Almost all children love animals from the time they first make eye contact with the friendly Golden Retriever next door or they make an ill-advised and thankfully clumsy run after the one-eyed feral cat that calls the alley behind your house home. Still, in the 21st century very few children in North America get to see a wide variety of animals over the course of their lives.
To the little animal lover entranced by the wealth of amazing creatures in the world, that lack of experience is a true shame. Thankfully, it’s also a reality that can easily be remedied with just one Niagara Falls vacation.
Known for having a trio of waterfalls to rival any waterfall in the world, Niagara Falls is also one of the best places in North America for children and adults to experience the Animal Kingdom in a big and personal way. Here is a look at just a few of the spots you need to include on your vacation itinerary, as well as some of the animals you’ll get to see when you bring your animal-loving kids to Niagara.
One of the most exciting animal-centered spots in all of North America, Safari Niagara is a 150-acre, privately-owned and operated nature preserve located just a short drive from Niagara Falls. Over 1,000 different animals make their home at Safari Niagara, including giraffes, hippos, primates, tigers, dozens of different reptile species, and much, much more.
In addition to getting to see a wide range of exotic animals, the park also offers free and educational guided walking tours, interactive shows, a petting zoo, paddle boating, go karts, a ropes course, playgrounds, a restaurant, a sandbox, and a catch and release fishing pond that has all the gear you’ll need. It’s a remarkable place where you and your children won’t just get to learn about animals, you’ll get to experience them as well.
The Rainforest Café
A restaurant that’s located in the Falls Avenue Resort, the Rainforest Café is a great place to take your little animal lover for lunch or dinner. Not only is the restaurant’s menu kid-friendly, but the décor is animal themed through and through. Step into a volcano and sit through an indoor thunderstorm without getting wet. In the midst of it all, you’ll be surrounded by animatronic gorillas, elephants, snakes, and other jungle creatures. It’s an eating experience unlike any other.
The Butterfly Conservatory
Have you or your children ever wanted to wander among over 2,000 free-flying and colorful tropical butterflies in a rainforest setting? Well, at the Niagara Park’s Butterfly Conservatory, you can. The lush, tropical environment is filled with beautiful plants and trees. It also has a pond, as well as some waterfalls, and there are plenty of paths to meander along as you try to get into the perfect position to spot the more than 40 different species of butterfly flitting and floating about. Gain an insider’s view into the transformation a butterfly undergoes at the Emergence window, where you can watch as new butterflies emerge from their pupae and head out on their first flight.
Take your animal lover on the vacation of a lifetime in Niagara, where everything from lions and tigers and bears to butterflies can be experienced first-hand.