Niagara Falls’ 3 Most Fun Wet and Wild Family Activities

WPblog30.jpegNiagara Falls is undeniably all about the water. If it weren’t for the 3,160 tons of water rushing over the falls every second, Niagara wouldn’t be the must-see destination it is today. Every Niagara Falls vacation needs a little water, especially if you have kids along who would benefit from some hands-on interaction with that tiny molecule that makes Niagara so special. Here’s a short list of the best wet activities for you and your family during your trip to Niagara Falls.

Feel the Falls up Close

Sure, Niagara is beautiful from a distance, but there’s nothing like getting up-close and personal with the falls and feeling the mist and spray on your skin. Plenty of tour groups can get you a great look at the falls, but only a handful will bring you right up next to them.

Maid of the Mist is the most famous and reliable tour boat that takes travelers to the base of the falls. Though they’ll provide you a plastic poncho to protect you from most of the falls’ water, it is advisable to wear waterproof shoes or at least a pair that you don’t mind getting quite soaked. Note that any loose technology could get a little drenched as well — waterproof your cameras, or keep them safely tucked away in bags or back at the hotel.

The Journey Behind the Falls is another great way to see the falls from a new (and moist) perspective. You’ll take an elevator and stairway down 150 feet from Table Rock through bedrock to the base of Horseshoe Falls and take a walk along a tunnel to see the falls like never before. Like the Maid of the Mist, you’ll wear a waterproof poncho, but you should come prepared to get a little damp.

Make Time for Play

WPblog31.jpegAfter a couple days of sightseeing, it’s definitely nice to have a day devoted to play. Niagara’s best indoor water park provides attractions of all stripes for families of all shapes and sizes.

If you prefer to test your fears, try some of the death-defying slides. If you like a relaxing dip, try one of the wave or floating pools. If you love to splash around in a giant jungle gym, there’s plenty to choose from. As long as you plan to get a little (or quite a bit) wet, there’s something for you to do here.

Learn a Little, Too

One of the lesser-known attractions in Niagara Falls, Niagara’s Fury teaches travelers just how Niagara Falls was created so many millennia ago. This thrilling show puts poncho’d participants on a stage surrounded by screens and ominous-looking fans and rain-makers. You’ll be blown by the extreme winds carrying rain and snow; you’ll feel the shifting temperatures of the region as the landscape changes around you. Not only does this attraction put you right in the middle of the action — getting you just as soaked as the falls themselves — but it also lets you learn a little more about how the region came to be.

Have You Ever Seen the Back Side of Water?

wpblog7.jpegAnyone who has ever traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and ridden the “Jungle Cruise” attraction is probably familiar with the joke that many captains tell, in which they promise to show cruisers what the “back side of water looks like.” The joke, of course, is that the boat travels under a cascade, allowing you to view the falls from both sides.

All joking aside, it is possible to the see the other side of a far more impressive waterfall in Niagara Falls. While most people are content to experience the thundering waters from a cruise like Hornblower Cruises, or to view the falls from the comfort of their hotel, experiencing the falls on land from just a few feet behind them is an experience unlike any other. There are several ways to get this unique view of the Niagara Falls.

Journey Behind the Falls Tour

The Journey Behind the Falls tour takes you behind Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side of the river at Table Rock. On this tour, you’ll take an elevator down 150 feet through bedrock tunnels, and then traverse another tunnel to the two observation decks. Each deck is located just a few feet from the water, which flow past at an astounding rate of nearly 2,800 cubic meters per minute at a rate of 65 kilometers per hour.

Niagara’s Fury

While not an outdoor attraction behind the real falls, Niagara’s Fury is a 4-D, theme-park style attraction that provides a unique look at the creation of Niagara Falls. This experience allows you feel what it was like when the falls were created, from the cold temperatures to the pounding rains and ever-present mist. The floor moves, the wind blows and you’ll feel as if you’re really at the water’s edge — even though you are safely indoors. You can purchase a combination ticket for Niagara’s Fury and the Journey Behind the Falls tour.

Cave of the Winds Tour

wpblog8.jpegLocated on the American side of the falls, the Cave of the Winds Tour take visitors behind Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the three waterfalls that comprise Niagara Falls. Like the Journey Behind the Falls tour, Cave of the Winds begins with an elevator ride, this one 175 feet down into the gorge. From there, you can traverse a set of wooden walkways along the edge of the river (which are dismantled every fall and then rebuilt into the bedrock each spring to ensure safety) as the water rushes past. The final stop on the tour is the Hurricane Deck, where it feels like hurricane conditions all the time.

