Buffalo with Kids: A Perfect Family Day
The most important meal of the day is always more fun on family vacations. In Buffalo, start it off right by visiting a legendary mainstay: The Original Pancake House. There are more than a dozen different types of pancakes on offer, including signature favorites such as the apple pancake – one massive pancake slathered with sautéed apples and cinnamon sugar glaze. Not into the idea of pumping the kids full of sugar from the get-go? The Original also serves up a full menu of morning staples such as omelets, hot and cold cereals and breakfast meats.
Insider tip: The Old Pancake House opens at 6:45AM, but doesn't take reservations on weekends. Get there early if you don't want to wait.
The Original Pancake House
5479 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
Sun-Thu 6:45AM-8PM, Fri & Sat 6:45AM-9PM
Now that you're all fueled up, take the Kensington Expressway over to the Buffalo Zoo, one of the best things to do while on family vacations in Buffalo. With kids, however, don't just settle for walking the grounds. Be sure to sign up for one of the zoo's two-hour Wild Workshop sessions like "Zoo's Clues" or "Behind the Scenes." The latter is both interactive and hands-on, offering your family the chance to go behind the closed doors of the exhibits to learn about the daily routine of the animals. Zoo admission is included in the price of the $20-per-person workshops.
Insider tip: Some Wild Workshop sessions fill up quickly and/or have age restrictions. Be sure to check the website or contact the zoo to discuss the best program for your trip.
300 Parkside Ave
Buffalo, NY 14214
Jul-Aug: Daily 10AM-5PM; Sep-Jun: Daily 10AM-4PM
Adults $9.50, children $6
You've probably worked up an appetite playing zookeeper, so it's time to head down the road to Anchor Bar, home of the original Buffalo chicken wing. This award-winning Buffalo institution has been around since 1964, and serves up wings in orders of 10, 20 or 50, any way you want 'em – mild, medium, hot, barbecued, or "suicidal." Kids have their own menu, which includes hot dogs, chicken fingers and, of course, a child-sized serving of the Anchor's famous wings.
1047 Main St
Buffalo, NY 14209
Mon-Thu 11AM-10PM, Fri 11AM-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-10PM
During the summer, one of the best things to do in Buffalo with kids is to take a Pirate Adventure cruise on the Spirit of Buffalo, a 73-foot coastal sailing vessel. These hour-and-a-half weekend excursions set sail with a crew of professional pirates, and are packed with stories, face-painting and treasure hunts.
Spirit of Buffalo
1 Naval Park Cove
Buffalo, NY 14202
Sat & Sun 9AM-10:30AM, 11AM-12:30PM, 1PM-2:30PM; Mon-Fri: Call for trip times, reservations and availability
Adults $23, children 12 & under $19
If you're brave enough to visit Buffalo with kids in the winter, take the family on a snowy toboggan run at Chestnut Ridge Park. Newly reconstructed, the chutes are open to the public on Friday nights, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Chestnut Ridge Park
6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd
Orchard Park, NY 14127
Fri 4PM-8PM, Sat-Sun and holidays 10AM-4PM
When you're finished hitting the high seas or thrill riding at the park, head downtown to Italian restaurant Chef's. Family travel to Buffalo wouldn't be complete without a visit to this historic spot, which opened in 1923. In addition to menu favorites such as fried ravioli, eggplant Parmesan and rigatoni, Chef's also serves up daily specials, which may include stuffed shells, linguini calamari and veal scallopini with spaghetti.
291 Seneca St
Buffalo, NY 14204
Before heading back to the hotel, walk off your dinner with a stroll around the area. Adults can enjoy Buffalo's ornate architecture, while the kids can make a game out of spotting the various buffaloes painted around town.
While this action-packed day of family adventure in Buffalo is sure to leave everyone exhausted, we guarantee you'll have a bounty of great memories and photos – and maybe even a newfound soft spot for Buffalo – to take home.