Griffis Sculpture Park

6902 Mill Valley Rd
East Otto NY 14729
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Founded in 1966, Griffis Sculpture Park is one of the oldest and largest sculpture parks in the country. Located in located in the 400-acre Ashford Hollow park, approximately 45 minutes south of Buffalo, and eight north of Ellicottville, Sculpture Park is home to over 250 large scale sculptures. The strange and surrealistic pieces are set among a picturesque backdrop of rolling hills, hiking trails, ponds, and forest. The park blurs the lines between viewer and art, encouraging visitors to touch and play on the sculptures. The park is also an arts in education interactive learning environment, meaning that it not only blurs the boundaries between viewer and art, it gives students of all ages a one-of-a-kind experience not found anywhere else. For further information, visit the Griffis Sculpture Park website.

Parking and public transportation at Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park is split into two sections, to the left is Rohr Hill Road and Mill Valley Road is on the right. Free parking is available in a designated area on Rohr Hill and by the entrance gate on Mill Valley Road. Please note: the parking lot at the Mill Valley Road site is very small and may be filled on the weekends.

Best and worst time go to Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park is a great place to visit during any time of the year, but the lush fall colors of autumn provide a truly stunning canvas backdrop to the unique works of art that cover the natural setting. Grab a war cup of coffee, hot cider, or tea and take it all in. Weekday mornings and afternoons are the best time to visit, as the lack of visitors only make the experience all the more surreal. In November, Griffis Sculpture Park holds its annual "Night Lights" fundraising event, where visitors can hike the trails at night with sculptures brilliantly illuminated and the trails are glowing with vibrant colors.

Admission to Griffis Sculpture Park
Admission is run by the honor system: $5 for adults; $3 for students and seniors. Children 12 & under are free. Place your money in the yellow collection bin near the entrance to the park. No littering, no camping, no alcohol, no campfires, no smoking. Griffis Sculpture Park is open from dawn until dusk, daily from May 1 through October 31.

Must see/do at Griffis Sculpture Park
The best thing about Griffis Sculpture Park is that it's amazing quiet and you are free to discover at your own pace. Most of the art work featured is by members of the Griffis family, but there are also more than 200 sculptures by local, national, and international artists including Bolinski, Dwain, Gurst, Hatchett and Paterson.The sculptures are arranged in groups based on theme - you'll find everything from various over-sized animals and insects, to life-size nudes, and even castles and submarines. Visitors, especially children, are encouraged to touch, climb, and take pictures with sculptures in the woods, fields, and by the ponds.

Other places to visit near Griffis Sculpture Park
Before or after your visit to Griffis Sculpture Park why not take a leisurely cruise through the countryside and visit other hidden gems along New York's Amish Trail and the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County? Be sure to swing by Ellicottville and Allegany State Park to take part in a variety of year-round outdoor activities.

Insider tip for visitors to Griffis Sculpture Park
Plan your hike accordingly, wear comfortable walking shoes, pack a bagged lunch and water, and don't forget your camera. It would also be wise to bring some insect repellant as many of the trails will lead you through heavily wooded areas.

Author's bio: Jillian Smolinski is a freelance writer and lover of the arts currently living in Western New York.