set in Buffalo at the dawn of the 20th century.

HIDDEN GEMS OF THE DELAWARE DISTRICT
May 20 • 2 p.m.
Meet: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Parking is available in the TR Site's  parking lot accessible from Franklin Street or Delaware Avenue.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Take a walk around-the-block on Linwood Avenue, Bryant Street, Oakland Place and Summer Street to discover beautiful gardens and spectacular homes in a wide variety of architectural styles just off Delaware Avenue. Many of the families who built these homes are well-known in Buffalo history, such as the Goodyear family, while others are less well known but equally intriguing. Join us to learn their stories and discover the many hidden delights of this neighborhood!

GATES CIRCLE
May 21 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Southwest corner of Gates Circle and Chapin Parkway
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Buffalo’s streets and public spaces are dynamic with a variety of histories, architectural styles, and uses. Gates Circle is an excellent example of this variety, which this walking tour around the circle and surrounding streets will explore. Learn about the history of Gates Circle itself, along with the Olmsted & Vaux park system and surrounding streets including Lafayette, Delaware, and West Delavan Avenues and Chapin Parkway. Along the way, examine the architectural styles present on both residential and commercial buildings.

SPOTLIGHT TOUR: SATURN CLUB
May 22 • 6 p.m.
Meet: Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
Cost: General $25, Explorer Pass $20

Come with Explore Buffalo on a rare opportunity for an in-depth tour of one of Buffalo's exclusive private clubs — the Saturn Club. The Saturn Club was formed in 1885 by a "younger" clientele who wanted a less formal and conservative atmosphere than the Buffalo Club, which had opened 18 years earlier. The current Saturn Club building was designed by Duane Lyman (of the firm Bley & Lyman), who was a member. It was completed in 1922 in the Tudor revival style. Nestled among the grand mansions of Delaware Avenue, this building was never a residence and was purpose-built as a club. You'll get to view the intricately-carved woodwork and stone details throughout the interior spaces. The outdoor courtyard will be open — a magnificent space to enjoy Buffalo's summers.

Wheelchairs and scooters are permitted. Although there are elevators that allow access to most of the rooms, there are some steps to gain entrance into some of the spaces. Parking is off Delaware Avenue towards the side and rear of the building. Entrance is at the front and center facing Delaware Avenue.

SUNSET ELEVATOR ALLEY KAYAK
May 26, 31 • 6 p.m.
Meet: Meet at Elevator Alley Kayak at The Barrel Factory, 65 Vandalia St., Buffalo, at the corner of Hamburg and Republic streets, across from Gene McCarthy’s. The tour will launch from Mutual Riverfront Park, a one-block walk from The Barrel Factory.
Cost: $40, Explorer Pass $35

The best way to appreciate Buffalo’s many grain elevators is from the water, and one of the best times to view them is at sunset! From a kayaking perspective, the massive scale of the grain elevators and silos will be even more awe-inspiring. Join us for a sunset kayak tour of the Buffalo River and its grain elevators in partnership with Elevator Alley Kayak, who will provide the kayaks for this urban adventure tour. Learn about the history of the grain elevators in Buffalo and have many terrific photo opportunities on this guided kayak tour!

Kayak rental is included in the tour price. All kayaks used on this tour must be from Elevator Alley Kayak; bringing your own kayak is not permitted.

MICHIGAN STREET AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE TOUR
May 27 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Michigan St. Baptist Church, 511 Michigan Ave., Buffalo
Cost: General $20, Explorer Pass $15

African-American history in Buffalo is centered in the neighborhood surrounding the Michigan Street Baptist Church. Join us for a tour of important locations in this neighborhood to learn about the major milestones in African-American history in Buffalo, as well as how this affected national history. Buffalo has played a major role in African-American history, from the days of the Underground Railroad to the formation of the Niagara Movement, a precursor to the NAACP. This tour includes an interior tour of the Michigan Street Baptist Church, Nash House Museum and Colored Musicians Club Museum, three important landmarks in this neighborhood.

SEEING DOWNTOWN THROUGH BINOCULARS
May 30 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Bring your binoculars and come ready to look up on this downtown walking tour! Many downtown buildings are topped with ornate details that can be difficult to see from ground level. On this tour, you will discover some of the most beautiful details in downtown Buffalo that are hiding in plain sight!

ELMWOOD VILLAGE’S ALBRIGHT ESTATE
May 31 • 6 p.m.
Meet: Elmwood Avenue Spot Coffee, 765 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo. Street parking is available on Elmwood Avenue and surrounding streets.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

In the heart of the thriving Elmwood Village are treasures and secrets waiting to be rediscovered on this walking tour. Twelve acres surrounded by West Ferry Street and Cleveland Avenue were once the lavish estate of John J. Albright, famous industrialist and philanthropist who is the namesake of our renowned art gallery's 1905 building. After the Albright mansion was demolished, the property was developed into some of the most attractive residential real estate in the city. We will walk these tree-lined blocks to see remaining signs of the Albright Estate, learn more about this historic district, and how it developed into a residential neighborhood.

For more information on tours and events, please visit explorebuffalo.org or call (716) 245-3032. 

 

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