Best Family-Friendly Winter Activities in Niagara Falls

There is no shortage of activities that families can do while visiting Niagara Falls in wintertime, and we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ones to check out while on your next family getaway:

Winter Festival of Lights

One of the most popular events for families to attend while visiting Niagara Falls in winter is the annual Winter Festival of Lights, which illuminates the city in millions of sparkling lights and offers visitors the chance to see amazing light displays and weekly fireworks shows. This year’s festival runs until January 31st and is a must-do winter activity for people of all ages.

Movie Nights at Old Fort Erie

An old British fort built after the Seven Years’ War is a pretty unique setting for a movie night, and starting this month visitors can catch great films like Sherlock Holmes and Gravity on the big screen at this one-of-a-kind location. Some of this year’s family-friendly films being shown at the Fort include The Princess Bride, The Spongebob Movie, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, The Iron Giant, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Kung Fu Panda and Rise of the Guardians.

Greg Frewin Magic Show

Experience International Grand Champion of Magic, Greg Frewin’s amazing magic show that features a real White Siberian Tiger and beautiful exotic birds from around the world. You can also select a dining option and experience a delicious buffet dinner along with the remarkable illusions and award-winning magic.

Adventure City Arcade

Located in the heart of the city’s tourist district on Clifton Hill, Adventure City is a thrilling destination that offers more than 125 arcade-style games, many of which dispense game tickets that can be redeemed for awesome prizes. The arcade also features the Tour Bus SWAT Team ride, Traffic Slam Bumper Cars, and glow-in-the-dark Wild Safari Mini Putt, which will keep the whole family entertained for hours.

Best Places for Indoor Fun by the Falls

wpfilippofoti_1Year after year, as snow begins to fall and the holiday season approaches, Niagara Falls is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. The magnificent waterfalls and surrounding parklands are always amazing to behold this time of year, but when winter’s cold becomes a little too much to bear, here are five indoor destinations to visit for some warmth and entertainment:

Butterfly Conservatory

The Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls is the perfect family destination for winter with over 2,000 tropical butterflies fluttering around while you make your way along winding paths through an indoor rainforest. You are also surrounded by beautiful flowers and greenery as you walk, transporting you into a natural world of exotic plants and creatures.

Adventure City Arcade

Located on Niagara’s bustling and action-packed Clifton Hill, Adventure City Arcade offers endless hours of thrills and fun for people of all ages. The arcade features more than 125 arcade games and amazing prizes, awesome interactive rides like the Tour Bus SWAT Team ride and Traffic Slam Bumper Cars, and the fun-filled glow-in-the-dark Wild Safari Mini Putt.

Bird Kingdom

Embark on a tropical adventure at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls, the world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary. You can hold parrots and exotic birds, and then wander through the multi-level rainforest to experience them free-flying around you. The Night Jungle lets you see night creatures like owls and bats, and your walk through the aviary will take you behind an amazing 40ft waterfall.

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

With 16 thrilling waterslides, a 1,000 gallon tipping bucket, giant wave pool, adult-only jacuzzis, year-round outdoor activity pool and sundeck, and much more the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is the best place to find a full day of fun for the entire family. Splashing and swimming will take you back to the warm days of summer, and the waterpark features indoor connections to Falls Avenue Resort dining, entertainment, and accommodation destinations, so you won’t ever have to unwantedly face the cold days of winter.

Niagara Falls History Museum

Learn all about the rich and exciting history of Niagara Falls at the Niagara Falls History Museum on Lundy’s Lane. It is home to interactive and informative exhibits and is located right by the Drummond Hill Cemetery, which was a main focal point during the historic Battle of Lundy’s Lane during the War of 1812. This is an affordable and enjoyable museum experience for people of all ages where you can try on a replica War of 1812 uniform, walk a tightrope like a Niagara daredevil, hold a musket, and do so much more.

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark Wins 2016 Readers Choice Award

wp-readerschoiceFallsview Indoor Waterpark is happy to announce that it has just been voted “Best Waterpark” by readers of the Niagara Falls Review for the second consecutive year. And to say thank you for this 2016 Readers Choice Award, the waterpark will be offering discounted rates to Niagara locals on day passes and Stay & Play packages at Falls Avenue Resort.