All of the “behind the scenes” tours of Niagara Falls provide rain ponchos for guests; the Cave of the Winds tour includes a pair of specially designed safety sandals as well. Still, consider bringing a change of clothing, and carry a waterproof camera or protective gear to prevent damage to your expensive photography equipment. Each experience takes about 45 minutes to an hour, but the impressive views and opportunity to experience the falls from a different perspective make it time well spent.

The Best Ways to Get Around Niagara With Kids in Tow

WPblog20.jpegA family vacation is often a great thing. You can finally take the whole crew out of your regular cramped space and participate in new experiences as a loving team. However, if you’ve already been on a vacation with your young ones, you know full well that not everything goes as perfectly as planned. Niagara has plenty of attractions well-suited for families of all shapes and sizes, but when you’re on vacation, it can be tricky to figure out how exactly you’re going to get to all of them on schedule and on budget. Here are some of the more popular ways to get around Niagara when you’re bringing along your kids.

Guided Niagara Tours

If you’re looking to see all Niagara has to offer, you might look into some of the many organized tour groups that guide travelers around Niagara’s most important sights. You’ll probably get some insider information that you’d miss otherwise, including access to the best viewing spots for the falls or backstage tours of the most popular attractions.

There are many different kinds of tours, and you should select the one that fits your family best. If your children are especially small, car or bus tours would be most effective at conveying your group from one place to another. Alternatively, if you have slightly older kids, a bike or Segway tour might be a great way to see the city and sights.

Public Transit System

WPblog21.jpegNiagara has just recently completely revamped its public transportation to make the bus system even more accessible and useful to travelers and natives alike. The new WEGO buses replaced two of the old transit systems and work to move Niagara’s visitors to the best places to see. To get a taste of where you can get to with WEGO buses, here’s a list of the different routes to some family-friendly attractions:

  • Red Line. Niagara Falls History Museum, Queen Victoria Park, Skylon Tower.
  • Blue Line. Marine Land, Maid of the Mist, Fallsview Indoor Water Park.
  • Purple Line. Niagara Falls Aviary, downtown shopping.
  • Green Line. Butterfly Conservatory, great views along the river.

There are other transit systems intended for Niagara natives to get around the city that might be useful to your family, depending on your intended activities. Niagara Falls Transit and Niagara Regional Transit both offer reasonable fares for adults ($2.50 and $6.00 respectively) and children ($1.25 for 6-12-year-olds and free under 6 years) and have routes to basically anywhere in the city and surrounding areas. Additionally, GO buses are the transit system for the greater Toronto area, so if you are hoping to experience Canada outside of the falls, you might want to hop on a GO bus into the largest nearby city.

The Rails

For a more scenic and sentimental commuting experience, you can try riding the VIA Rail and Amtrak trains into and around the Niagara Falls region. If you live in the Northeast, you may be able to find a good deal on tickets, which will allow you to see more of the countryside than if you choose to fly in.

3 New and Excellent Kid-Friendly Attractions at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls isn’t just for lovers. The whole family can have a great time getting up close and personal with the falls on Maid of the Mist boat tours and boardwalk tours like the Whitewater Walk or the Cave of the Winds in New York. Bringing the kids to Niagara Falls is a great way to instill a love of nature from an early age.

You’ll find family-friendly Niagara Falls attractions all over town. Whether your kids like animals, dinosaurs or crafts — or all three — there’s more than enough to keep them occupied. Book a hotel room this summer and receive free family passes to some of the area’s finest attractions.

Bird Kingdom

wpblog5.jpegBird Kingdom is open year round, so no matter when you visit Niagara Falls, you can take the kids here to see hundreds of birds as you won’t get to see them in many zoos, flying around happily within their enclosure. The world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary and home to over 400 birds, this multi-level rainforest habitat has won the Niagara Falls “Attraction of the Year” Award four times. Give the kids, and you, a chance to see 80 species of gorgeous tropical birds, many of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.

Crock A Doodle Niagara

The whole family can get their hands on some creative fun at this pottery-painting studio located in Falls Avenue Resort next to the Hershey Store. At Crock A Doodle Niagara, you and the kids can choose from a wide selection of ready-to-paint pottery and ceramics. Once painted, your pieces will be glazed and kiln-fired overnight, ready for you to pick them up the next day. Your pottery pieces will be colorful, safe to eat from and long-lasting. This is a low-key, relaxing way to bond with the kids and spend some time together as a family.

