BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With wildfire haze lingering over Western New York the past handful of days, many residents are looking to stay active and have fun indoors.

With an Air Quality Alert remaining in effect Thursday, community members have flocked to local gyms, like the YMCA’s six local facilities, to maintain their health while doing so outside is a less safe option.

The YMCA has noticed their numbers increase by hundreds over the past few days, likely due to the Air Quality Alert, and they are not the only ones.

“There have been more people coming to use our facilities all of our branches, this Tuesday and Wednesday compared to Tuesday and Wednesday of last week as well. We know that people want to maintain their healthy habits going outside has been very difficult,” said Mike Baggerman, communications director of YMCA Buffalo Niagara.

Families have been looking for fun options indoors as well.

At Explore & More in downtown Buffalo, they’ve seen a 25% increase in attendance over the last few days while haze dominates the sky.

“We’ve certainly seen some folks come from canalside saying they were walking around wanting to get inside or just coming directly from elsewhere in western new york and looking for an indoor option,” said Joanna Jacob, the Director of Institutional Advancement at Explore & More.

With air quality expected to improve this weekend, these organizations still encourage everyone to visit — whether the weather is hazy or not.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.