Recently, I mentioned that my husband and I wanted to take one last trip together before I move overseas for work. Since I had to spend a few days in the general area for work, we decided to head out to Niagara Falls. It was a great trip. Neither of us had been before but, like most of the world, were well aware of the awesome falls. We rented a car at the airport and made our way out.
The town is quite small but is packed with things to do. It is clear that the town, although considered the honeymoon capital of North America, really caters to families. There are adult things to do as well, of course, and quite a few casinos but I felt families would like it the most.
After checking in to our hotel, we were eager to get started! We bought a package online from the local parks department that included several attractions at a discount and usage of the local bus system that connects all the major sites. The bus system, called WEGO, was great and easy to use and consisted of four lines (green, blue, red, and yellow I think). However, the bus only came every half hour and that seemed a bit long.
Anyway, we decided to start with the Journey Behind the Falls. We were able to walk there from our hotel and on the way caught our first sight of the falls. It was amazing to see them in person. There is a long walkway where people can walk along the river and see the falls and snap photos. Mist filled the air and there were a lot of people around (the weather was great). I cannot imagine how busy it must be in the summer. My husband and I snapped lots of photos and could barely tear ourselves away as seeing them was incredible. The American Falls are definitely not as impressive as the iconic Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. Glad we went with the Canadian side. From this view we could also see the Maid of the Mist (American) and Hornblower Cruises (Canadian) and we were excited we would soon be on board.
Anyway, we made our way to the Journey Behind the Falls check in. They provided a poncho and we were taken down a lift into tunnels. Informative plaques were there that explained how and why the tunnels were there and where you were behind the Canadian falls. Others told the history of the falls and told of the crazy folks who went over the falls in barrels and the like. I would NEVER! Some tunnels went out behind the falls which was neat and we stepped out on one observation deck right next to the falls and were soon soaked. I had a waterproof camera, luckily! It was a blast and really made you appreciate the power of the falls.
We made our way out soon and were on the way to the next stop in our package. It was supposed to be a 4D falls experience but it was not in operation due to some technical issues so we were offered the Whirlpool Aerocar instead. Basically, it was a cable car that went over a gorge. It was far from the falls but enjoyable enough.
After that we were excited to take a Hornblower Cruise. Ponchos are definitely needed! The boat takes you all the way to the falls. Water is everywhere and all around you. Everyone on board screamed and cheered the closer we got and when gusts of winds would send spray all over us. It seems like you are always moving towards the falls but most of the time the boat is trying to move forward but the falls are pushing it back as well so you are just locked in one place. I loved it and would say it was one of my favourite thing that we did.
Our last attraction was a walk along the river but we decided to skip it as it was not that exciting. We considered doing a zipline but the lines were long and the line was not that great. 30 seconds and not very close to the falls. So we decided to go out to dinner at an Indian restaurant (totally delicious! my husband ate 1000 pieces of naan) and went looking for some evening fun. Since we are both a bit silly we decided to check out some of the silly attractions that were available. Most are cheesy and family oriented. There was lots of mini-golf and arcade games etc. Since I love them, we checked out two haunted houses. The first was medium level but quite scary. The second was a high level one in which the actors are allowed to touch you! Yikes. It was pretty creepy but fun. We also did a haunted mirror maze (a bit creepy) and played some silly games. We eventually went back to the hotel to call it a night.
The next morning, we had a good breakfast and decided we would be taking a helicopter tour over the falls. My husband was psyched as being in a helicopter is something he has always wanted to do. So, we decided why not here where we can get an amazing view? We finished up breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and drove to the tour place. I was surprised they did not offer any safety orientation. Four others joined us-and the pilot-and we were soon off. We could barely hear the recording that spoke of the history of the area and falls etc but were too busy being enthralled by the views. The helicopter went over some fields, then the river, the American Falls, and then the Horseshoe Falls. It was gorgeous and amazing to see them from that perspective. We circled about the area and then made our way back. My husband said it was his favourite thing.
After that, we drove over to the Clifton Hill tourist area. This is basically like a little Las Vegas strip for kids. There is mini-golf with dinosaurs, a Ferris Wheel (which was out of operation for now), arcades, haunted houses, 3-6D movies and rides, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum etc. The weather was gorgeous again so we got some ice cream and decided to check out a 6D roller coaster ride. It was not really a roller coaster but was still fun. We played some more silly games and checked out the Guinness Book of Records exhibit and wandered around taking it all in. After some time, we decided we need to step it up a notch and try indoor skydiving.
My husband was so excited but, due to my pregnancy, it was determined I could not go. I told him to go for it and soon he was suited up. I was able to sit in the observation area and make a video of the whole thing. First they went over safety, hand signals, what to expect etc and soon the giant fans were on. He soon floated about and the instructor helped him when he needed to crash land. My husband would soon get up again and jump over the fan. He floated about for a bit more and was done. He said it was pretty cool.
After that, since we wanted to have dinner in Toronto before catching the early flight back home, we decided we better leave Niagara. We took one last drive past the falls (still amazing) and drove away. It was a great way to spend a few days together. I definitely recommend Niagara for people with families. The hotels and restaurants are a bit expensive and it is probably super crowded in summer but late April was perfect and everything exceeded my expectations!