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.

Five Ways To Get Wet & Stay Cool in Niagara Falls

NEW_water_park1Now that summer is officially here, its time to start finding ways to cool off on Niagara Falls! Going to the beach can be an easy solution but Niagara Falls offers several unique ways to embrace the city’s attractions and cool off at the same time.

Check out this list of ways to get wet and stay cool this summer!

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

Make your way to North America’s largest indoor waterpark and enjoy three acres of indoor water fun. The park is filled with 16 waterslides, pools, hot springs, play area and dining options for the whole family. The waterpark is connected to the Falls Avenue Resort and is located right on Clifton Hill so you won’t have to go far to have some fun!

Hornblower Niagara Cruises

Hornblower Niagara Cruises offers a different way to stay cool this summer by offering an up-close experience with the Falls. Choose from four different cruises that offer a unique, intimate ride down the Niagara Gorge right up to the Falls. Feel the mist from the Falls and cool down in no time during the hot summer weather.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours

This adventurous attraction will get you cooled down in minutes as you hop aboard the Whirlpool Jet Boat for a white-water expedition through the Niagara River Gorge. Choose from a covered boat or an open ride for the ultimate boating experience in one of Canada’s most beautiful rapids.

Journey Behind the Falls

Get to the bottom of the Falls and stand in the mist to cool down from the summer heat. The experience takes you right behind the Horseshoe Falls through tunnels that lead you the Falls portal. A walk on the observation decks brings you that much closer to the water where you feel the mist as the Falls hit the basin below.

Niagara’s Fury

Enjoy a ride on the Niagara Falls simulator that allows you to experience the creation of Niagara Falls. This exciting experience offers you an up close take on the Falls with snow fall, mist and of course the visuals. The moving theatre style sights, sounds and experiences of this attraction will cool you right down!

Discover the many ways you can get out of the heat this summer in Niagara Falls while enjoy these awesome attractions.

Five Must Do Things in Niagara Falls

aerial-horticulture-schoolNiagara Falls offers an incredible amount of unique attractions to check out, sometimes making it difficult to know where to start if its your first time visiting the city. To make things a little easier we’ve created a list of the top five things that you just have to do on your first visit.

  1. Table Rock Welcome Centre: Located on the beautiful Niagara Parkway, the Table Rock Welcome Centre allows you to get a close up view of the mighty Horseshoe Falls. The Welcome Centre is a great place to start your day in the falls, giving you a picturesque walk along the Niagara Parkway followed by one of the best places to view the famous falls.
  1. Hornblower Niagara Cruises: Hop aboard one of the hottest attractions in the city and get as close as possible to the falls. An exhilarating attraction that offers a new and unforgettable experience, this is a must-do when visiting Niagara Falls. The Hornblower catamaran allows you to feel the mist as you cruise the Niagara River and approach the powerful Horseshoe Falls from below.
  1. Falls Avenue Resort: Spanning 20 acres in the heart of Niagara Falls’ tourist district, the Falls Avenue Resort offers everything you need for your getaway to the falls. If you’re looking for a trip with the family, the resort has tons of attractions, dining options and packages catered to your family’s needs. Looking for something more romantic with that special someone? The resort has several Ultimate Experience Packages available to make it a getaway to remember. Home to many of Niagara Falls’ attractions, five-star hotels and fine dining, staying at the resort will not disappoint.
  1. Niagara Falls’ Parks: If you want to get a different experience of the city or love to stay active, Niagara Falls offers dozens of one-of-a-kind paths and trails. The scenic view of the natural landscape allows you to travel through different paths and parkways on bike or foot. Opt for a guided tour or something different like bouldering, all offered through Niagara Parks.
  1. Casino Niagara: What’s a trip to Niagara Falls without visiting the 95,000 square feet of gaming in the middle of the tourist district? Dining options offered in the casino means you won’t have to go far for a delicious meal either. To enhance your experience inside the casino, you can find Yuk Yuk’s and free live music for a great evening of entertainment.

The city features tons of unique attractions and venues to check out so come to Niagara Falls and start exploring this summer!