Summer fun 4 families: Nature

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Zoo is a popular attraction for families, especially in the summer, and you can enroll your children in one of the Zoo’s summer camps for a hands-on learning experience.

The Zoo offers programming for children from 5-years-old, up to 17-years-old.

The Summer Camps run for seven weeks starting July 7. You can sign your child up for one week at a time.

Tiffany Vanderwerf is the Curator of Education for the Buffalo Zoo.  She said, “Each week is themed differently, we do have some themes that repeat over the summer, but they’re themed differently and we have all different kinds of activities and crafts and chances to touch animals and use the zoo kind of as their living laboratory for discovery.”

Unlike a general zoo visit, children get to touch many of the animals and interact with them. They might make enrichment items for the gorillas, and then watch to see how the animals react to the items.

For older students between 13 and 17-years-old, there are Zoo Teen Naturalist programs, which are more like internships.  These are geared towards teenagers who are just starting to think about their careers and whether they’d like to pursue a career dealing with zoo animals. These programs all fill up quickly, so it’s important to apply as soon as possible. 

Camps for 5 to 12-year-olds cost $180 for a non-member, $162 for members.

Camps for 13 and 14-year-olds cost around $300 with discounts for members.

Camps for 15 to 1-year-olds cost $335 with discounts for members.

You can find out more about how much these programs cost and how to apply on the Buffalo Zoo website.

The Tifft Nature Preserve is in full bloom over the summer months. There are a number of different trails, wildlife, bird watching, and programs for families and adults, like full moon walks.

Summer Solstice walks and the Insectival! event in July are both popular.

“Insectival is really just exploring insects and their arthropod kin so we have live insect demonstrations for kids using cockroaches and giant millipedes, but also some nature tours throughout the preserve to identify some insects and other bugs,” said Amy Beiber, spokesperson for the Tifft Nature Preserve.

The Aquarium of Niagara takes your nature experience indoors with sea lion shows each day.

There is also a Splash into Summer Street Fair on June 21.

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens has events planned throughout the summer, including special family concerts and shows. The Garden Railway Exhibit is great for children and starts in June, featuring a Thomas the Train and traditional train set-up. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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