Explore Buffalo announces February tours

Temple Beth Zion and St. Joseph’s Rectory and Cathedral are Explore Buffalo’s featured Spotlight Tours for February. Enjoy the beauty of these spectacular houses of worship while hearing their history and stories. Reservations are required for Spotlight Tours, as space is limited.

For all other walking tours, advance reservations are encouraged but not required. All credit card payments must be made in advance. Advance reservations with a credit card can be made online until the tour starting time. Cash or checks are accepted at the start of the tour. If you make an advance reservation, please print your confirmation email or be prepared to show it on your phone. Most tours are between 90 minutes and two hours in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather!

Winter weather cancellation policy: Tours will be cancelled if there is a Travel Advisory in place in the City of Buffalo. A notification will be sent out to any pre-registered guests at least one hour in advance of any cancellation. In the event of a cancellation, a transfer to a different tour date or a refund will be provided.

FEBRUARY SPOTLIGHT TOUR: TEMPLE BETH ZION
Feb. 10 • 2 p.m.
Meet: Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Parking is available in Temple Beth Zion’s parking lot, entered from Barker Street.
Cost: General $25, Explorer Pass $20

The Temple Beth Zion congregation was founded in 1850, and for many years had its home on Delaware Avenue next to the Twentieth Century Club. Following a devastating fire in 1961, the congregation moved to a new home a few blocks away on Delaware Avenue, which opened in 1966. The new temple was designed by prominent architect Max Abramowitz of Harrison & Abramowitz, who planned both the United Nations Headquarters and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

Temple Beth Zion is one of the most striking houses of worship in Buffalo, with a highly symbolic design that also makes use of unique stained glass. On this tour, discover the symbolism of Temple Beth Zion’s design, and admire the stained glass that will be seen in all its glory during the daytime. Also included on this tour will be the Cofeld Judaic Museum, which documents the history of the Jewish community in Western New York. Space on this tour is limited, and reservations are required. This tour will be approximately two hours in length. Interior photography is allowed.

FEBRUARY SPOTLIGHT TOUR: ST. JOE’S RECTORY & CATHEDRAL
Feb. 21 • 6 & 7:30 p.m.
Meet: Meet at the Franklin Street entrance of the rectory, adjacent to the Cathedral at 50 Franklin St., Buffalo. Street parking is available downtown on surrounding streets and is free after 5 p.m. in downtown Buffalo.
Cost: General $25, Explorer Pass $20

Arriving in Buffalo in 1847 as the first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Bishop John Timon was instrumental in establishing many of the Roman Catholic institutions that continue to serve Western New York. Bishop Timon was responsible for the planning and construction of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, completed in 1855. The Cathedral was designed by Patrick Keely and is an excellent example of Gothic Revival style.

On this intimate after-hours tour of the historic Cathedral complex, Father Chuck Slisz, St. Joseph’s rector, will guide the group through both the Cathedral and the adjoining rectory. The rectory is rarely open to the public, and inside the rectory you will see the original cathedra (bishops’ chair) used by Bishop Timon, a portrait gallery of all of Buffalo’s bishops and more. This unique opportunity to tour inside the Cathedral and rectory is not to be missed! Space on this tour is limited, and reservations are required. This tour will be approximately 90 minutes in length. Interior photography is allowed

INSIDE DOWNTOWN – SOUTH
Feb. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24 • 10:30 a.m.
Meet: Buffalo Harbor Museum at 66 Erie St., near the corner of Franklin and Swan streets (Erie Street has been converted into a park). Street parking in downtown Buffalo is free on weekends. Private paid parking lots do require payment on weekends. The nearest Metro Rail stop is the Swan Street station, approximately two blocks away.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join Explore Buffalo for a winter tour of downtown landmarks, focusing on interior spaces to stay warm! This tour covers a variety of architectural styles and successful adaptive reuses of buildings in the southern part of downtown Buffalo. Buildings featured on this tour include St. Joseph’s and St. Paul’s Cathedrals, the Ellicott Square Building and Old Post Office. There are short outdoor walks to get from building to building, with the tour designed to allow tour takers to spend most of the time indoors.

