Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: On the Buffalo River; the northeast end of Lake Erie; City of Buffalo; Erie County; New York.

Maps: Google mapBing Maps (Bird’s-eye)Multi-map (topo)Interactive map

GPS: Entrance: N 42.87774 / W 78.87948
Entrance to parking (at the Erie Basin Marina): N 42.87935 / W 78.88764
Restaurant / Gift Shop / Tickets: N 42.87752 / W 78.87959
Veteran’s Memorial: N 42.87847 / W 78.88231

Directions: From Buffalo: Take Elmwood Ave south. It becomes Lower Terrace. Make a right on Erie St. At the river, Marine Dr. runs into it. The Military Park and Veteran’s are off of Marine Dr, but we recommend continuing down to the Erie Basin Marina for parking.

From Erie/Dunkirk (south): You can follow Rt 5 (Lakeshore Rd) north into Buffalo and over the Buffalo Skyway. Take the exit toward Seneca St. Follow signs for Pearl St and merge onto Pearl St. Continue onto Commercial St. Turn right onto Marine Dr. The Military Park and Veteran’s are off of Marine Dr, but we recommend continuing down Erie St to the Erie Basin Marina for parking.

Use Google Directions.

Parking: Parking is available along Marine St and Erie St, as well as many other waterfront streets in the area, and pay parking lots are scattered about the underside of the Buffalo Skyway. But we recommend heading past this area of the waterfront and going to the free public lot at the Erie Basin Marina off of Erie St.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Latest Buffalo, New York, weather conditions and forecastSeasons/Hours: You can walk along the Buffalo River and see the ships and vehicles from there all day/night. The gift shop, tours, and close up access to the ships is seasonal:

April – October
Open Daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

November
Saturday & Sunday and the Friday after Thanksgiving 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

December – March
Closed

Admission: It’s free to walk along the Buffalo River parallel to Marine Drive and from here you can visit Veterans Park and see the exteriors of the three ships and some vehicles on display in a fenced off area.

Admission gets you access to the Museum exhibit halls, fenced-off areas and you get to board the three ships.

Adult (17+): $10.00
Child (6-16): $6.00
Senior (60+): $6.00

Best time to visit: Summer.

Time: A walk around Veterans Park and along the river would take about 40 minutes if you head all the way up to the Erie Basin Marina. Touring the museum and ships can take another hour or two.

Handicap accessibility: The sidewalk along the Buffalo River is. Museum shop and indoor exhibits are. The ships are not.

Pets: No pets allowed in the museum at all.

Swimming: Not allowed.

Boat launch: A launch is available at the Erie Basin Marina.

Accommodations: Restrooms; restaurant; historic information; tours; gift shop; military artifacts.

Contact Information

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
One Naval Park Cove
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 847-1773
info@buffalonavalpark.org

Description

Submarine, Cruiser, DestroyerThe Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military park is a riverfront park along the Buffalo River in the City of Buffalo. For a reasonable admission cost, you can gain entry to the indoor exhibits of military artifacts, visit the showcase of decommissioned land and air vehicles, and best of all, go aboard and explore the three giant WWII-era ships docked within the river.

The USS Little Rock is a Cleveland-class cruiser, converted to a guided missile cruiser. At 610 feet long, it is the largest ship in the collection.  It has two Mk II Talos missile launchers, three 6-inch guns, two 5-inch/38 caliber guns, and would have a complement of 1,395 enlisted and officers.

The USS The Sullivans is a 376 feet long Fletcher-class destroyer, named for five brothers who lost their lives in the Battle of the Solomon Islands when their ship was sunk by the Japanese. It has four 5-inch/38 caliber guns, one 3-inch/50 caliber gun, two twin-40 mm guns, depth charges, and a complement of 290 enlisted men and 20 officers.

The USS Croaker, a 311 ft long Gato Class submarine, claimed 11 Japanese vessels during WWII. It carried eight Mk-44 torpedo tubes, 74 enlisted men and 7 officers.

Although the museum is dominated by these three massive ships, it also features other decommissioned military vehicles, such as the X-Ron 1 Rotorcycle Helicopter, M-41 Tank, M-84 Armored Personnel Carrier, UH-1 “Huey” Helicopter, F-101F Voodoo Fighter Interceptor Jet, PTF-17 Patrol Boat, FJ-4B Fury Jet, and P-39 Airacobra. Indoor exhibits include a history of the US Marine Corp, a spotlight on contributions of African-Americans in the US military, women in the military, models of military aircraft (WWII to Present), and many others.

Buffalo Naval and Military Park

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: Our recommended loop is just under a mile and does not require paid admission to the museum.

Markings: Paved walkways and wooden boardwalks.

Description: Start from the black Submarine Sail (at the corner of Marine and Pearl) and instead of heading towards the Buffalo River/ships, go northwest into Veterans Park. Traverse the winding pathway of Veterans Park stopping to see the monuments along the way. The final monument is at an open boardwalk near Erie Street. From here you can look back along the river and see the 3 naval vessels facing your way. This is a great place for photos.

Head along the river towards the ships. Boarding them requires paid admission, which you can obtain from the gift shop in the brick building up ahead. At the brick building, turn and head east back towards the black Submarine Sail. Feel free to stop in the building to visit the gift shop or hit up the independent restaurant. Turn right after the building and cross the bridge. You can walk along the boardwalk here and loop back to where you started.

Map: Click here

Buffalo Naval & Veterans Park Interactive Map

Drag the map or click the arrows to move around and use the +/- to zoom in or out. Click on the icons for more information. This map is not accurate. Caution and common sense should be used when hiking.

View Naval & Military Park – Buffalo in a larger map

History

USS Little RockIn the city’s early years this area was filled with commercial slips, warehouses, and grain elevators. Many of those were gone by the onset of WWII.

Construction began on what was formerly known as the Buffalo Naval and Servicemen’s Park in 1977 and it opened to the public on July 4, 1979, upon opening the USS Little Rock, a cruiser commissioned in 1945, and the USS The Sullivans, a destroyer commissioned in 1943 and served WWII in the Pacific.

The USS Croaker, a submarine commissioned in 1944 and served through the pacific in WWII, was added to the park in 1988. The ships were moved slightly east in 2003 when construction on the new waterfront began. New boardwalks, a new museum building, with restaurant space, and historic signage were all put in in recent years.

Interesting Stuff

Erie Basin Marina & Gardens

Along the mouth of the Buffalo River to Lake Erie, this waterfront park wraps around a full-service marina and ends with a tower that has amazing views of the city and waterfront. There are historic markers, restaurants, ice cream, art displays, and beautiful gardens.

Photography Tips

Ships

  • Take wide shots from down the river further.
  • Take close up shots, and zoom in tight to remove the context of the Buffalo Harbor from the ships.
  • When shooting inside the ships, light is minimal. Set your ISO to 800 or higher for a faster shutter speed and less blur. They don’t allow tripods in the museum, so shooting handheld is all you can do.

More tips

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