What to Do When Your Little Ones Get Sick on Vacation

WPblog5Vacations are supposed to be all about fun, memories, and great experiences. While most vacations usually go off without a hitch, it’s not uncommon for things to awry, and this is especially true with regard to children and minor illnesses.

Travel can sometimes cause even the healthiest among us to catch a bug. The stress of travel, germy airports and airplanes, and even a sudden change in climate can all bring on colds or other illnesses. While none of these are generally serious, sick kids don’t want to miss out on the fun and neither do the parents who might have to stay behind in the hotel to care for them.

If your child gets sick while you’re on vacation in Niagara Falls, here are a few things you can do to get your kids back in shape to enjoy all the fun the region has to offer.

Call Your Hotel’s Concierge

A hotel’s concierge can often be your best resource, and not just for assistance in planning activities. He or she is an expert on the local area and will have a list of doctors and clinics at the ready. This may even include a doctor that will make a hotel call.

If you have to make a trip to the clinic, your concierge will be able to tell you which ones are open, which ones have pediatricians on site, and will call a taxi to get you there. While it’s part of their job, most concierges truly enjoy helping people and assisting you with a sick child will be a top priority.

WPblog6Find a Local Pharmacy

If you’re confident that your child’s symptoms can be treated with over the counter remedies, simply head over to a local pharmacy. Pharmacies are located throughout the main Niagara tourist areas, and a quick Google Map search on your phone will yield multiple results.

However, if you’re not in your home country, be sure to consult with the pharmacist. Some brands and types of medications like cough syrups and fever reducers may be labeled under a different brand. The pharmacist should be able to help you find and choose your favorite or most trusted brands.

Ride It Out

Sometimes you just have to let an illness run its course. While this is especially frustrating when on vacation, you know your child best and you know what they’re capable of when they’re not feeling their best. Plan activities in the morning so you can ensure that your child has time for a nap in the afternoon, and skip the late night adventures, at least for a day or two.

Also, be courteous to other parents and don’t allow a sick child to swim in public pools. This can help avoid spreading the illness to other kids.

Dealing with a sick child while on vacation is hard, but it can happen. Be sure to treat your child’s symptoms early, see a doctor if necessary, and plan alternate activities. It might not be the ideal situation, but you can still make the best of your family’s visit to Niagara Falls.

2 Ways to Surprise Your Kids With a Niagara Vacation

WPblog3We’ve all seen the now viral videos of parents surprising their kids with vacations. The reactions are often ones of shock, dismay, delights, and all out screaming, but the end result is usually one of pure joy. Kids love surprises and they love to explore new places, so a combination of the two is as heartwarming as it is funny.

If you’re planning a Niagara Falls vacation and want to surprise your kids, these are just a few clever ways to let them know they’re about to go on a trip they’ll never forget. You may want to have the camera on your phone at the ready so you can share your surprise with the world, if you so choose.

‘Someone’s in Trouble at School’

This one might be better suited for older children, but if you can enlist the help of your child’s school administrators this is a surprise that will go down in the history books. Arrange a meeting with your child’s principal or guidance counselor and explain the situation. Arrange a date and time when you can be at the school and the administrator can call your child out of class for a meeting in the school office.

When your child arrives at the office to see his or her parents there, a surprise trip will the last thing on their mind. Ask the principal to pull a folder from his or her desk, under the guise of talking about less than stellar homework. However, the folder will be full of brochures about Niagara Falls and a copy of the itinerary. While initially your child might just be relieved that they’re not really in trouble, but the end result will be sheer joy about the upcoming trip.

Backyard Chores Turned Scavenger Hunt

WPblog4Kids and chores don’t usually get along very well, and most parents know the whining, excuses, and other various tactics that kids use to avoid even the smallest of household tasks. However, what if you could turn a chore into a secret scavenger hunt, and the final prize is the realization that you’re all taking a trip to Niagara Falls!

The night before, after your kids are asleep, gather up Niagara brochures, photos, copies of plane tickets, and other pieces of paper and scatter them all over your back yard. Maybe crumple the pieces a bit for added effect. When the kids wake up in the morning tell them that a huge storm came crashing through overnight and all the “trash” in the yard needs to be picked up.

After the inevitable complaining ends and they head out to complete their chore, tell them that they should take a look at the papers to be sure it’s not all trash. If they do as they’re asked they’ll eventually connect the dots and realize that they’re going on a fantastic vacation!

For most parents, seeing the excitement on their kids’ faces when they realize they’re going on vacation is almost as much fun as the vacation itself. Just be sure to have your camera ready for these pranks; yours may be the next viral video!