INSIDE DOWNTOWN – NORTH
Feb. 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28 • 10:30 a.m.
Meet: Spot Coffee at 227 Delaware Ave., at the corner of Chippewa Street. Two-hour metered parking is available on Delaware Avenue and other nearby streets, or private parking lots are available – the closest is on Delaware Avenue next to Spot Coffee. The nearest MetroRail station, Fountain Plaza, is three blocks away.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join Explore Buffalo for a winter tour of downtown landmarks, focusing on interior spaces to stay warm! This tour covers a variety of architectural styles and successful adaptive reuses of buildings in the northern part of downtown Buffalo. Buildings featured on this tour include Goldome Bank, Market Arcade and the Electric Tower. There are short outdoor walks to get from building to building, with the tour designed to allow tour takers to spend most of the time indoors.

INSIDE GOLDOME
Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23 • 12 p.m.
Meet: This tour meets inside Goldome Bank, now M&T Fountain Plaza Branch, at One Fountain Plaza, Buffalo. Street parking is available on nearby streets, and the Metro Rail Fountain Plaza station is directly outside the building.
Cost: General: $10, Student: $5, Explorer Pass Free

Goldome Bank is one of Buffalo’s most recognizable landmarks, with its gold-leafed dome glistening in the sun. Built in 1901 as Buffalo Savings Bank, today the building is a branch of M&T Bank. From the Steps to Success at the entrance to the top of the golden finial on the dome, this building was designed to convey an impression of prosperity and stability. Join us for an interior tour of this iconic downtown building, and discover the incredible architectural detail found throughout the interior.

This tour is 45 minutes to one hour in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather! Most of this tour is indoors, but a brief portion of the tour is outside. Cameras are encouraged! Please note there are photography restrictions in certain sections of this tour.

LOOKING UP: DOWNTOWN CEILINGS & SKYLIGHTS
Feb. 2, 16 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Come ready to look up on this downtown walking tour! This tour will reveal the ornate ceilings and skylights found in many buildings throughout downtown Buffalo. While many people walk underneath them on a daily basis, the ceilings of many of Buffalo’s buildings are often their least-noticed feature. Join us on this tour to discover these beautiful works of art, many of which are hiding in plain sight!

INSIDE ST. MARY’S SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
Feb. 7 • 6 p.m.
Meet: This tour meets at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf at 2253 Main St., Buffalo. Enter the driveway from Main Street to use the parking lot which is behind the buildings; the main entrance faces the parking lot and is up a flight of stairs to the right of the bridge that the driveway goes underneath.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass $10

St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, established in Buffalo in 1853 as the first academic school for the deaf in the country, was relocated from Edward Street to its current location on Main Street in 1898. This two-hour walking tour highlights the beautiful architecture of this historic building and offers fascinating information about the history and culture of deaf people in the Buffalo area. The tour also offers a glimpse into the current world of educating deaf and hard of hearing students in the 21st century.

Highlights of the tour include original woodwork from 1898, stained glass windows in the former chapel, the school’s cherished museum which houses a wealth of artifacts and photographs from throughout the decades at St. Mary’s, and a brief meet and greet with a few of the school’s residential students, which comprise approximately 30 percent of the current school population. Join us for a one-of-a-kind tour in one of Buffalo’s iconic buildings!

This tour is approximately two hours in length. The tour is indoors (in good weather, a small amount of the tour may be outside). This tour is approximately two miles of indoor walking within the building. Stairs are typically used, but elevators are available if needed. Tour admission fees are shared with the school to support their museum and archives.

SPEAKER SERIES SESSION 2
Feb. 8 • 7 p.m.
Meet: First Presbyterian Church, One Symphony Circle, Buffalo. Parking is available in the church parking lot and on side streets.
Cost: General $10, Explore Pass Free

Adaptive Reuse & Buffalo

Buffalo is in the midst of a renaissance, and everywhere you look our historic buildings are being repurposed into loft apartments, retail complexes, shopping centers and more. Join us for this talk that will take an in-depth look at the concept of adaptive reuse and the way it’s being employed to reinvigorate Buffalo’s economy.

