MISSION: To visit every state and territory in the U.S. For my mission a visit is greater than a stop over; I wish to explore the natural and cultural environments of these areas. Each of these locations has a story to tell, and I want to find it.

As of February 2018 I have visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico and 2 island in the US Virgin Islands) at least once.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How To See the Sites of Buffalo/Niagara Falls in 2 Days

I had lofty goals for 2 days - I knew it going in.  But I also had precedent.  I had visited the area about 10 years ago for 2 days specifically for a friend's wedding reception; even then I stuffed some stuff in to the weekend.  Niagara Falls is a thing a majesty and it cannot be denied.

I broke the trip up - 1 day for the Falls and one for Buffalo (namely the zoo's polar bear cubs)

In Niagara, entertained myself at:

  • Hershell Carousel Horse Museum - here I learned about the history of the carousel ride.  Did you know that it was considered scandalous when it was first introduced.  Only adults allowed and the church preached against its corruptive powers.... the Carrousel!!!!  Not only did we learn how the horses were carved, we were also treated to a lesson on the music.  You can't walk out of here without a deep appreciation for the artistry alone.  
  • Riding Maid of the Mists - not much to say here except that it is a must do... I rode this trip without my poncho hood up and can happily report that the powerful mists are better than a shower in penetrating my thick hair.  You take the ride to feel and hear the power of the falls...you walk around the State Park to see the falls.  Because, you cannot see the falls when you get close.  Your eyes shut from the battering of the water.  And, if you are me, you laugh silly from the experience.  This was my second ride and I would go back in a second (on a warm day).
  • Talking in the Symphony (no kidding, I was treated to a concert of John Williams music - and
    still humming ET because of it).  I don't care what his detractors say, I love John Williams music.  I really think that people that criticize do not know the breathe of his musical genius.  Not every score he composes is a "march", it just so happens that some of his most well know compositions are marches.  Still, there are some lovely classical strings in there.  And after a day of walking around, sitting down on Old Falls Street for a special concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic was nothing but pure bliss.  
  • And then, headed back to the Falls again at night - because if you have not seen them, you must
     witness the colors on the water.  It sounds so simple, but the site is not!  ( when I get some time, I will add a slide show of the falls pics in the right hand column for all to see)

After some well earned rest, I headed to Buffalo to visit the primary reason for my trip:

  • I spent the afternoon with the polar bear cubs, "ahhhhhing" away at the Zoo.  For those that do not know, the Buffalo Zoo has 2 polar bear cubs this summer.  One was born there and the other was brought there from Alaska after a tragic hunting incident (where its mother was killed).    Words cannot do that afternoon justice as all of us in attendance watched both cubs play with each other, with their toys, swim, scratch, run after birds... it was too adorable.  And the locals must be repeat visitors because "they are getting so big" was repeated over and over again.  
  • After spending most of the afternoon observing polar bear cub behavior, I headed off to view the rest of the zoo where the other animals were also in active moods.  I got to see all sorts of monkeys antagonizing each other (there is a whole butt scratching thing that I have to research now - is it an insult?)  The aviaries were filled with colors pheasants playing in the dirt.  Lions and tigers were calling.  Gorillas were moving about.  Wallabies were hopping.  It was a very active time - one would swear that the animals were competing for attention since the crowds were at the polar bear site.  
  • I rounded out the weekend with a bit of history and headed to the Teddy Roosevelt National Historic Site - the home where Teddy was sworn in as President after William McKinley was shot at the Buffalo Expo. The tour is a historical discussion... and here you learn that Teddy was camping/hunting (doing what he always did) when he got word; he traveled to Buffalo, was told McKinley would be fine, went back only to come back again when he passed away days later.,.. I shot in the gut will do it to you in any time period.  And as the tour walked you though some of the key issues of the day - immigration, labor laws, women's rights, civil rights, the titans of industry controlling everything - you were left shaking your head on how these issues have not changed.  Have we not learned from history?  Have we forgotten our history?  Do we think that we know better now?  Or will these issues haunt our society for all of its existence?

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