The Niagara Falls are a fabulous feat of nature and straddle the border between Canada and the United States, and they’ve been attracting visitors for more than 200 years. The volumes of tourists tend to be at their highest in July, which is when the temperatures reach their hottest.
Of course, you can’t visit the Niagara Falls and not visit the falls themselves. It’s a no brainer, but then what do you do? Just jump in your car and then go home, or continue with your road trip on to the next big destination? Neither. There are plenty of things to see and do in the area.
Here are five things that make the Niagara Falls a terrific tourist spot, and you can do while you’re there.
The Niagara Falls History Museum
As well as soaking up the natural beauty of the falls, you should immerse yourself in some of the culture of the city. The Niagara Falls History Museum tells the story of the falls, from the geological creation of this amazing landmark through to the daredevils who have performed death-defying stunts such as crossing the falls or jumping down them.
That’s a whole lot of history. The origins of the falls date back as far as 12, 000 years ago, and the museum relays some truly compelling stories, including tales from the war of 1812. There are lots of interactive features in the museum, enabling visitors to learn in a leisurely fashion.
The falls are of such immensity that if you’re to open a casino nearby, the business should match them in splendour. The Casino Niagara doesn’t fail and covers some 95,000 square feet of gaming space. There are more than 1,500 slot machines and 40 gaming tables — there are 12 in the poker room alone. You can play everything from blackjack to roulette.
The casino is always busy, which is not surprising considering gambling is so popular with Canadians, as well as tourists. Canadian laws are reasonably tolerant of gambling, too, and allow betting on sports, in casinos and at racetracks, although this may vary depending on the laws of the province or territory. Online gambling laws are also far more relaxed than south of the border, there’s no problem with playing online roulette if you want to get some practice before your visit to Casino Niagara.
The Niagara Skywheel
You’ll find the Niagara Skywheel rotating at a leisurely pace in the neighbourhood of Clifton Hill, one of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods. The wheel will take you 175 feet above the falls, rewarding you with a truly magnificent view of the Horseshoe, the American falls, the Niagara River and Niagara parks.
You don’t have to worry about the temperatures when you ride the wheel. The gondolas feature air conditioning and heating, so no matter when you visit, getting too warm or too cold won’t be an issue while you ride. Rides last between 8 and 12 minutes, leaving you with lots of time to take photos of the views.
The Skylon Tower
The Skylon Tower is another attraction that allows visitors to take in commanding views of the falls. Visit the tower and you’ll be sitting or standing 775 feet above the falls. The tower has two observation decks, one indoor and, if you’ve got a head for heights, you can step into the outdoor one. On a clear day, the visibility from the observatory is 80 miles.
You have to pay to use the indoor and outdoor observation decks, but if you visit the tower to eat at either of the two restaurants there, you can use them for free, as well as the ‘Ride to the Top’ facility. One restaurant revolves slowly a full 360 degrees in an hour, allowing you to take in the whole of the surroundings while you dine.
The Niagara Glen
For a view of the Niagara River, you can take a trip to Niagara Glen, which overlooks this beautiful body of water. The glen has been a nature reserve since 1992 and is a superb hiking venue. The stairways take visitors up to 2.5 miles of paths that wind through the forest and past boulders. Note that hiking through the glen involves an elevation change of more than 60 meters (200 feet), which means you should wear good footwear to tackle steep and rocky terrain.
Parking is available at the glen and is relatively cheap if you pay for a whole day. The hiking trails are marked clearly, but if you prefer a guided tour of the glen you can take one. These are available during spring and summer.
Once you’ve visited all those stellar attractions, you might want to visit other popular ones. The Nightmares Fear Factory draws in plenty of visitors, and, as you might expect, delivers a scary but entertaining experience. It has been doing so for more than 30 years.
If you’re looking for something interesting but less scary, the Guinness World Records™ will fit the bill nicely. The museum brings world records to life with video productions, interactive displays, themed galleries, games and trivia.
Scenery and nature are abundant in the falls area, so if you’d like to see more, you can visit the botanical gardens and admire the greenery. There are also some splendid wildlife attractions in the area as well, such as the Bird Kingdom and also the Butterfly Conservatory, which features more than 2,000 butterflies.
Niagara Falls is a mesmerizing sight and forever will be. That being said, the city has much more to offer visitors than merely the falls, so when visiting the city, you should make plans to stay there for longer than a day or two and seize the opportunity to soak up everything Niagara Falls has to offer.