Dinosaur Adventure Golf

wpblog6.jpegDinosaur Adventure Golf is just one of many family-friendly attractions on Clifton Hills in Niagara Falls. If your kids (or you) are obsessed with all things dino, a trip to Dinosaur Adventure Golf could be one of their fondest childhood memories. This 36-hole course is Canada’s largest mini golf course. Play your way through the interior of a 50-foot volcano that really erupts — don’t worry, it’s only steam, not actual hot lava! Your kids will shriek with delight at the 50 life-sized, realistic dinosaurs roaming this 70,000 square foot mini golf course.

If your kids don’t like dinosaurs, don’t worry. You can take them to Wizard’s Golf instead, an 18-hole glow-in-the-dark mini golf course decorated with wizards, dragons and trolls. With its climate-controlled environment, Wizard’s Golf is a great entertainment option if foul weather rears its ugly head on your family vacation.

Niagara Falls offers plenty of wholesome fun for the whole family. Take the kids to Crock A Doodle Niagara to decorate some personalized crockery, or show them some of the world’s most exotic birds at Bird Kingdom. You can even pretend to be the Flintstone family at Dinosaur Adventure Golf. But really, with so much to choose from, the sky is literally the limit.

Toucan image by Gary J. Wood from Wikimedia Commons

The 3 Scariest Slides in Fallsview Waterpark

WPblog10.jpegThere’s plenty for everyone at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. Kids of all ages — we’re looking at you, too, parents — will find pools, play areas and slides to suit their varied fancies. However, in almost every family, there’s one member who can’t enjoy a vacation without something to jumpstart their adrenaline. Fallsview Waterpark definitely has activities for those travelers who enjoy their feet firmly on the ground, but for those others who feel most at home slipping and sliding at terrifying speeds, here are the three best slides in the park for you.

Toob Tower

You know you love it when your heart is racing, but you also like a variety of choices in your danger; Toob Tower is perfect for you. With four different non-stop slides and the opportunity to slide solo or with a buddy, this slide allows you to pick your poison when you get to the top of the tower.
All four slides provide non-stop sliding from the ceiling to the floor of the indoor park. You’ll need to hold on tight to your tube; there are plenty of twists and turns that could see you scrambling. You do need to be at least 42 inches high to ride these slides to be sure that you’ll be absolutely safe.

Extreme Racing Slide

Hopefully you aren’t the only adrenaline junkie in your party, because this next slide is best enjoyed with a friend. This attraction features side-by-side, identical slides that allow you and a partner to race to the bottom. You and your partner get a choice between pairs slides: Thunder and Kamakazi or Sky Screamer and Drop Canyon. The nail-bitingly steep incline of the first pair of slides lets you reach intense speeds perfect for the excitement-seekers in your group, but the second pair boast twists and turns for those racers who love Formula One.

You’ll probably find yourself in line again and again for this slide in an attempt to perfect your technique for your next race. Here’s a pro’s tip: Keep your head back and your toes pointed to make your body as aerodynamic as possible. Because you’ll be riding a mat, you’ll need to be a little taller to ride these slides — higher than 48 inches.

The Canadian Plunge

WP_FB10This slide is far and away the most exhilarating of Fallsview’s attraction options. Unlike any of the other slides in the park, the Canadian Plunge is a giant centrifuge, meaning it tosses and turns you around a giant bowl. You’ll push off from the top and slide right up to the rim of the bowl, then speed around and around the bowl until you fall through a funnel into a pool below. You’ll be spinning in your raft and around the bowl so fast you won’t have time to be dizzy, but you will end up with a quicker pulse than when you started. Ride alone or with a friend, but make sure you’re at least 42 inches tall or you won’t be able to experience the thrill.

5 Things to Do With Kids in Niagara

Niagara Falls continues to be a popular destination for families of all sizes and ages. With activities like the below it’s no wonder why. Kids can pick and choose from a variety of exciting adventures when not standing in awe of the size and power of the falls that give the city its name.

Butterfly Conservatory

wpblog9.jpegThe butterfly conservatory in Niagara Falls is run by the Niagara Parks Commission and rests in the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture. The conservatory was opened in 1996 and operates year-round in spite of the frigid temperatures during the winter. Within the conservatory are over 2,000 butterflies of more than 60 different species.

