Eighth Wonder of the World Around the Corner
By Rebecca LaBorde
Rock City Park, located in the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County, is sometimes referred to as one of the eight Wonders of the World. This year, the park opens for the season on May 1, welcoming thousands of visitors annually.
Rock City Park’s prehistoric ocean floor is the world’s largest exposure of quartz conglomerate, also called ocean spar. Weathering and erosion have broken this giant rock floor into huge monolithic formations three and four stories high. Visitors are astounded by these mammoth boulders with huge crevices sometimes referred to as “streets.”
Rock City Park is believed to have been a fortress for the Seneca Indians at one time. “Three Sisters,” “Balancing Rock” and “Indian Face” rock are just some of the natural rock formations found along Rock City’s scenic trails.
When you visit the park, be sure to take advantage of the 1,000-square-mile panoramic view of the Enchanted Mountains from “Signal Rock,” once used as a communication point by Native Americans.
Owners Cindy and Dale Smith invite you to enjoy a brand new 4,200-square-foot building featuring an expanded museum, souvenir and rock shop, virtual video room and florescent rock room. Guests can also utilize Rock City Park’s picnic area and grills.
The park has been a popular location for reunions, group picnics, school trips, corporate parties and wedding ceremonies. The picnic pavilion seats a maximum of 50 people and features two charcoal grills and electrical outlets. Single picnic tables are also available at no charge. The park has modern public restrooms, free parking and portable fire pits upon request.
Wedding ceremonies take place on the rock ledge overlooking Allegany’s scenic Enchanted Mountains. The rental fee for the wedding site includes guest parking and use of park grounds for picture taking. Two wrought iron arbors are available for rental as well. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on park grounds.
Rock City Park has been an attraction open to the public since 1890. First operated by the traction line, a local rail system, Rock City Park welcomed thousands of visitors by trolley. Rock City Park was also famous for its beautiful Bon Air Hotel and dance pavilion where famous bands such as the John Phillip Sousa played. In addition, guests enjoyed its amusement park consisting of merry-go-round, box ball alleys, photo houses, rifle range and many other forms of entertainment.
All that remains of this era are pictures in the museum. However, the natural rock formations and natural beauty of this area still astound and amaze visitors from around the world. Visitors are furnished with a self-guided map and should allow one hour to complete the trail. Rock City Park’s natural trail consists of a combination of steps and paths necessitating comfortable clothing and good walking shoes.
The park is open May through October from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily. Admission to the park is $4.50 for adults, $3.75 for seniors, and $2.50 for children, with no charge for children under five years old. A new Rock City Park Season Pass is now available. This offer admits anyone for the entire season! The season pass is a real military dog tag that was stamped in Olean, N.Y. It can be shared with friends and relatives … anyone can use it! This great collectible and memento is only $9.95 for the whole season! For further information on events or to make reservations, please call 866-404-ROCK or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.