Niagara Travel Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children

WPblog1Every parent wants their child to have a lifetime of memorable experiences, and many of these ideal experiences revolve around travel. Allowing your child to explore new places, different cultures, and the wonders of the natural world has lasting effects on their lives.

However, for parents of children with special needs, creating these experiences isn’t always easy. Careful planning and coordination need to be in place to ensure that a vacation with a special needs child goes as well as can be expected.

If you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls with your special needs child, these are a few tips that can help you and your family have a wonderful time and make memories that will last a lifetime.

You Know Your Child Best

As the parent of a special needs child you know your child best. You know when over stimulation is an issue and you know your child’s triggers. By now you’re probably an expert on planning your child’s experiences so he or she is as comfortable as possible.

Trust your instincts and ensure that you have everything you need for an airplane journey or long car ride. Snacks, toys, tablets, and frequent breaks can make a world of difference. In fact, simply by planning as you usually would this can make your child feel at ease in his or her routine.

Investigate the Attractions Beforehand

Early preparation is one of the best ways to introduce your child to new experiences and situations, so start early. Fallsview Waterpark advises that parents of autistic children allow them to become familiar with the space before you arrive. Find Youtube videos of the slides and attractions and allow your child to view them. If any friends or acquaintances have visited the waterpark ask them to tell your child about the experience. Ensure your child knows that he or she can leave at any time if they feel uncomfortable and have an exit strategy in place.

Waterparks can be wonderful experiences for special needs children, but be sure that you have prepared your child as best you can for what the situation will look, feel, and sound like to minimize surprises.

Take Things Slowly

WPblog2Vacations can feel hectic and rushed even without special needs children, so be sure to take things slowly. Don’t scurry out of bed early each morning. Instead, plan your days loosely so if changes or adjustments need to be made there’s ample room for that, and ample time for your child to become familiar with the new schedule.

Additionally, while some might see a relatively unscheduled or unplanned trip as a downfall, this can actually help your entire family enjoy the experience a bit more. Without rushing to meet tour times and waiting in long lines, you’ll have a bit more time to connect as a family, and that’s what family vacations are really all about.

Niagara Falls is the perfect family vacation destination, and this is true for all types of families. Plan ahead, take things slowly, and enjoy the ride.

For the Animal Lovers in Your Family: A Niagara Itinerary

WPblog7Almost 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.

Safari 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.

WPblog1The 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.

Where to Take Your Kids Bird Watching in Niagara

WPblog5In today’s tech-heavy environment, it can oftentimes be difficult to interest your children in anything that isn’t taking place on a screen. Even if you’re one of the few families able to keep strict boundaries in place regarding screen time, the appeal of video games and social media apps are hard to compete against. That being said, the natural world is still a stunning and fascinating place, and when given the opportunity, most children and adolescents will be happy to be engaged by it.

If you’re planning a Niagara family vacation, let the beauty of the place pull your kids’ faces away from their screens and back into reality. Here are a handful of places to take your kids bird watching that are truly invigorating and truly flush with fun-to-spot birds — just make sure you pack enough pairs of binoculars to keep the bickering to a minimum.

Beamer Memorial Conservation Area

Beamer Memorial Conservation Area is part of the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve, and it offers amazing views of cliffs and terraces, the shoreline of Lake Ontario, the 40 Mile Creek Valley, as well as some lovely waterfalls if you venture in far enough. It boasts a wide variety of old growth forest, and the wildlife and bird watching is always worth the trip.

Especially during spring and early summer, the area becomes one of the best places to spot birds of prey in the region. A wide variety of hawks, falcons, vultures, and bald eagles migrate through the area during this time every year, and if you’ve never seen scores of these magnificent creatures while they soar and hunt, you and your children are in for a rare and memorable treat.

In addition to birds of prey, be sure you also keep an eye out for the many water birds that call the area home, including great blue herons, numerous types of swans, and wood ducks.

The Niagara River Corridor

The first Globally Significant Important Bird Area designated such in North America, the Niagara River Corridor can always be counted upon to offer up a wealth of bird species. Numerous types of ducks, swans, and geese routinely grace the area, and it also boasts the most varied concentration of gulls in the entire continent.

How many different species of gull can be spotted along the Niagara River Corridor? Well, depending upon the time of year, as many as 19. Head here if your children would enjoy a bit of competitive bird watching, and have them see who can find the most species of gull over the course of a morning or afternoon.

