Discover ASP All Over Again!

If you’ve been to Allegany State Park, you know how lucky we are to have such a great resource, right in our backyard. But guess what? ASP is better than ever! This was a busy year for the park. New construction and structures enhance the picturesque landscape. There’s been a change up in some of the dining options along with an awesome patio addition to the Red House Administration Building. ASP still delivers top-notch educational and recreational programs with a variety of new ones. There are two museums for the history and nature buffs, both receiving some facelifts. There is so much new stuff to discover, you’ll be planning your next trip back before you leave!

My 10-year-old loves to explore and learn. If you like to participate in hands-on events with your friends and family, then you have to take advantage of the great education and recreation programs the park offers. Every week starting June 27 through Labor Day, ASP has a program for everyone, no matter how many birthdays you’ve had. The Interpretive Hike Series will feature a different subject every week. Do you like birds, survival, history, hiking, campfire cooking, tying knots, trees, fishing orienteering, kayaking or just plain being outside?  There is something for you at ASP. How about fire flies? Did you know there are 16 species of fire flies at ASP? The park offers a fire fly program to learn all about them. One of my friends who works at the park actually found the first recorded Synchronous Firefly in the park. They normally like to hang further south but have been making their way north the last few years. A number of years ago a tornado ripped through a section of the park. Join us for “Blow Down, 20 Years Later” and learn more about the weather, trees and what effect it has had.

For your Red House dining pleasure, check out the new patio addition at the Administration Building. Capture your next background photo with the breathtaking view of the lake. They did a great job with the details and it has the potential to be a cozy favorite of park visitors. The custom concrete and table & chair selection fits right in with the nostalgic old landmark. They offer Friday fish fry’s and weekly specials. The menu has a variety of choices including garden burgers, salads and hearty entrees like baby back ribs. The Sunday breakfast buffet will give you a reason not to sleep in. Call the park at 716-354-9121 for current hours and information.

The big buzz over on the Quaker side of the park is the new bath house. The original bath house was built in 1970 but was torn down last fall. This new structure has lots of upgraded features to accommodate all sorts of activities for visitors. There are open rooms that will be used for staff training, events, lectures and more. If you’d like to host a wedding or other special event, there’s a new room for that as well.  Dina’s of Ellicottville will be utilizing the new large kitchen to provide dining options for special events and parties. Call the park rental office for more info and reservations.

If you’re looking for your standard beach food, a new snack bar will have all your favorites. New restroom facilities have been added including two separate family bathrooms. Three exterior showers are now available for a quick rinse-off. After a long day at the beach, take a load off in the seating area. If your youngsters still have gas in the tank, let them loose on the updated playground. Also be sure to visit the museum and gift shop. Both received some much needed repairs and upgrades. The new roof on the museum is protecting lots of historical items and information. The volunteer curator I spoke with, who is there six days a week, says the museum is his favorite part of the park.

Looking “fore” something to test your skills? You won’t need any expensive clubs to play the new experimental soccer golf course in the Quaker area. Soccer golf is popular in Europe and is starting to catch some steam here in the U.S.  The 9-hole course will have a mix of actual soccer ball sized cups and pop-up targets.  The targeted startup date is sometime in early July.

If you’re looking to try paddling, you can rent SUP’s, kayaks, canoes and row boats at the rental shop. (PFD’s are included.) Are you more of a landlubber? The rental shop also has bikes and helmets for those looking to explore the park on two wheels. The roads, paths and trails have seen bicycle traffic for many years. If you’re a bike nut and have the right bike, you can join the Tuesday Bicycle Cruise. Your bike must have a basket for collecting, a horn or bell, a flag and lastly has to weigh approximately 35 lbs. or more. This family friendly, mellow ride will have new routes every week. Get your machine ready by July 5 so you can take part in the inaugural ride.

Do yourself a favor and plan a trip to Allegany State Park this summer. It’s not just for camping anymore. ASP is close enough and offers so many great amenities that make it perfect for day trips. The next time you find yourself wondering what to do for the day, check out ASP.

For more information on the park and current events go to nysparks.com or better yet, call one of the great folks at the park: 716-354-9121.

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