For a limited time, locals can book a Stay & Play package that includes hotel accommodation and four two-day waterpark passes from only $119, and enjoy an incredible family getaway to the heart of the city’s tourist district.

The waterpark offers non-stop thrills with 16 amazing waterslides, a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, full-sized wave pool, adult-only jacuzzis, children’s play area, and so much more. And with the weather getting colder and winter on the horizon, it’s the perfect way to escape the cold and enjoy an exciting family-friendly destination just steps from Niagara Falls. The waterpark is also connected via indoor walkway to a number of the city’s best hotels, restaurants, and attractions including Skyline Hotel & Waterpark, Rainforest Cafe, Adventure City Arcade, and Hershey’s Chocolate World Niagara Falls. You won’t ever have to worry about missing out on the action.

So locals, book your day passes and stay & play packages today and find out first-hand why Niagara Falls Review readers just voted Fallsview Indoor Waterpark the “Best Waterpark” for the second year in a row!

Planes and Toddlers: How to Keep Your Cool in the Air

Kids and planes are an interesting combination. Many young children love to fly and actually relish the tiny seats, tiny portions of food, and the tiny entertainment screen. You’ll see them, happy as clams and quietly sitting or sleeping for the entire flight.

WPblog11Then there are the other kids. The kids who, for a variety of reasons, just don’t fly well. They could have sensory issues or other diagnoses, or they could just be having the mother of all tantrums.

Most fellow passengers are empathetic when a child has a tantrum on a flight but others are not. Flying isn’t necessarily fun for anyone but when you add a screaming toddler to the mix things can go south in a hurry. Flying with a toddler doesn’t have to be as bad as the news says it is and the chances are great that your flight to Niagara Falls will go perfectly. However, forewarned is forearmed so utilize these tips to keep everyone happy.

Bring All the Devices

One of the best ways to keep kids quiet is to keep them focused and tablets, smartphones, and laptops are a great way to do that, especially if you already have limits on screen times as this will be seen as a treat. Be sure each device is fully charged and bring a cordless charger just in case there isn’t an outlet near your seat.

Be sure your child’s favorite apps, games, and movies are ready to go, give them their headphones, and let them enjoy themselves during the flight.

Bring Food

Unless you’re traveling on an international carrier or on a U.S. flight more than four hours in duration it’s unlikely you’ll be provided with much more than a cup of juice and bag containing roughly 10 peanuts. Stock up on your child’s favorite healthy snacks and drinks and dole them out during the flight. Just be aware that some international border crossings prohibit fresh fruit so keep that in mind when deciding what to bring.

And about those peanuts. If your child has a severe peanut allergy let the flight attendants know as soon as you board. This can help prevent a passenger seated next to you from opening peanuts and possible causing an emergency. Many airlines are making the move to eliminate all peanut products from their in-flight menus and snacks.

Bring Comfort Items

WPblog12You know those times when nothing can calm your child like their favorite blanket or toy? And they scream as you race around the house trying to find it? Yeah, you don’t want that to happen on an airplane. While it’s impossible to pack all of you child’s favorite things you can pack a few and reassure your child these items are there when they want them.

It can also be handy to keep an item or two secret so, in the case of a tantrum, you can bring out the surprise toy and hopefully distraction will ensue and the screaming will stop.

These few tips can help keep your child busy, engaged, and using their indoor voice until you reach your destination.

Baby’s First Vacation: 4 Tips to Help Everything Go Smoothly

WPblog9Regardless of the complaints of some insensitive people, babies have parents, their parents like to travel, and babies can’t really just hang out at home while mommy and daddy are off on vacation. So, like it or not, babies are traveling. But the truth of the matter is that it’s more stressful for the parents than it is for those who complain about it.

If you’re traveling with a baby for the first time these are some tips and tricks that can help your family vacation to Niagara Falls with baby in tow as stress-free as possible.

Pre-Ship Necessary Items

Packing all of the accessories that babies need requires a suitcase of its own, and with luggage fees in place you might wonder how you’ll pack it all. The solution? Send it by mail. Most hotels will accept deliveries for registered guests so go ahead and order that huge box of diapers online or the cans of formula if you use it. The hotel will have the items ready for you and you don’t have to carry anything but what you’ll need for the trip.

