News, Tours & Events
Enjoy the beauty, learn about the history of Forest Lawn.
There are many ways to enjoy the beauty and splendor of Forest Lawn’s 269 acres – in the heart of the city of Buffalo – while learning more about its history, its more than 160,000 residents and the beautiful grounds, including lakes, creeks, trees and wildlife. We offer year-round guided tours that will help you better understand the history of Forest Lawn and Buffalo. And you just might get to meet some of our famous residents!
If you are interested in pre-arrangements for yourself or a loved one and would prefer a private tour of Forest Lawn, please call (716) 885-1600 or email email@example.com.
We’d be pleased to arrange a general or customized tour for your group, club or organization. Choose from an approximately 1.5-hour guided walking or trolley tour. Click here for the application, or contact Sandy Starks, Forest Lawn Interpretive Program Director, for more information: (716) 885.1606, ext. 302 or firstname.lastname@example.org
School Tours/Trolley Education Program
We welcome school groups for general or customized docent-led tours through Forest Lawn. Click here for more information, or contact Sandy Starks, Forest Lawn Interpretive Program Director, at (716) 885.1606, ext. 302 or email@example.com
Normal fees can be waived and transportation to and from your school provided with participation in our Trolley Education Program. Simply complete the application at least 30 days prior to your desired tour date. We will respond to your application, in writing, within five business days of receipt of the completed application. Please note we are not currently accepting applications for our Trolley Education Program. Thank you.
2014 Tour Season
Watch this website for details about our 2014 tour season, which runs June through October. You can also visit our online calendar to see what tours might be available for a specific date. Below is a list of the tours we typically offer.
OUR FAMOUS SUNDAY IN THE CEMETERY® HISTORY TROLLEY AND WALKING TOURS
Sundays, June through October
Ride in climate-controlled comfort on the wheelchair-accessible Forest Lawn trolley as you hear about our historic and beautifully landscaped grounds on this two-hour tour led by one of our trained docents. Learn about our history, including the rural cemetery movement, our art and architecture, trees, waterways and wildlife and, most importantly, learn more about many of our residents – and meet a few of them along the way! The trolley tour route differs from the walking tour route. Seating is limited; reservations are recommended.
Enjoy a leisurely walk through our historic and beautifully landscaped grounds on this two-hour tour, led by one of our trained docents, as you learn about our history, including the rural cemetery movement, our art and architecture, trees, waterways and wildlife. Most importantly, you’ll hear the stories of many of our residents – and meet a few of them along the way!
Sensible walking shoes strongly recommended. The walking tour route differs from the trolley tour route. Space is limited; reservations are recommended.
ARTWORK ON THE FOREST LAWN CANVAS TROLLEY TOUR
On this two-hour artistic tour, you will hear the interesting stories behind many of the sculptures, statues and fountains created by such artists as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Larry Griffis and Charles Cary Rumsey that grace our beautiful grounds.
BEHIND THE SCENES TROLLEY TOUR
On this very special two-hour tour led by Forest Lawn President Joseph P. Dispenza, you will visit the inside of our historic gatehouses as well as two resplendent private mausoleums as you learn some of the behind-the-scenes details about Forest Lawn not divulged on our other tours. Join us after the tour for a wine and cheese reception in our historic chapel.
HISTORIC CIVIL WAR TROLLEY TOUR
Sgt. William Hengerer, Maria Love, Mayor William Fargo and so many Civil War notables are part of our ever-popular two-hour Civil War tour. You will visit the final resting places of noted Western New York soldiers, including African American and Confederate soldiers.
FOREST LAWN & THE WAR OF 1812 TROLLEY TOUR
Join Forest Lawn Historian Pat Kavanagh as he marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 with this two-hour trolley tour, where you will hear the many fascinating stories connecting Forest Lawn to this important time on the Niagara Frontier. Learn about Margaret St. John, Red Jacket, the Granger family’s role in the War of 1812 and so much more.
INSIDE THE GATEHOUSE WALKING TOUR
This unique 1.5-hour walking tour begins at our Main Street gates, where you’ll view the interior of our gatehouses, built for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. View an historic 1930s home parlor funeral set up before heading out onto the grounds to learn about some of our permanent residents. No reservations required, simply meet at the Main Street gates.
TWILIGHT WALKING TOUR
Join us as the gates close for this 1.5-hour walking tour and experience Forest Lawn in a whole new light! Learn about cemetery symbolism, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Blue Sky Mausoleum, the historic Forest Lawn chapel and so much more. No reservations required; simply meet inside the Delaware Avenue gates by 6:45 p.m. (for 7:00 p.m. tours) or 5:15 p.m. (for 5:30 p.m. tours).
