OC Attractions

“Something for nearly everyone.”

That is how Finger Lakes Visitor Connection partner and community relations manager Melissa Knoblauch describes the springtime offerings for the 110,000 residents in Ontario County.

“We absolutely think that, depending on the season you can find just about everything you’d want here,” Knoblauch says.

Twelve years ago, the magazine The Progressive Farmer declared Ontario County as the top place to live in the U.S., and considering both the indoor and outdoor activities available to people of all ages, one would be hard-pressed to dispute that claim today.

When spring rolls around, many residents take to the 119 miles of hiking trails in Ontario County.

“Hiking is very popular because all you need are some warm clothes and waterproof boots,” Knoblauch says. “It may be one of the most popular springtime activities here.”

Topping Knoblauch’s list of spots is the Victor Hiking Trails. With 30 miles of trails ranging from woodland areas to walks along the stream, hikers of all skill levels will find something to their liking.

“The Victor Hiking Trails are a great resource,” she says. “Experienced hikers can explore them all while novice hikers can go out on some of the flatter trails or join in on a guided tour.”

Visit VictorHikingTrails.org for the complete list of dates and times for all upcoming guided tours. Knoblauch also suggests hikers check out the trail first to get a better understanding of the difficulty factor. Volunteers maintain the trails in Victor, but pathways may be snow-covered or muddy in the spring, so hikers should be prepared to potentially face a few obstacles.

One trail that should not pose much difficulty for hikers is the MaryFrances Bluebird Haven, 235 County Road 9 in Victor. A must-do, the 39-acre park boasts a one-mile trail that takes visitors through open fields, wooded areas and along a pond while offering glimpses of bluebirds in their natural habitat.

Those who would rather pedal than hoof it will find 90 miles of bicycle trails in Ontario County. Mountain biking is extremely popular, but so is fat tire biking, a relatively new activity in which the rider is on a bike with tires approximately five inches thick. The wider tires are ideal when traversing through snow or mud — two obstacles bikers can expect to encounter in the spring. Fat tire bikes are also well-suited for use on sand, so cyclists can use them on beaches during the summer.

“It’s really a different type of ride,” Knoblauch says of fat tire biking. “It’s a heavier bike and you use more muscles and need greater endurance.”

Bicyclists will find plenty of bliss on the 10-plus miles of trails at Dryer Road Park, 7405 Dryer Road in Victor. The 132-acre park has trails for both beginners and experts. The more experienced off-road bikers will especially enjoy the jumps and rails at the park, Knoblauch says. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are two other favorite activities at the park, which was dedicated in 2004.

When Knoblauch says Ontario County had “something for everyone” she really isn’t kidding. Case and point is a 200-acre farm in Bloomfield that is home to dozens of alpacas. Yes, these furry animals, relatives to llamas, can be found at Lazy Acre Alpacas, 8830 Baker Road.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Knoblauch says. “There is a great farm tour to take and then there are the alpacas, they are really just the sweetest animals.”

Early spring is the perfect time to visit Lazy Acre because the alpacas still have their winter coats.

“They look just like teddy bears,” she says.

Adults who take the tour will learn many interesting facts; for example, alpaca fleece is seven times warmer than wool. And children will have a blast getting to pet the gentle and curious animals.

“It’s one of my favorite places,” she says. “It’s family friendly and perfect for all ages.”

For spring days when the weather won’t cooperate, Knoblauch suggests a trip to the Roseland Bowl Family Fun Center, 4357 Recreation Drive in Canandaigua. While bowling won’t burn the same calories as mountain biking, it’s hard to beat an afternoon on the alley.

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Roseland Bowl Family Fun Center offers more than 30 lane, VIP lanes, arcade games, bumper cars and a laser tag arena.

As the name suggests, Roseland Bowl Family Fun Center is much more than a bowling alley. Bowling may take top billing — there are nearly three dozen lanes plus another eight VIP alleys — but guests will also find arcade games, bumper cars and a laser tag arena. Those looking to deviate from standard bowling will want to give atomic bowling a try. With a laser show and today’s top hits playing on the sound system, atomic bowling is a fun activity with family or friends.

For those who would prefer to exercise their minds, Knoblauch has two suggestions: the Seneca Art & Culture Center and the Antique Wireless Association Museum.

Located at 7000 Count Road in Victor, the Seneca Art & Culture Center is a permanent, year-round facility sharing the story of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee contributions to art, culture and society for the past 2,000 years. One of the culture center’s main attractions is an on-site bark longhouse that is open May 1 thriugh Oct. 31 and provides visitors a glimpse of the Haudenosaunee life and culture.

“(The Seneca Art & Culture Center) is a wonderful place to go and very educational,” Knoblauch says. “The kids really seem to enjoy all of the artifacts on display.”

A short, eight-to-10-minute drive away is the Antique Wireless Association Museum. With a mission “to collect, research, restore and preserve objects of historical significance to the technology of communications and entertainment,” the AWA houses a number of radios, telephones and radio-related literature and manuals.

Highlights of the AWA’s collection include an exact replica of the Titanic’s wireless room, an early model cell phone and two working Tesla coils that a museum guide will demonstrate for guests. The museum is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesdays and 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

For information on these attractions and others in Ontario County, visit VisitFingerLakes.com.