Do a Trial Run

If your baby is the type who has trouble sleeping in strange places, do a trial bedtime run before your trip. If you’ll be using a travel crib or a playpen start putting your baby to bed in it up to a week before you go. Don’t worry if things don’t go well at first; even if you can’t get your baby to sleep in the new bed for an entire night you’ve at least gotten them used to the idea, which will make the hotel transition much smoother.

Set Up Your Hotel Room Like Your Home

Many people check into a hotel room, drop their bag, put some toiletries in the bathroom and go. It doesn’t quite work like that with a baby. You’ll need to have specific areas of your room set up for changing, feeding, preparing bottles, and other baby related tasks. Do this as soon as you arrive so you’re ready for anything that arises.

WPblog10Stick to Your Routine

Nothing makes traveling with a baby easier than a routine that resembles the one at home. It requires planning on the part of the parent but it can be done and still leave parents with time to explore. If your baby naps at a certain hour try putting her in the stroller and taking a walk around a park or museum you’d like to see. If baby goes to bed at a certain hour be prepared with jammies, a story, and a bottle. The more your baby knows what to expect the easier it will be.

A family friendly destination like Niagara Falls is the perfect place to bring your baby on their first trip. So book your tickets and hotel room and take the time you need to relax with your new baby.

Fall Activities in Niagara Your Kids Will Love

WPBlog3Fall is just around the corner and for many people it’s the ideal time to take a trip to Niagara Falls. The weather is gorgeous, the leaves are changing color, and as high season winds down great deals on hotels and activities become more widely available.

However, fall in Niagara is especially fun for kids. Aside from seeing the beautiful falls and enjoying activities like the waterpark, there are plenty of seasonal activities that will have your little ones grinning from ear to ear.

If you’d like to plan a fall trip to Niagara Falls these are a few great ways to show your kids the countryside and have some fun at the same time.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Niagara is an agricultural region like no other and a portion of its bounty are pumpkins, and lots of them. Pumpkin farms dot the region near Niagara and virtually all of them offer tours and other activities when it’s time to harvest the fall’s crop.

Warner Ranch offers pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and other fall produce like squash and other gourds. Kids can also collect corn stalks and other items to complete their own fall decorations. Warner Ranch is also an active breeding facility for Belgian horses so your kids might get a chance to see one of these gentle giants up close.

Try a Corn Maze

What to do when all the corn is harvested yet the stalks still stand? Why, carve a corn maze, of course! Corn mazes have exploded in popularity over recent years and several sprout up each fall near Niagara Falls.

Located just outside of Buffalo is the Cambria Corn Maze. Two mazes cover twelve acres and are full of twists and turns that will have your kids delighted as they try to find their way out. Sturdy shoes are recommended and rain boots are highly encouraged as the weather can be unpredictable during this time of year. For the very brave they even offer flashlight maze sessions on the weekends.

Take a Haunted Hayride

WPBlog4Of course fall means Halloween and what better way to celebrate than with a haunted hayride in the countryside near Niagara? Several local farms offer haunted hayrides and they vary from the mildly surprising to downright scary so you should definitely consider the level of tolerance amongst your family before you go.

The aforementioned Warner Ranch offers a mildly scary haunted hayride or you could visit Haunt Manor and experience the truly terrifying. The choice is yours but at the end of the night it’s all supposed to be fun so the very little ones and those who scare easily might want to bow out.

Fall is such a beautiful time of year in the Niagara area and it deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Look for hotel package deals, play up Niagara to your kids, and start planning your falls vacation to the falls. You and your entire family will be very glad you did.

Fallsview Waterpark 101: Know Before You Go

WPBlog1A visit to the waterpark may sound simple. A swimsuit, a towel, and you’re good to go, right? Well, not quite. While those things are essential there are many other items to pack that will not only make your day much more enjoyable but can also eliminate potential headaches.

You’ll want your family to have the best time possible on your visit to Fallsview Indoor Waterpark so in addition to packing appropriately you’ll also want to be familiar with the waterpark rules before you go. Here are some suggestions and some rules that will make your waterpark adventure one that you’ll remember for years to come.

What to Pack

Most people simply wear their swimsuit under their clothes and shed those clothes as soon as they enter the park. While this works for some people, others prefer to put their suit on in the changing room. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark does require that everyone shower prior to entering the water so how you choose to dress is up to you.

