- By Kevin
- On May 5, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
Getting around the Niagara Falls, one of the great natural wonders of the world, displays in unforgettable fashion the sheer force of Mother Nature. Six million cubic feet of water drop over the precipice every minute, creating so much spray that you'll see the mist long before you see the falls themselves. Maid of the Mist sightseeing boat tours travel right to the base of the thundering Horseshoe Falls and soaks spellbound passengers. More peaceful displays of nature lie all along the river gorge, along Ontario's Niagara Parkway.
Walk in between solid rock face and roaring water on tours such as Journey Behind the Falls on the Canadian side. A red-and-yellow cable car called the Whirlpool Aero Car whisks passengers 3,600 feet above the swirling Niagara Whirlpool. You can get to the whirlpool via water, too, and at breakneck speed on Whirlpool Jet Boat tours. The jet boats careen up the Niagara River to Devil's Hole Rapids and beyond at the bottom of the 200-foot gorge.
The Niagara Parkway, a 35-mile scenic road and bike path, winds from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls, revealing glimpses of Niagara River gorge through breaks in the sugar maples and oaks. On the American side of the river, climb aboard the Scenic Trolley for a relaxed ride through Niagara Falls State Park. The Butterfly Conservatory at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is home to 2,000 winged creatures that float and flutter among such nectar-producing flowers as lantanas and pentas.
When the kids tire of the falls or you just need to escape the summer heat, head to MarineLand, which sits on the Ontario side about a mile south of the falls. This theme park is home to the largest killer whale habitat in the world; you can actually touch the whales in the Friendship Cove. The dolphin and sea lion shows are also a big hit. But the animals aren't the only attraction here: get up close and personal with bucks, does and fawns at the deer feeding area, or take a twirl on one of the parks roller-coasters.
The waterfalls are the main attraction here, and there's a range of ways to see them: from their foot on the legendary Maid of the Mist boat tours; from behind in caves accessible by elevator; from the sky hovering in helicopters; or gazing from observation towers. But away from the falls, both the New York and Canadian sides offer various activities to keep visitors entertained. The area also hosts several family-friendly attractions, including MarineLand and Old Fort Niagara. If you don't have kids in tow, try your luck at the Niagara Fallsview Casino or sample some of the area's famous ice wine at the Inniskillin Winery. How we rank Things to Do.