WPblog6Mud Lake Conservation Area

Situated next to the Old Welland Canal in Port Colborne, Mud Lake was built and set aside to protect a wide swath of flora and fauna that now call it home. With over 54 hectares of grassland and woods and a wetland that encompasses around 60 hectares, it’s an ideal place to hike, fish, canoe, and bird watch.

From the passing of migratory birds to yellow-billed loons and yellow-rumped warblers, you and your kids will love the variety of winged creatures you’ll get to see in this peaceful preserve.

Take advantage of everything Niagara has to offer when you’re here on vacation by taking some time out to bird watch with your kids.

Eating and Drinking Tips for Your Kids’ All-Day Waterpark Fun

WPblog3Almost everyone has heard the common wisdom regarding eating and swimming: “Wait a half-hour after a meal before you head back into the water.” While that notion is a sound one, it actually doesn’t tell you much beyond the bare minimum.

Yes, waiting to swim after a meal will keep you from getting a cramp or feeling ill, but what kind of meal should you eat, and how much water do you need to drink to stay properly hydrated? What kinds of calories should you be taking in when engaging in water-centered fun and exercise?

The question becomes especially pertinent for parents of children about to spend a day at a massive indoor water park like Fallsview. If you struggle with getting your little ones to eat at all, let alone ensure they’re eating well, here are a handful of tips and tricks to make sure their nutrition needs are met while they’re racing down water slides, conquering the wave pool, and, in general, having the time of their lives in Niagara.


One of the most important parts of keeping any body healthy is proper hydration, and for little ones on the go, drinking enough water can be especially hard to remember to do. Help your children out by starting the day off with at least one glass of water and a glass of orange juice or grapefruit juice.

From there, get them to drink some water every hour or so. Depending on your children’s ages, they need anywhere from five to eight glasses of water a day — more when they’re exercising or when the weather is warm. Playing in the water will definitely get your kids sweating, but they’re less likely to notice it, so it’s even more important to push water at them.

Treat their day at the water park like a day of exercise by making sure your kids get plenty of water throughout the day’s fun and after it’s over.

Protein and Carbs

WPblog4Protein and carbohydrates are incredibly important when your children are actively using their bodies. Start them off with a hearty breakfast of eggs along with some fruit and whole grain waffles or pancakes.

Yogurt is also a great breakfast option, as is bacon, sausage, and whole-grain cereal. From there, make sure you have plenty of healthy and hefty snacks on-hand for quick and easy access throughout the day. Trail mixes that include dried fruits and a variety of nuts are ideal, as are granola bars that don’t have any added sugar. Bananas are filled with potassium for repairing tired muscles.

When it’s time for lunch, hit the Planet Hollywood Beach Club. Not only does it have plenty of kid- and adult-friendly options for your entire family, but you can also make sure your children keep filling their bodies with the kinds of calories they need to keep playing.

Once again, be sure to choose options with plenty of protein and carbohydrates like the Gorilla Cheese Sandwich, the Typhoon Turkey Club, or the Kiddie Kahuna Burger. After you all get your fill, be sure to sit back to talk and rest so everyone’s meal can settle.

It almost goes without saying that your kids will have the time of their lives at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. Help them keep their energy up for it with plenty of water and the right kinds of calories.

Do Good With Your Family on Your Niagara Falls Vacation

WPblog1There are many reasons parents choose to tackle the potential headaches and pitfalls that often accompany a family vacation. From the opportunity to experience a new part of the world with the people who know you best to the chance to remember just how fun your kids find you when you aren’t stressed out about work, a family vacation can make being a family feel like the best thing in the world.

While most of us center our vacation plans around events and attractions that cater directly to the interests of our little tribe, every now and then, a family wants the experience of remembering and helping out others who might find themselves in less fortunate circumstances.

If you and your family are planning a Niagara Falls vacation, and you’d like an opportunity to do a good deed while you’re having a great time in one of the most fun and beautiful places on earth, you’re in luck. Niagara Falls is a hotbed of philanthropy and charity of all stripes. This June 11th, Niagara Falls’ Relay for Life will take place, and it’s something everyone in your family can both participate in and enjoy. Here’s a little bit about what you need to know should you want to do some good with your family during your Niagara Falls vacation.

Relay for Life

WPblog2Relay for Life is one of the most well-known fundraising events in the fight against cancer in all of North America and around the world. Each year finds more than 4 million people participating in the event in more than 20 countries.

The Niagara Falls’ event is part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s efforts to defeat cancer, and in addition to raising money, Relay for Life allows participants and volunteers who have been affected by cancer to support one another, remember lost loved ones, and continue the struggle to overcome the disease.