An interesting note about the conservatory is that it’s kept in balance by the presence of several species of natural predators like quails, turtles, goldfish, toads and beetles. Also, they have no need to feed the butterfly from feeders as the conservatory is populated with nmyriad species of flowers that provide natural food sources.

Greg Frewin Magic Show

Greg Frewin is a world-famous magician that has appeared at venues such as Caesars Palace, the Flamingo Hilton and the Tropicana. He has also made more than 35 TV appearances and is recognized as “The International Grand Champion of Magic.” He placed first in the Olympics of Magic in Yokohama, Japan in 1994.

Fallsview Indoor Water Park

Fallsview Indoor Water Park is a guarantee hit with the kids. Not only will they enjoy themselves fully but they’ll get the opportunity to vent some of that energy that can seem infinite in youth. With 16 slides and seven pools it will be easy to sit back and watch them run and swim excitedly while on vacation. The best part of the place is that it’s within easy walking distance to a number of hotels, museums and other attractions in the area should any parents get some time to themselves.

MarineLand

wpblog10.jpegMarineLand is one of the main tourist destinations in Niagara Falls, Canada. This is largely due to the combination of animal attractions, rides and proximity to other natural attractions. MarineLand has orca whales, dolphins, beluga whales and deer exhibits as well as orca whale performances. It also features many rides that include what was, at its opening, the largest non-stop rollercoaster in the world, Dragon Mountain. It contains two vertical loops and the only bow-tie loop of its kind in the world.

Clifton Hill

For kids a little older, try Clifton Hill. This is a heavily attraction-packed area that boasts pretty much everything: wax museums, rides, games, video arcades, haunted houses, restaurants, mini-golf and IMAX. In combination with the water park, Clifton Hill promises a great two-punch combo to knock a day of the trip out of the park.

Whether your kids are interested in marine life and butterflies or waterslides, magic and amusement parks, Niagara Falls can deliver it. This is why Niagara Falls continues to be a great destination for families and young couples alike. For the young at heart there is surely a little innocent fun to be had.

The Kids Will Love These 3 Niagara Falls Restaurants

WPBlog1.jpegIf you’re visiting Niagara Falls with the kids, you’re almost guaranteed to be pulled in by the touristy area on Clifton Hills near the falls. Here you and the kids can revel in souvenir shops, museums, haunted houses, a huge Ferris wheel — and some lovely family-friendly restaurants.

Many area attractions offer summer package deals that can get you tickets to other attractions in the area or dining credits you can use at restaurants like the Rainforest Cafe or The Flying Saucer Drive-In. Your kids will still be talking about these fun restaurants even after you’ve been home for weeks.

The Flying Saucer Drive-In

The Flying Saucer Drive-In offers a truly otherworldly experience just minutes away from the falls. Eat your delicious, affordable meal in a “real” spaceship. The Flying Saucer Drive-In stays open late, too, so if you’re looking for a bite to eat after a long day of sightseeing, look no further. If you’re in the mood for an award-winning breakfast, you’ll find familiar favorites and new creations side-by-side on the menu here, with early bird specials available until 10:00 a.m.

Rainforest Cafe

The Rainforest Cafe is more than just a restaurant — it’s an interactive experience that teaches kids about the rainforest and its animals. Kids at the Rainforest Cafe can come face-to-face with animals like the red foot tortoise and the white-lipped python. Animal encounters are supervised by experts, who teach the children fascinating facts about each of the creatures.

When not involved in an encounter, the animals are displayed at the entrance to the restaurant. Here you’ll also find a 5,500-gallon aquarium that’s home to a white-tip reef shark, as well as blue damsels, horse-eyed jacks and other fish. A 750-gallen tropical fish tank displays puffer fish, angel fish, wrasse fish, tangs and other species.

Zappi’s Pizza

WPblog2.jpegA favorite with the locals since 1971, Zappi’s Pizza offers a great selection of reasonably-priced, tasty food. If you’re looking for a laid-back, hassle-free dining experience with the kids, choose Zappi’s. Here you can order family-size meals or order individual meals from the menu. Is one of your kids having a birthday? Celebrate with a build-your-own pizza birthday party package. Let your birthday boy or girl build his or her own pizza, while wearing his or her own personal chef’s hat! Spaghetti and meatballs or pizza cupcakes are included with the package.

