State parks offer a colorful mix of autumn events - The Buffalo News
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State parks offer a colorful mix of autumn events

Gather the kids and head to Whirlpool State Park in Niagara Falls on Saturday for a Family Fun Day and Parade – just one of many special free events created by local state parks interpreters this fall.

Children are invited to make fall-related crafts and an instrument for a parade while learning about the trees and birds of the Niagara Gorge. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the parade planned for 2.

“This is something new,” said Carol Rogers, of the Niagara Frontier Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “It’s nice to have some of the same programs (as offered before) but to add something new, too.”

• Next Sunday, state parks interpreters will offer “Niagara Falls – Facts, Figures and Fun” from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in Niagara Falls State Park. This walk will feature stories, statistics and miscellaneous information about the falls.

• Also next Sunday, “Christmas at the Lighthouse” will be presented from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse in Golden Hill State Park, Barker. Admission is free, but the event serves as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse, who are dedicated to restoring and preserving the 1875 icon. Lighthouse tours, a chicken barbecue, basket auction, visits with Santa and offerings from local wineries will be featured.

• Put your hiking shoes on for the next event, an “Autumn Air Gorge Hike” on Oct. 19 in Whirlpool State Park. The hike will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. and invites participants to take in the sights, sounds and fragrances of the changing seasons in the Niagara Gorge.

• “Contemplation at the Oldest State Park in the Nation” is the title of the program on Oct. 20 in Niagara Falls State Park, to be held from 1 to 3 p.m.

The program focuses on park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape architecture, and his view that a visit to this park should be leisurely and thoughtful. It will include a stroll around Goat Island.

“This sounds like a nice thing to do on a Sunday, and it sounds very nourishing and relaxing,” said Rogers.

• The parks staff will be on hand at the Halloween Spooktacular from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at the New York Power Authority’s visitor center, where children can make a Halloween craft.

• The Great Gorge Route will be the topic from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in Niagara Falls State Park.

“This is a moderate hike,” said Rogers. “The trail has been opened up and improved, and is really nice. We’ll be down in the gorge, beyond the flats to the end of the trail and back.”

• Hikers are asked to revisit the “Gorge at Low Water” from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in Whirlpool State Park, after the volume of water in the Niagara River is reduced by 25 percent (diverted for hydroelectric power).

“We can get out on the rocks that are exposed – all weather permitting, of course,” said Rogers. “It’s a lot of fun. It is challenging because we do climb over boulders, and everyone should bring a lunch. This is probably our most difficult walk. People definitely have to call and register for this one so we have a head count.”

The same hike is repeated from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in Whirlpool State Park.

• Enjoy a “Full Moon Adventure” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17 in Wilson Tuscarora State Park. Night ecology, moon lore, history and the magic of nature at night will be the topics, followed by a short walk through the woods under moonlit skies.

For more information or to register for any of these programs, call 282-5154.

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