2022 Best of Lake Erie: Fun for All Ages
Experience exciting adventures in Michigan and New York.
Step Back in Time: Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve
It’s easy to see why New York’s Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve is considered to be a global geological treasure that attracts 18,000 visitors annually. In 2018, it claimed the Guinness World Record for Largest Fossil Dig. Collectors can take a guided tour and keep what they find at the 54-acre park, where they’re invited to search for trilobites, brachiopods and crinoids from the Devonian Period that date back 380 million years. Trained staff and volunteers help explorers locate and identify the fossils.
“Because we’re at the site of a former cement quarry, the fossils are right at the surface,” says Catherine Konieczny, the park’s director of science. “The best tool to use in discovering them is your eyes.”
Blasdell, New York, 716-627-4560, penndixie.org
Animal Magnetism: Calder Dairy Farm
For 76 years, Calder Dairy has been providing dairy products to families throughout southeastern Michigan via old-fashioned home delivery and local grocery stores. The dairy’s farm in Carleton offers visitors the chance to see firsthand what farm life is like. They can watch cows being milked every day at 4 p.m.; feed ducks, geese and goats; visit donkeys, sheep and baby calves; and enjoy a peaceful moment or two at the pond.
A bowl of ice cream made with the farm’s fresh milk in 34 scrumptious flavors, including Holstein Paradise and Blue Moo, makes the trip complete.
“We hope that offering visitors the opportunity to visit a real working farm helps bridge the gap between suburbia and agriculture,” says manager Nicola Noble. “This is a great low-key outing for young and old alike.”
Carleton, Michigan, 734-654-2622, calderdairy.com
Voyage of Discovery: Buffalo Museum of Science
Budding researchers can test their know-how and learn something new at the Buffalo Museum of Science. See a bird egg that’s bigger than one laid by a dinosaur and a hive big enough to house 80,000 bees. Experience a storm which raged for hundreds of years. Meet what appears to be a mermaid, and watch a pendulum that tracks the earth’s movement.
Designed for children, the museum’s multi-sensory SensERIE space features activities with a Lake Erie twist — including what it’s like to plunge into the lake inside a 16-foot research submarine and redesign Buffalo’s iconic skyline — and create illuminated art with a larger-than-life light board.
Buffalo, New York, 716-896-5200, sciencebuff.org