If you’re visiting Niagara Falls with the kids, you’ll find there’s plenty to keep them entertained. After a long day taking in the raw power and majestic beauty of the falls, you may want to perk the kids up with a dining. On the other hand, if you’ve spent the day traipsing up and down Clifton Hills, playing mini golf, painting pottery at Crock A Doodle Niagara and souvenir shopping, you may want to wind down with a subdued meal at a down-to-earth, family-friendly establishment. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you can find it — for the whole family — at Niagara Falls.

Educational and Fun Events for the Entire Family in Niagara

1812nfmuseumIf you’re looking for an educational and fun way to spend time with your family this summer, take a trip to Niagara Falls! The region is filled with rich Canadian history that’s interesting for the whole family!

Check out these top upcoming events with an historical element:

RCMP Officer Meet and Greet: Get a chance to meet real Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officers at the Table Rock Centre during the month of August. Ask the officers questions, grab photos and learn more about these heroes in red and the courageous lives they lead.

Simcoe Days: Make your way to the Mackenzie Printery on “Simcoe Days” and hear the stories about the oldest printing press in Canada. John Graves Simcoe was able to create stories and deliver them through his printing press that would eventually shape Upper Canada. Learn about the printing industry and the legends of the Printery, which was an important part of Canadian history.

Siege of Fort Erie: Take a journey through history and visit Old Fort Erie – the home to the British Line during the War of 1812. This annual siege event, in its 28th year, will be held on August 9th – 10th. With tons of learning opportunities, events and a chance to live through the rich history, this event won’t disappoint.

For a different experience, visit these events for a chance at an educational trip and to see some of Niagara’s hidden gems.

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark Honoured with Second Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Attractions Award

travellers-choice-2014-largeFallsview Indoor Waterpark has once again been named a winner of the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice® Attractions award. This marks the second consecutive year that the 3 acre Waterpark has been at the top of its category: Amusement Parks & Waterparks in Canada.

The Travellers’ Choice Attractions awards honour top attractions worldwide based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travellers.

“We were thrilled to win the award last year, and now are extremely proud to have repeated. Our goal is to provide our guests with exceptional experiences and this award comes as a result” says Sarah Vazquez, Vice President Marketing for Falls Avenue Resort

Located directly across from the Falls, and in the heart of the tourist district, the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark sits six storeys above Falls Avenue.   The Waterpark features 16 slides (up to six storeys high), a giant wave pool, a massive Beach House Rain Fortress with 1000 Gallon Tipping Bucket, Tiny Tots play area, adult only Jacuzzi tubs, Planet Hollywood Beach Club, year-round outdoor activity pool and sundeck. It is the only Waterpark in the World to feature a fallsview, and also offers indoor walkways to the hotels, dining and attractions offered on the Falls Avenue Resort, including the Sheraton on the Falls, Crowne Plaza Hotel Niagara Falls-Fallsview, Skyline Inn, Hershey’s Chocolate World Niagara Falls, Rainforest Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe and Adventure City.
TripAdvisor® branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world. The sites reach nearly 260 million unique monthly visitors, and feature more than 150 million reviews and opinions covering accommodations, restaurants and attractions.

Things to do in Niagara Falls That Won’t Break the Bank

NFhorseshoeThe summer season offers tons of family friendly events and activities that won’t break the bank this year and visiting Niagara Falls doesn’t mean you have to spend lots of money to have some fun! Check out these upcoming events that are free and family friendly.

Fireman’s Park

Every Tuesday and Wednesday Fireman’s Park will be offering free live music for the entire family to enjoy. On Wednesdays the park offers Blue’s music from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m and on Tuesdays the park offers music from all sorts of genres starting at 7 p.m. Both events are perfect for a relaxing evening in the summer so grab a chair and come enjoy the music.

Coca Cola Concert Series

Another great way to enjoy free live music is during the Coca Cola Concert Series at Queen Victoria Park. Local bands hit the stage to showcase their talent at 8 p.m. during the week and on weekends. Come for the music and stay for the fireworks, which are a definite must see.

Party Out Front

A great way to spend Friday night includes inflatable bouncy castles, food, yard games, outdoor movies on the big screen, magic shows and water games. The Central Community Church is hosting a party every Friday night in July. Great for both adults and children, the evening will be filled with tons of fun and games!

Summer Sun Days

The Battle Ground Museum is offering families a chance to explore its historic grounds during the weekends on July and August. With free admission families can create crafts together during their visit and get to know the museum through its various tours.

Spending time with the family doesn’t have to be expensive so get out and enjoy the beautiful weather in Niagara Falls with these budget friendly activities.