For yourself and your children, be sure to pack an extra change of clothes, swim diapers and diaper changing supplies for the little ones, and water shoes or flip flops. The waterpark does supply towels free of charge and offers lockers for small deposit. You can bring a personal towel if you’d like but no hotel towels are allowed.

What Not to Pack

WPblog2Like most waterparks, Fallsview has a list of items that are not permitted in the waterpark. These include outside inflatable devices and lifejackets. The park does provide beach balls and lifejackets to hotel guests and rents these items to day guests, but nothing like pool noodles, water wings, or pool floaties are allowed. Mats and tubes are available for use on the slides but you should also keep in mind that long jewelry, swimsuits with metal buckles, and lifejackets are not permitted on any slide.

Outside food and drink is also not permitted but Planet Hollywood Beach Club is located on-site so you can purchase snacks and drinks easily. If you’ve forgotten any important item, guest services can assist with swimwear, swim diapers, and other essentials for your convenience.

Park Requirements

Safety is of the utmost concern at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark so various rules and height requirements are in place to ensure that everyone has fun but remains safe. Different slides have different height requirements so be sure to check the waterpark’s website to determine what attractions your child can and can’t use. For instance, children less than 48 inches in height can’t use the Extreme Mat Racers slide and anyone over 48 inches can’t use the Jungle Beach area.

As a family-friendly attraction, the waterpark does maintain rules about appropriate swim attire. Please keep this in mind when choosing your swimsuit for your day at the waterpark.

Waterparks are fun for the whole family but being prepared and following the park’s rules not only mean that everyone has a great time but also that everyone stays safe. So grab your swimsuit and join us at Niagara’s best indoor waterpark for a spectacular time.

Water Safety Tips for Your Niagara Vacation

wpblog7When one thinks of Niagara Falls it’s impossible not to think of water. The many rivers and the mighty falls themselves are the epitome of water. It rushes, surges, swirls, and tumbles and the power of this water is a sight to behold.

While there are a few swimming holes in and around the area, most visitors choose to enjoy their water time in the fun and safe environment of water parks. With the multitude of slides, age-appropriate play areas, wave pools, and more, waterparks like Fallsview offer a great way for families to spend a day swimming and splashing to their heart’s content.

While lifeguards are always on duty it’s wise for parents to be prepared with sensible water safety tips and information in the unlikely case that something goes wrong while swimming. These are some of the best ways to help keep your kids safe while they’re having the times of their lives at the waterpark.

Know Your Child’s Swimming Ability

You know your child best and that also means that you know your child’s swimming ability. Yes, it can be hard to tell your child that they’re just capable of taking on some of the more advanced water features in the park, but you can also remind them of the many other options they have to choose from, each of which is more suited to their abilities.

Devise a Watchout Plan

Keeping track of even one child in the water is difficult, but if you’re responsible for more than one child or several it’s wise to devise a watchout plan with your partner, friends, or family members who are with you.

You can take turns playing with the little ones in the wading pool while someone else tends to the older ones. If you have teens that are good swimmers you can even enlist their help. With proper planning you can ensure that everyone is sufficiently looked after while having a great day in the process.

Keep an Eye Out for Hunger, Dehydration, and Fatigue

wpblog8When your children are at the waterpark they’re playing hard and it’s likely they’re going to miss their own feelings of hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Fallsview Waterpark offers ample places onsite for delicious snacks, meals, and drinks so be sure that you remind your little ones to take a drink and have a snack, even when getting them out of the water can feel like pulling teeth.

Additionally, since the hotels connected to the waterpark are so easy to access, it’s not terribly hard to take the littles back to your room for a short nap.

A day at Fallsview Waterpark is one of the best ways to enjoy your vacation in Niagara Falls to the fullest. As one of the premier indoor waterparks in the world it has water features that suit all ages and abilities. Just be sure that you come prepared with basic water safety skills and have everyone ready to assume their watch positions and your day will go off without a hitch and fun will be had by the entire family.

Are We There Yet? Save Your Sanity With These Road Trip Tips

wpblog5Aside from the fact that Niagara Falls is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind destination, another of the reasons that it’s such a popular family vacation destination is that it’s just so easy to get to. It’s only a day’s drive from most major cities on the east coasts of the United States and Canada or it can be easily worked into a road trip that incorporates other destinations.

