Explore Old Fort Niagara This Season
When you hear the word “museum,” what comes to mind? Do you think of paintings and sculptures in the Albright Knox? Maybe dinosaur bones in the Buffalo Museum of Science? Or how about all the exhibits at the Buffalo History Museum? Buffalo Niagara features so many fun and exciting places where you can learn about the past, present and future. And while we are on the subject, we cannot talk about museums in our area without recognizing the well -respected senior, with a rich history that spans over 300 years – the formidable Old Fort Niagara.
The Red Coats are coming to Old Fort Niagara
Visiting Old Fort Niagara
Visiting Old Fort Niagara is like stepping through a portal into the past. The impressive stone buildings, the rolling fields, the old canons, and the trappings of a time long ago will inspire the imagination and engage the senses. The journey begins in the Visitor Center, where guests have the opportunity to watch an award-winning orientation film as well as look at exhibits that contain original artifacts. Then inside the fort, history comes to life.
During the summer, Old Fort Niagara is bursting with living history. These warm days are filled with guided tours of original buildings, musket and artillery firings, and demonstrations of Native American life, blacksmithing, 18th century laundry, cooking, and soldier life- not to mention stunning views of the Niagara River. There are special events, such as the War of 1812 Encampment, the American Revolution on the New York Frontier, and a performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra which concludes with a lively fireworks display. In August, Soldiers of the Revolution takes place and provides battle reenactments, hands-on activities for the whole family, period music and games. And we cannot forget to mention the fort’s largest annual event, the French and Indian War Encampment, which also features battle reenactments, as well as large living history camps and old-timey vendors who sell period clothes, old-fashioned candy, and other historically-inspired merchandise.
Old Fort Niagara is a great place to explore
Take a trip back in time at the Fort
Even during the off-season, there is an unmistakable charm to the old fort. As guests wander through the premises at their own pace on a self-guided tour, they will feel the weight of the silence. One can almost hear the echoes of the past reverberating off the stone walls and across the open fields. If you close your eyes, you can almost see them – the Native Americans, the French, the British, and the American soldiers all struggling to take control of the land. During the colder months, there are still plenty of special events for the whole family. Frontier Days in October, which are catered to 4th through 7th graders and also open to the public, will educate kids on the American Revolution. French Heritage Days are in November, and in December the 1726 French Castle will be lit entirely by candlelight while historical figures share their tales of the past.
Work Up an Appetite
Walking around Old Fort Niagara is guaranteed to work up an appetite, so be sure to grab lunch at the fort’s Log Cabin. Open from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Log Cabin features grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, italian sausages, chicken sandwiches, cold cuts, tuna salad, pizza, garden salad, homemade soups, snack foods, drinks, and ice cream. Both cash and credit cards are accepted.
Bring Something Home
When you are done filling your stomach with good food and you have seen every corner of the old fort, be sure to take a look in the museum’s gift shop. Here you will find books, collectibles, souvenirs, clothes, toys, dishes, jewelry, colonial reproductions and more. If you are in search of a unique gift (maybe even for yourself!) the museum offers some great options.
Ready, Aim, Fire!
Check Out Our Famous Fort
Whether you are a history buff or you are looking to cross another Buffalo Niagara museum off your bucket list, be sure to check out Old Fort Niagara. Between the history lessons, breathtaking views, exercise, hands-on fun, and tasty food, this richly satisfying experience is one that you and your family will not soon forget.
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during July and August, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from September until June. Closed New Years Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Admission is $13/Adult, $9 for Children ages 6 to 12, and Free for Children 5 and under. Annual and lifetime memberships are available. The Fort Niagara Lighthouse is free and open from July 13th until October 14th. A Virtual Tour of the fort, a hi-definition live streaming webcam of the lighthouse, calendar of events, educational opportunities, volunteer information, fort history, daily programs, and other details are available here.