One thing is certain, we have to soak up the amazing Buffalo summers before they're gone. There are plenty of things to do, many of them are free.
Don't believe it? Here's a list with a free event each day, all month long. Free. Zip. Nothing. Nil. So don’t go broke savoring the summer, follow our guide to free fun.
Old Falls Street. Games, arts and crafts, and much more. Live music at noon will have your kids dancing the day away. Noon to 5 p.m. Old falls Street, Niagara Falls.
Light show at the grain elevators. This show will stun the kids - and you. The elevators will transform into an artistic lighting installation. Starts at dusk. A good view is from the boardwalk at Canalside or from the Outer Harbor.
Independence Day parade. Celebrate our great nation's independence. In East Aurora, a small-town parade includes firetrucks, floats and huge toys (sponsored by Fisher Price). Starts at 7 p.m. at Main and Riley streets. aurorarec.com
Independence Day celebrations. From Niagara Falls to Canalside and just about every town in between. You can take your pick of spectacular fireworks that will light up the sky.
Canalside kids discover series. Learn and play as Canalside helps kids discover something new. Each week they'll team up with the Buffalo Museum of Science for a different discovery. 1 to 3 p.m. Canalside Beach. canalsidebuffalo.com
Make a difference at Beaver Meadow. Volunteering at Beaver Meadow (1610 Welch Road, North Java) is a great way to teach kids about community involvement and an even better way to get them outside to make memories together. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 457-3228.
Sing along for summer. Join Miss Kathy at Barnes and Noble (McKinley Mall) for a fun sing-along at the center stage in the children’s department. 10:30 a.m. at the McKinley Mall Barnes and Noble (3701 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg). barnesandnoble.com
WNY BookFest. Keep your kids reading with a trip to this festival dedicated to printing and the book arts, with free hands-on demos. From noon to 5 p.m. at the WNY Book Arts Center (468 Washington St.). wnybookarts.org/events
Chainsaw Art at Olde Sanborn Days. Your kids will be in awe of The Master of the Chainsaw as he creates a masterpiece with engines screaming, sawdust flying right in front of the crowd. There are plenty of other activities, too, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sanborn Fire Company (5811 Buffalo Road, Sanborn) artcouncil.org
Splash in the summer sun. Oppenheim Park (2713 Niagara Falls Blvd, Wheatfield) is one of the nicest splash parks around and is always free. Restrooms are in the park and there are plenty of swings, a pond and more. You can make a day of it. Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Niagara County Parks
Movies at Canalside. Enjoy a family movie outdoors. Lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; concessions will be available. This week's movie, starting at about 8:30 p.m., is the Disney animated feature "Moana."
Kids Lab at the Foundry. An hour of creativity with arts and crafts for ages 8 and older from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Foundry Buffalo (98 Northampton St.). thefoundrybuffalo.org
Wild animals at the North Buffalo Market. Your kids will love the live animal and nature items they can see and touch. And you can buy some local farm fresh produce. (Holy Spirit parking lot, 1113 Hertel Ave.).
Free Friday at Burchfield Penney Art Center. Give your kids a taste of culture with a visit to the Burchfield (1300 Elmwood Ave.). Noon to 4 p.m. [Related: See photos from the Burchfield's 50th anniversary party]
Williamsville Garden Walk. Pick up a map and passport and check out the beauty of nature and the hard work of residents all in a one-square mile village. You’ll also see fairy gardens and tiny gardens. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the Village of Williamsville (5565 Main St.). walkablewilliamsville.com
It's Canalfest time. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the popular annual event. There's plenty of music, arts and crafts and fun that is free. Rides, food and games are extra. Noon to 11 p.m. Sweeney and Main streets in North Tonawanda/Tonawanda. canalfest.org
Blue Monday in the Gazebo. Pack a cooler, grab the kids and a blanket or lawn chairs and head to Lewiston for some blues with the Rod Nickson Project. Your kids will get a kick out of the music and atmosphere. 7 to 9 p.m. Hennepin Park Gazebo (Fourth and Center streets, Lewiston). artcouncil.org
Downtown Country Market. Your kids can help you pick out local produce, tasty treats and even have some fresh lemonade. You’ll find flowers and plants, too. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Main Street between Court and Church streets. buffaloplace.com/market
Family Nature Hour. Hands-on activities for families to investigate a different nature topic each week. Fun and learning. Reservations required; call 683-5959. 6:30 p.m. at Julia Boyer Reinstein Library (1030 Losson Road, Cheektowaga).
A splash of fun with a touch-tank. The folks at the Niagara Aquarium will bring their tanks to the Elma Public Library (1860 Bowen Road, Elma) at 2 p.m. for loads of fun and learning. Parents and kids can make some new friends. firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Friday at the Buffalo History Museum. Head over to the gorgeous museum and check out new programs, family events (3-4:30 p.m.), entertainment and docent-led tours (1-3 p.m.). Activities are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. One Museum Court. buffalohistory.org
Jewels in the Sky. Now this sounds super cool. It is a guided walk for ebony jewel wings, tiger swallowtails, dragonflies and butterflies at Billy Wilson Park (Hopkins Road, Amherst). Enjoy the beauty of nature and learn about it, too. 10 to 11:30 a.m. Call 683-5959 to register. dec.ny.gov.
Burchfield’s enchanted forest. Enjoy the world of fairies. Kids can check out some tree house creations, live forest creatures and even take part in an enchanted treasure hunt. There is sure to be plenty of magic and fun from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Burchfield Nature Center (2001 Union Road, West Seneca).
A day of beauty at Niagara Falls. Head on over to the nation's oldest State Park for a hike and nature in all its glory. Dawn to dusk. niagarafallsstatepark.com
Buffalo City Hall Tour. Yes, it's summer - but kids can still learn. Here's a great lesson in history and more with this free guided walking tour (no reservations required). Tour usually includes the Council Chambers, Mayor's Office and that gorgeous view at the Observation Deck. Noon daily (Monday through Friday). preservationbuffaloniagara.org
GreenFields Summer Concert Series. Your kids will have a ball checking out the amazing sounds of the Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra. 6:30 p.m. GreenFields Gazebo (5949 Broadway, Lancaster).
Sights and sounds of nature. Drop by Tifft Nature Preserve and enjoy the fresh air and the sights and sounds of the season with a healthy outdoor walk on beautiful and accessible trails. 10 a.m. to noon. Tifft Nature Preserve (1200 Fuhrmann Blvd.).
What: Waterfront fun for the whole family. Head to Wilkeson Pointe at Buffalo's Outer Harbor for the day. You'll find live music, great walking andbiking trails, a beachfront area with plenty of sand to dig in and outdoor games. The outer harbor is so much fun and oh so beautiful. Be sure to bring a picnic and blanket. outerharborbuffalo.com
Flix Free Family Film Series. This free summer-long series continues at 10 a.m. with the animated comedy "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2" at Dipson Flix Stadium 10 (4901 Transit Road, Lancaster).
Garden Walk Buffalo. Bring your kids along on a self-guided tour some of the most beautiful gardens in Buffalo - more than 400 in all. My kids love looking at the gorgeous flowers along the way. It's a great lesson on caring for your home, garden, yard and community. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Explore nature and all its glory. Reinstein Woods is a stunning preserve that is home a large variety of wildlife. Take your kids on a hike and soak up the sights and sounds of nature at the preserve (93 Honorine Drive, Depew). Open from dawn to dusk.