The Buffalo Zoo is nestled inside famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park, and across the street from the delightful Parkside neighborhood, which he also designed. Visitors can park in the Zoo’s lot right off Parkside Avenue, or find a spot on one of Parkside’s lovely, curved streets, lined with early Twentieth Century homes, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnificent Darwin Martin House (a visit for another day). From there it is a short, beautiful, and architecturally significant walk to the zoo entrance.
At a modest 23 Acres the Buffalo Zoo offers a pleasant, walkable experience and an opportunity to experience many animal habitats without exhausting children or parents. Little ones can also enjoy a carousel ride or train ride, play for a while on the small playground, or dig in the giant sandbox known as the “Bone Zone.”
But it’s the animals who are the stars of the show. Several exhibits provide windows into the underwater worlds of sea lions, otters, and polar bears. Smaller animal such as meerkats are as delightful to watch as the family of lions sunning themselves in their expansive habitat. Very small children will delight in in the heritage farm children’s zoo, where they can visit sheep, goats and a moocow. The family of gorillas is always a treat to spend time with, and of course you should visit the bison exhibit and tip your hat to the shaggy behemoths who are the symbol of our city.
After a busy morning, or before a busy afternoon, cross Parkside Avenue and get lunch at the Park Meadow restaurant, where you’ll find a remarkable collection of Buffalo themed memorabilia. Or grab a latte and a muffin (and a hot chocolate for the kids) at JAM coffee shop. Parkside is also home to the Buffalo Seamery, Fairy Cakes bakery, and Alice, Ever After books, a delightful children’s bookstore which makes a great end to a busy outing with the kids.