Unique Collaborative Tours
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY TOUR
Enjoy a climate-controlled two-hour trolley tour through Forest Lawn, with stops at the graves of notable African Americans such as Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, musician Pete Johnson, Rev. Leeland N. Jones, Jr. and more. Guests will also visit the plaque honoring Elmira Brockenborough, a two year old who was the first recorded interment at Forest Lawn of an African American by full name, as well as the Grand Army of the Republic lot to see the graves of 14 African American Civil War soldiers to read the plaque donated in their honor. At the end of the tour, guests will experience a traditional and touching African libation ceremony.
ALL WRIGHT ALL DAY TROLLEY TOUR
Western New York affords visitors the rare opportunity to see a variety of Wright’s residential, recreational and monumental designs – both historic and newly constructed. This all-inclusive tour package begins at historic Forest Lawn* and proceeds on Forest Lawn trolley to the Martin House Complex (1903-05) for an extended tour. Then it’s on to the Fontana Boathouse (2007) on the Black Rock Canal for an in-depth tour. After a delicious lunch at Acqua (included), the day continues with an extended tour of the Graycliff Estate (1926-31) before returning to Forest Lawn to visit the Blue Sky Mausoleum (2004). A knowledgeable guide will be on hand to point out architectural treasures along the way, including views of the Walter V. Davidson House (1908) and the William R. Heath House (1904-05), private residences designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
November 30, 2013; May 23, 2014 & May 31, 2014
8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Cost: $125 for the general public; $115 for members of Martin House and/or Graycliff
Reserve your seat by calling 716.856.3858 or visit www.darwinmartinhouse.org.
*The tour begins at Forest Lawn, 1411 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209. Enter via the Delaware/Delevan gates and follow the white line and the signs to the chapel, where you will find plenty of space to park. Please arrive by 8:15 a.m., as the trolley will leave promptly at 8:30 a.m.
If you wish to arrange a private All Wright All Day trolley tour for your group, please call 716-856-3858.
CITY OF LIGHT TROLLEY TOUR
In collaboration with Buffalo Tours/Preservation Buffalo Niagara
Visualize Buffalo in 1901 through the eyes of the heroine of Lauren Belfer’s historic novel, City of Light. Approved by Ms. Belfer, this three-hour tour reimagines the illustrious city of Buffalo during the time of the Pan American Exposition, with its state-of-the-art skyscrapers, electricity and opulent parkways. The tour begins at Forest Lawn, where you’ll board the Forest Lawn trolley in front of the historic chapel. The tour will visit notable Buffalo locations as described in the novel and will conclude in the historic grounds of Forest Lawn, where you will see the final resting places of several illustrious City of Light Buffalonians, including John Larkin, Maria Love and John J. Albright.
May 3, 2014
1:00 p.m. $55 (General Public); $40 (Preservation Buffalo Niagara members)
Reserve your seat by calling Preservation Buffalo Niagara at 716.852.3300 or visit www.preservationbuffaloniagara.com.
WAR OF 1812 TROLLEY TOUR
In collaboration with the Buffalo History Museum
The tour begins at Forest Lawn, where you will board the Forest Lawn trolley. As the trolley makes its way through Forest Lawn, Pat Kavanagh, our historian, will talk about the significance of the Forest Lawn grounds during the War of 1812. The trolley will stop at the newly-renovated Hotel at the Lafayette in downtown Buffalo, where you’ll enjoy lunch at the Pan American Brewery (included) and enjoy a mini tour of the restoration of this classic landmark, designed by Buffalo architect Louise Bethune, now a permanent resident of Forest Lawn. The tour continues at the Buffalo History Museum, where you’ll see the new “By Fire and Sword” War of 1812-themed exhibit before heading back to Forest Lawn by 3 p.m.
Information about our tours
Space for all tours and events is limited; reservations are recommended. Visa,® MasterCard,® American Express® and Discover cards are accepted. Please note that no refunds will be given unless Forest Lawn cancels a tour or event.
In case of inclement weather, call our event hotline at (716) 885-1606 x302 on the day of the tour or event to see whether it has been cancelled. Cancellation notification will also be posted to the Forest Lawn website and Facebook page by 9:00 am on the day of the tour or event being canceled. All tours, events, dates and times are subject to change or cancellation.
The Forest Lawn trolley is enclosed, climate controlled and wheelchair accessible*. Please indicate, when making your reservation(s), if anyone in your party uses a wheelchair. All tours are recommended for ages 12 and older. Sensible walking shoes are recommended for our walking tours. Minimum reservation requirements must be met for all specialty collaborative trolley tours to take place.
*Please note: The trolley cannot accommodate mobility scooters.
A Forest Lawn gift certificate makes a great gift, and can be used for tours or lectures. Call the Forest Lawn office at (716) 885.1600 for more information. Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express® and Discover cards accepted.
Interpretive Personalities For Tours
The following interpretive personalities are available for specialized tours, at a cost of $60 per selection:
President Millard Fillmore
Dorothy Goetz Berlin
George Norman Pierce
Mother Mary Talbert
Dr. Matthew Mann
Ely S. Parker