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Big Kahuna Tiki Boat Launches @ Canalside

On land, Buffalo now has a love affair with Mexican food. And on the water, it looks as if tiki culture is all the rage. Now, as a way to further celebrate Māori mythology and Polynesian cultures, visitors to Canalside can hop aboard a 48-passenger tiki tour boat that will serve up Caribbean style music and drinks (and beer and wine).

The Big Kahuna will take passengers on 60 or 90-minute excursions along the Buffalo River, into the Buffalo Harbor, and out onto Lake Erie. The tours are orchestrated by the same operators of the Spirit of Buffalo schooner and the Harbor Queen tour boat.

“The addition of the Big Kahuna will give people a much-needed opportunity to get out on the water, have some fun and enjoy Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront,” said Captain Rich Hilliman, Owner/Operator Buffalo River History Tours/Big Kahuna Tiki Tours. “The Big Kahuna will have cruises for adults and separate family friendly tours. Our goal is to erase some of the stress people have been feeling and replace it with a smile.”

To start, the Big Kahuna will be offering limited capacity tours, due to COVID-19. Not only will there be fewer than 50% capacity onboard, there will also be rules and regulations akin to restaurants with patios. That means that people will be required to wear masks as they move about, and will be seated 6 feet apart from one another. In-between tours the boat will be sanitized, as well as while underway. Hand sanitizer will also be available. As an added convenience, there is a bathroom onboard. Passengers age 21 and over should bring their ID, if they are planning on drinking.

Big Kahuna Tiki Tours will be available 7 days a week. There will be a daily one-hour afternoon Family Tiki Cruise with a ticket price of $16 for adults and $10 for children. The adult Tiki Harbor Cruise will be 90 minutes long at a cost of $23 per (21+) adult. Book online at or by calling 716-796-4556. Big Kahuna is also available for groups as well as charters.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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