Staycation – Griffis Sculpture Park – 08/18/23

Staycation – Griffis Sculpture Park – 08/18/23

It’s “Staycation Destinations” on Family Life

A World War II soldier carried art supplies with him onto battlefields. When he could, he painted to find balance amid the violence around him. After his return home in western New York, Larry Griffis Jr. felt a tug between his budding career running a family business, and fulfilling his inner calling to be an artist. In this Family Life News Feature, you will hear how the choice he made led to an outdoor sculpture museum near East Otto, New York.

The Griffis Sculpture Park offers a unique collection of large steel sculptures, by Griffis and other nationally- and internationally-renown artists. As the founder’s granddaughter Nila Griffis Lampman tells us, this is an incredibly opportune day trip for anyone, but especially for families with young children. Unlike many art museums where young children might be bored (“don’t run…”, “don’t touch…”) this sculpture park encourages young guests to climb on giant animal sculptures and more. It’s all outdoors, with room to walk, play and picnic. Hiking trails connect the 250+ pieces throughout the 450-acre park.

Lampman tells the fascinating story of her grandfather’s life journey, artistic discoveries, and his philosophy on making the results of creative endeavors accessible to children.

Griffis Sculpture Park is in Cattaraugus County, about halfway between Buffalo and Salamanca on Route 219. (The park’s annual Summer Festival is Sunday afternoon, August 20, 2023. Night Lights happen selected weekends in September and October)

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“Staycation Destinations” is our weekly summer series, broadcast each Friday at noon on the radio and online, then posted to our News Podcasts page. Each offers a radio tour of a unique site in Pennsylvania or New York, close to home, relatively inexpensive, and good for a potential day trip or longer visit.

Each weekend, we also give you a “Sidetrip Suggestion” another place in our two states which stands out in a unique, quirky, or enlivening way.

Eckley Miners’ Village at Weatherly, Pennsylvania, offers a free walking tour (dawn to dusk) where you can stroll into the 19th Century at what was said to the largest concentration of anthracite coal in the world. Historic buildings show what a company town of the era looked like. A state commission oversees the attraction, and a museum and guided tours are scheduled. This is about 25 miles south of Wilkes-Barre, not far from the I-80 / I-81 interchange.

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