Teams often camp out on-location, and take turns walking or running a predetermined route, path, or track at a local park or public school. Some events last up to 24 hours as a reminder that cancer is a disease that never sleeps, and in order to defeat it, researchers and fundraising need to do the same.

Niagara Falls’ Event

The Niagara Falls Relay for Life event takes place on June 11th at Oakes Park amidst an almost festival-like atmosphere. The event is six hours long, and there are plenty of activities to keep you and your brood entertained. Whether you choose to form your own walking or running family team and you solicit donations ahead of time, or you simply want to make a donation and/or volunteer, the day won’t be one you’ll soon forget.

You and your children will walk away from the Niagara Falls’ Relay for Life with an even greater respect for cancer survivors and caregivers, and you’ll feel even more inspired to keep driving efforts to find a cure.

So, do good during this year’s family vacation if you’re so inclined. The Niagara Falls’ Relay for Life is the perfect charitable family event to take in when you and your kids are enjoying one another’s company far from home.

Spotlight on Morningstar Living Mill Museum Park

WPblog10When it comes to planning the perfect family vacation, most parents are content to pack the itinerary with activities that will keep their little ones entertained and in harmony with one another.

Noble goals that are hard enough to come by, the thought of transforming a vacation into an opportunity for learning, too, is often set aside as being too risky. After all, aiming at learning instead of fun — especially when fun is expected — can yield boredom or worse, rebellion.

Well, what if you didn’t have to choose between having a great time and learning a little something while that great time was being had? The beauty of taking a family vacation to Niagara is that the two work in tandem pretty regularly, whether you’re enjoying a trip to the Butterfly Conservatory or Safari Niagara or you’re just staring, mouths agape, at the region’s eponymous waterfalls. Yes, Niagara is an ideal location to spark and satisfy a child’s curiosity, and one of the area’s best and least-known places for such an undertaking is at the Morningstar Living Mill Museum Park in St. Catharines.

The Grist of It

A completely restored 19th century gristmill that is currently owned and operated by the city of St. Catharines, the Morningstar Mill is the only functioning water-powered mill in the entire Niagara Peninsula. Built in 1872, the mill utilizes water from Beaverdams Creek, and sits just below the Upper DeCew Falls.

It was the first turbine-powered mill in all of Ontario. Any visit to this mill makes for a picturesque photo opportunity as well as a fascinating look at hydropower and early 20th century life, as the grounds also include a house, blacksmith shop, and cottage garden — all of which have also been fully restored.

A Visit to the Past

WPblog11One of the best parts about visiting the Morningstar Living Mill Museum Park is the simple, impressive, and efficient way of life it presents to children — and their parents — who themselves are almost always fully immersed in the super-mechanized, technological 21st century.

It’s amazing to see such a straightforward machine make use of the power of water to mill grain that you can actually buy in the gift shop and bake with. Likewise, a visit to the blacksmith’s shop — staffed by skilled and knowledgeable volunteers — will show and tell about how valuable the ability to hammer metal into nails, horseshoes, and other tools was at one time.

For parents who are interested in ensuring their children maintain a sense of connectedness to what life and work was like in our less digital past, the mill makes for an intriguing and unforgettable lesson, and the fact that it’s set in a beautiful bit of landscape doesn’t hurt either.

The Details

The Morningstar Living Mill Museum Park opens each season on May 1st and stays open through Thanksgiving weekend each November. They have several open houses, which will afford children the best opportunity to learn about the mill and how it works, its history, and blacksmithing. In particular, the Memorial Day Weekend is a popular time to visit. Admission is free, although the museum does accept donations.

For a fun experience that will give you and your children insight and education you can’t get anywhere else, take a trip to the Morningstar Living Mill Museum Park.

When Your Family’s on a Budget in Niagara Falls…

WPblog7No matter how good of a planner you are, going on vacation is almost always a little bit stressful. From trying to remember to pack everything you might need to lining up a reliable dog-sitter, taking care of all the details in the world you’re leaving behind while also ensuring you’ve got everything you need for the one you’re about to enter is a tall order, and pulling it off is no small feat — especially if you need to stick to a budget.

Thankfully, sticking to a budget for your family vacation in Niagara isn’t difficult. Filled with fun freebies, Niagara almost seems tailor-made for the family financier watching her bottom line. In Niagara, the world is still your oyster. Here are some of the ways you can enjoy yourselves when you’re on a family vacation — and on a budget — in Niagara.