Re-Imagining Transportation

From water vessels and horses to railroads and streetcars to roads and expressways, Buffalo’s changing passenger transportation system has shaped the city’s form and economic function over the past two centuries. Today, as market demand shifts back to city centers and groundbreaking technology advances, we anticipate profound transformations in public transportation and the auto industry over the next 30 years. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are the newest addition to the growing menu of transportation options in WNY, along with bike share, car share, carpooling, bus, rail, private shuttles, and improved facilities for walking and biking. We’ll discuss the basics of how these services work, and how evolving transportation options could improve mobility and access across our diverse region.

EXPLORERS STORY HOUR
Feb. 10 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Explore Buffalo Learning Center inside First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo at One Symphony Circle, Buffalo. Parking is available in the church parking lot accessible from Pennsylvania Street.
Cost: Child admission free, adult admission $5, Explorer Pass Free

Bring your little ones and join us for a fun-packed Explorers Story Hour! We’ll read a book about architecture, engineering or local history, followed by a STEAM-based craft activity (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). Youngsters are encouraged (but not required) to bring their favorite explorer pal along with them, whether it’s an American Girl doll, a stuffed animal or an action figure. This program is intended for children ages 4 to 8. Parents are required to stay with their children for this program.

CITY OF LIGHT BUS TOUR
Feb. 10, 24 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Buffalo Seminary at 205 Bidwell Parkway. Ample street parking for this tour is available along both sides of Bidwell Parkway.
Cost: General $40, Explorer Pass $35

At the end of the 19th century, Buffalo was a major American city in the forefront of technological progress. It was a busy inland port and a railroad hub with heavy industry and state-of-the-art electricity, all of which brought great wealth to the city. These economic and technological developments culminated in 1901 when Buffalo hosted a spectacular world’s fair: the Pan-American Exposition. Experience Buffalo through the eyes of the narrator of Lauren Belfer’s historical novel, City of Light, which is set in Buffalo at the dawn of the 20th century.

ART OF THE SUBWAY
Feb. 18 • 10 a.m.
Meet: University Metro Rail Station on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. Plentiful free parking is available adjacent to the University Station in the Park-and-Ride parking lot.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Buffalo’s Metro Rail system is an oft-overlooked treasure trove of modern art! Each station features unique artwork by a wide variety of artists, which will be seen on this tour as you travel from one end of the Metro Rail system to the other, getting off at each station along the way.

Metro Rail fare is not included in the tour price and must be purchased separately. This tour is approximately three hours in length and will end in downtown Buffalo, where you may either board an outbound train to return to University Station or stay for lunch before returning.

SPEAKER SERIES SESSION 3
Feb. 22 • 7 p.m.
Meet: First Presbyterian Church, One Symphony Circle, Buffalo. Parking is available in the church parking lot and on side streets.
Cost: General $10, Explorer Pass Free

German Immigrants in Buffalo & Western New York
Buffalo’s history is a story of immigrants. Among the first immigrants were people from the German “states.” In fact, individuals of German heritage comprise the largest immigrant group to settle in the United States as a whole. The nation of Germany as we know it was not established until the completion of the Franco-Prussian War around 1870. The talk covers early immigration prior to this period through the early part of the 20th century. It will also include information about the speaker’s family that came from what is now the Alsace region of France.

Polish & Italian Immigrants in Buffalo & Western New York
Polish and Italian immigrants to this region make up a large part of the fabric of the history of Buffalo. In this talk, the speaker will trace the immigration and settlement of these two ethnic groups in Buffalo through the lens of her own family, who came to this region in the early 1900s. Learn about how immigrants made their way to Buffalo, what the living and working conditions would have been like for them, and the impact they had on the Queen City.

INSIDE TRI-MAIN
Feb. 23 • 2 p.m.
Meet: Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St., Buffalo. Please note the main entrance to the building lobby is on Halbert Street, adjacent to the building’s parking lots.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join us for a tour inside one of Buffalo’s most historic industrial buildings! The Tri-Main Center’s history encompasses four different eras, beginning with Ford in 1915 and continuing through Bell Aircraft and Trico to the present day as a mixed-use facility housing over 100 different companies over six floors and 575,000 square feet. This tour will highlight the past, present and future of this massive building. As we wind our way through the Tri-Main Center, you’ll learn about the building’s history and see some of the current tenants. The tour will end at the Buffalo Arts Studio, which you are welcome to explore on your own as part of their free Fourth Friday event.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit explorebuffalo.org or call (716) 245-3032.

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