Families have been road tripping to Niagara Falls since cars became a household item but that age old question has always remained the same, even before the days of tablets and LTE.

“Are we there yet?”

Taking a road trip to Niagara Falls with your kids is an adventure but it’s also one that’s bound to have some hiccups. Here are a few ways to keep your kids engaged, happy, and focused on the destination when you still have many miles to go.

Utilize Tablets and Phone

If your kids have their own smartphone or tablets it’s unlikely they’re going to want to give them up for a round of the old-fashioned license plate game. These devices are simply a part of our kids’ lives but you can encourage them to use these items in a Niagara-centric way.

Create a Niagara Falls quiz before you leave and remind your kids that you’ll be asking questions along the way. Devise a reward system that works for your family and then randomly fire off a Niagara trivia questions. Maybe your children will have researched Niagara beforehand or maybe they’ll Google on the spot, but the child with the fastest correct answer wins.

wpblog6Switch Things Up

Instead of letting the kids have all of the “are we there yet?” fun why not switch things up a little bit? Provide each child with a paper map or, if you prefer, let them use Google maps and at various spots along the way ask them, “Are we there yet?”

The kids can then use their maps to determine where they are currently and how far from Niagara Falls they are at that point. Ask them how many miles are left to go, which routes are best according to the map, or what cities or landmarks you can expect to pass along the way. Not only does this help kids engage in the moment but it’s pretty satisfying as a parent to be the one asking THAT question.

Take the Back Roads

If you have time and the inclination it’s always much more entertaining for parents and for children to take the back roads as opposed to the interstates. Small towns, farms, fruit stands and more await you on the back roads to Niagara Falls and you can get a much better feel for the area and its culture. Plus, it gives the kids much more to look at and talk about than truck stops and fast food.

A road trip to Niagara Falls is almost a rite of passage in many circles and is a great way to spend the last bit of summer as a family. Use these tips to avoid the common road trip hassles and get your kids excited about one of the most wondrous places in the world.

Setting Boundaries: Teaching Your Kids About Border Crossings

wpblog3For many children their first international trips involve crossing the border of a neighboring country. For kids from the United States this often means Canada or Mexico and for Canadian tots this generally means the United States. As Niagara Falls encompasses both the United States and Canada, a family vacation in Niagara might mean that your children will cross an international border for the first time.

The concept of international borders is a fluid one and in other parts of the world borders can even change without notice. However, your children might have questions about crossing a border into another country. How does it work? What happens when I’m in another country? What will be different?

If your family vacation to Niagara Falls is going to involve your child’s first border crossing, these are a few ways you can explain the process in simple and easy to understand terms.

What Is My Passport?

For some children their passport is their first form of official identification but they might not know exactly what it’s for or why they need it. If your child is old enough try to involve them in the application process as much as you can.

Explain that a passport shows who they are and where they come from and that this document is very, very important. Without it they won’t be granted admission to other countries.

What Happens When We Cross the Border?

Even for seasoned, adult travelers border crossings can be confusing, especially when one crosses by land. Your child may have questions about borders and what happens when they cross. Without delving too deeply into current affairs you can explain to your child what to expect when crossing the border.

Let them know that border agents are there to ensure that everyone has the proper documents and paperwork. The border agent will ask to see passports and other paperwork. You can explain to your child that you, as the parent, will take care of most of the interaction with the border agents, but they should be quiet and respectful and answer questions if asked. You can also let them know that there may be a line to wait in and they should try to be patient.

What Does It Mean When I’m in Another Country?

wpblog4Travel is a wonderful gift for any child and learning how to be a respectful traveler might be even more important. While the transition from Canada to the United States and vice versa might not seem like too much of a change to a child, it is a great opportunity to discuss how to behave as a guest in another country.

You can explain that it’s important to be respectful of the laws and customs of other countries. You can prepare younger children with age-appropriate books or informative websites about international travel and let older children and teens explore websites on their own. The important thing is to reinforce the fact that they are a guest and should behave appropriately while enjoying their experience.

Travel is a wonderful way to allow children to experience other cultures but it’s equally important for them to understand the mechanics of moving across borders. Utilize these tips with your children during your next trip to Niagara and encourage them to expand their world.