Free activities and destinations abound throughout the Niagara region, depending on the time of year you travel here, and they’re every bit as fun as the entertainment that costs money. Here are some of those freebies—a few of which are available all year long:

Happy Rolph’s.

At just over a hectare, this bird sanctuary and animal petting farm will please little ones of all ages. Set along the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario in Grantham Ward, Happy Rolph’s gives guests a great chance to get up close and personal with a wide variety of animals, birds, and plants. Open from Victoria Day weekend until Thanksgiving Day weekend, this attraction is completely free, although they will accept donations.

WPblog9The Antique Carousel

In the charming harbor village of Port Dalhousie, you’ll find a fun-filled relic from the past. Choose your magical ride on the beautiful, antique carousel in Lakeside Park. While this attraction isn’t technically free, it might as well be: Rides are just five cents.

Nickel Beach

A beach on Lake Erie, you and your little ones will love running around the beach’s sand dunes and Carolinian Forest. When the weather and water is warm enough, you can go swimming or wading, and there are plenty of places to enjoy a picnic. You can also spend time hunting for the Fowler Toad, a rare and protected species of toad that calls Nickel Beach home. While it does cost to park at Nickel Beach, if you walk in, the whole experience is yours for free.

Dufferin Islands.

This 10-acre park is actually a group of small islands that are joined together by little bridges and footpaths. It’s a great place to play tag or hide and seek, read quietly, or enjoy a picnic.

Short Hills Provincial Park

This 660-hectare park is located along the edges of St. Catharines and Pelham, and it’s a great place to hike and fish. Numerous trails cut through the park, and you can spy everything from waterfalls to wildlife, including white-tailed deer, vole, and coyote. If you and your family are mountain bikers and you’re bringing your bicycles, there is also some great mountain biking in Short Hills.

On a budget? Don’t worry. In Niagara, there is never a shortage of fun to be had by the family watching its financial figure.

How to Get Your Picky Eaters to Live a Little in Niagara

WPblog3If you’re like most vacationers, heading to a new spot is but one more excuse to dive daily into the delicious experience of eating a never-before-had meal. Niagara, thanks to its strong farming and culinary culture is a fabulous place to dine, and many people make the trek here just to eat the food and pair it with the region’s many excellent wines.

That being said, when you’re here on a family vacation, the lowest common denominator — i.e. your pickiest eater — can dictate when and where the eating happens for the rest of you.

If you’ve got a Niagara vacation in the works and you’re worried your picky eaters might ruin it for you, don’t give up hope just yet. Between the wonders of poutine and some truly great pizza, you just might eat an exciting meal or two in Niagara.


Even the pickiest of eaters have a hard time turning down pizza, and Niagara has options your whole brood will love. For pizza that’s good enough to write home about, try one of the following restaurants:

WPblog4Antica Pizzeria and Ristorante. With authentic Italian food made from scratch, including mouth-watering wood-fired pizzas, Antica is a great place to bring your family — especially because you don’t have to eat pizza if you don’t want to. Also, because they also offer a full bar and extensive cocktail list, you don’t have to feel like one of the kids while you dine either.

Bravo Pizzeria and Grill. Another high-end Italian restaurant that caters to families, Bravo’s wood-fired pizza is as close to Naples as you can get while you’re in Niagara. Order the aged New York strip, and leave your kids to nosh on the pizza. You’ll all be glad you did.

Gambler’s Pizza. Considered by many to offer the best pizza in town, Gambler’s offers a no-nonsense environment, and simple, tasty food that appeals to everyone. When you decide to stay in and watch a movie in your hotel room, get them to deliver.


All picky eaters love French fries, and in Canada, French fries get even better in a dish called poutine. At its most basic, poutine is a plate of French fries covered in gravy and cheese curd, but your more adventurous restaurants go way beyond that. Take your family to Taps on Queen, and you can enjoy a range of delicious, locally crafted beer along with poutine varieties like Chicken Club and Vegetable Curry. Your picky eater, of course, will love the classic.

Another great place to go for a more exciting take on poutine is The Syndicate. They have a duck poutine that’s so good even a picky eater is likely to dive into it, and because they’re a farm-to-table restaurant, the rest of your crew can enjoy fare on the fresher and fancier side, including a prix fixe menu that offers everything from beer-brined chicken to a panko-crusted rack of lamb.

Don’t set aside your dreams of eating like royalty on your next family vacation. Between the poutine and the pizza, Niagara can ensure you and your pickiest eaters get to dine on food you’ll love.