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Buffalo-area spots to spend a rainy day on the (relatively) cheap

It may be almost summertime, but no one knows more than Buffalonians that weather doesn’t always follow the rules. If rain and clouds are in the forecast and you’re going stir-crazy at home, check out these spots around town to still have a fun summer day — all for $13 or less.

Buffalo Museum of Science. Is the last time you visited the science museum a field trip with your kid, or even an elementary school outing of your own? You’re long overdue for a dose of its fascinating, interactive and imagination-provoking activities and exhibits.

There are more than 700,000 specimens, from the mighty mastodon to the smallest variety of insect, and entire halls dedicated to space, the human body, mechanics, weather and more. You’ll need more than one visit to take it all in. Admission: $10 to $13.

[Related: Closer Look at Museum of Science | Smiles at Science After Hours]

Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Why is it so easy to forget that Buffalo boasts one of the oldest, most acclaimed art museums in the country? From the classic masters to cutting-edge contemporary works, you’ll find it all.

Save a few more bucks with “Family Fundays,” which admits the whole family for just $5 on the second Sunday of each month, and M&T First Fridays, on which admission to a portion of the museum is completely free on the first Friday of every month. Admission: $6 to $12; ages 5 and younger admitted free.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Just because Mother Nature decides not to cooperate doesn’t mean you can’t still get a dose of the great outdoors.

Explore nearly a dozen different indoor gardens — they include cacti and succulents, bonsai trees and orchids, an immersive Florida Everglades exhibit, and an aquatic garden complete with koi pond. For a few dollars more, enjoy a docent-guided tour for even more information and history. Admission: $6 to $11.

[Related: Lumagination lights up the Gardens | Smiles at Taste of Paradise]

Take in an inexpensive movie at the Dipson McKinley Mall. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)

Dipson McKinley Mall theater. For under $5, you can spend an afternoon at the movies. This theater, located in the rear of the McKinley Mall in Blasdell, boasts some of the comfiest recliner seats in town and shows flicks after their original run time at a greatly reduced ticket price. Visit on Tuesday for half-priced popcorn and fountain drinks. Tickets are $2.50 to $4.

Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. Ah, the library — the best no-cost day out no matter what the weather or time of year. While every local facility has its own individualized programming and unique atmosphere, the Central Library downtown also offers a café, rare books room and special exhibits.

With more than 3.2 million materials (Books! E-books! DVDs! More!) and 37 branches all over Western New York, the BECPL isn’t messing around when it comes to absolutely free, absolutely accessible entertainment.

[Read more: Central Library changes with the times | A Closer Look gallery]

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