Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Group Tour magazine will continue to provide group travel inspiration. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information.

This year Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in New York state celebrates 120 years of educating and engaging audiences. The conservatory in South Park opened in 1900. Lord & Burnham, premier U.S. designers of Victorian glass houses at the time, designed the structure. Although the conservatory was based on the famous Crystal Palace in England, the Buffalo structure is different and unique.

Twelve tropical greenhouses full of plants from all over the world are displayed to inspire creativity, incite imaginations and develop an appreciation of the natural world.

Visitors are able to escape to the tropics year-round while marveling at the history and architecture of the historic site, said Erin Grajek, vice president.

Groups have the option of learning more about the gardens by reserving a guided tour at least three weeks in advance with a minimum of 10 participants. Or they can enhance a visit by borrowing a free audio tour device.

“People really enjoy visiting on a rainy or cold day — it helps them ‘get away’ from the Buffalo weather,” Grajek said. “They love when our special exhibits are on display with so many poinsettias during the holiday season, or the smells of so many bulbs in spring and we just can’t wait to get growing again. Visitors also love learning about our celebrity plants; Morty, Fester and Morticia, the corpse flowers, which rotate on display when they are in leaf, flower or off display when in dormancy.”

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo, N.Y.
Credit: Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

A visit to Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is enhanced by a one-hour tour through the indoor space with a knowledgeable tour guide docent who will go over the highlights, share stories and anecdotes and be able to answer questions from group members. “You might get to see things on a guided tour you’d otherwise not notice,” Grajek said.

Grajek noted the gardens offer lots to do and see through all the seasons of the year.

“We hope groups gain a love and appreciation of how cool plants are, as well as a sense of pride for having such a unique gem in our own backyard,” Grajek said. “I hope people want to come back and see how different the place looks season to season.”

For more information on Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens call 716-827-1584, ext. 730, or go to buffalogardens.com.