When my daughter was a toddler, she was obsessive about waterfalls and we used to go on day-long waterfall hunts that I’d analysis and map out to falls throughout Rhode Island. Years later, we went on the largest waterfall hunt of all to go to Niagara Falls, and it wasn’t simply her that was enthralled. As a result of whereas there are tons of enjoyable household points of interest and issues to do in Niagara Falls with children, this can be a journey that the adults beloved too!
Actually, we made this a multi-generational journey and we took alongside her grandmother on a Canadian highway journey with stops in Niagara Falls, Toronto, the Thousand Islands, and Montreal. Visiting Niagara Falls with children is a fairly basic household trip vacation spot and we needed to verify it off our bucket record.
Niagara Falls is among the most iconic pure wonders on the planet, and it’s an expertise that you simply and your loved ones will always remember. The roar of dashing water, the spray of mist in your face, and the joy of seeing the falls up shut are all a part of what makes Niagara Falls such an thrilling vacation spot for households — in reality, my daughter even wrote a poem about our expertise (which I’ll share on the finish!)
However with a lot to see and do, the place do you begin? On this information, we’ll discover the whole lot that you must learn about visiting Niagara Falls with children, together with how lengthy to remain, which aspect to go to, the perfect issues to do on each the Canadian and US sides, family-friendly lodges, and extra.
How Lengthy Must you Spend in Niagara Falls?
Niagara Falls is a kind of locations that provides a variety of flexibility relying on how a lot time you have got and what number of points of interest you wish to go to. For these visiting Niagara Falls with younger children, or those who don’t care about a few of the thrill-seeking points of interest, you possibly can simply hit the highlights in only one full day.
Ideally, you’ll keep in Niagara Falls for 2 days to have the ability to expertise extra that the vacation spot has to supply (maybe on either side of the border). This additionally provides you a bit extra flexibility in case of unhealthy climate or rain. I do know many households go to Niagara Falls for his or her household trip of 5 to seven days. That is undoubtedly attainable if you wish to additionally spend time making some day journeys to different points of interest and cities close by (Buffalo for instance!) Nonetheless, if in case you have that a lot time, personally I believe you’re higher off pairing Niagara Falls with a couple of days in Toronto or taking a full Canadian highway journey.
Which Facet Must you Go to: USA or Canadian?
One of many first choices you’ll must make when planning your journey to Niagara Falls with children is whether or not to go to the USA or the Canadian aspect. Whereas either side supply spectacular views of the falls, there are some variations to contemplate.
However the greatest consideration is whether or not or not everybody in your loved ones has a present passport that doesn’t expire inside six months of your journey. After we visited Niagara Falls, we determined to remain on the Canadian aspect, since we had been planning on persevering with on into Canada anyway. Nonetheless, my brother and his household determined to fulfill us in Niagara Falls, however since they didn’t have passports, they stayed on the U.S. aspect and we walked throughout the Rainbow Bridge to fulfill them for a part of the day. One different word about crossing the border: if each mother and father are usually not on the journey you’ll need the opposite mum or dad to finish a minor baby journey consent kind. Canadian border safety is sort of strict about this. I as soon as took my teen daughter to the Canadian Rockies on a mother-daughter journey they usually virtually wouldn’t allow us to into the nation.
If passports aren’t an issue, listed below are another issues to contemplate:
The Canadian aspect of Niagara Falls is understood for its beautiful views of the Horseshoe Falls, which is the most important of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls. It additionally has a extra developed tourism trade, with loads of eating places, outlets, and vacationer points of interest inside strolling distance of the falls. The U.S. aspect of Niagara Falls, alternatively, provides extra pure magnificence and outside actions, with mountain climbing trails, fishing spots, and picnic areas. There are additionally historic forts, parks, and wineries to go to close by.
Simply understand that the Canadian aspect of the falls is mostly thought of to have the perfect views of the falls and I concur! I’m very glad we determined to remain on the Canadian aspect throughout our journey. From the American aspect, you’re sort of straining your neck to see the Horseshoe Falls and you’re primarily proper on the prime of the American Falls and might’t see them until you’re on a ship. In the meantime, after a brief stroll right down to the falls from our resort on the Canadian aspect, we had been trying dead-on on the American Falls, and simply down the river and in full view are the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
Issues to do in Niagara Falls with Youngsters
Irrespective of which aspect of Niagara Falls you select to go to, there are many family-friendly actions to maintain you busy. Listed here are a few of the prime issues to do in Niagara Falls with children, damaged down by aspect.
Whenever you cross Rainbow Bridge you’re proper close to the Sheraton Fallsview and the Clinton Hill space of Niagara Falls — assume Vegas meets Occasions Sq. meets NJ Boardwalk. This space is chock filled with theme eating places, arcades, waterparks, and different kitschy leisure corresponding to Ripley’s Consider it or Not. Very entertaining for teenagers in case you are staying multiple or two days.
You’ll want to begin by viewing the Falls from Queen Victoria Park. Then begin out with one of many following points of interest:
Voyage to the Falls Boat Tour
Should you solely have time to do one factor if you find yourself in Niagara Falls with children, make it the Voyage to the Falls boat tour by Niagara metropolis cruises (from Metropolis Experiences anchored by Hornblower –what was once referred to as the Hornblower Niagara Cruises. Maid of the Mist is on the U.S. aspect). This 20-minute boat experience takes you proper as much as the bottom of the falls, the place you’ll need to shout to be heard over the roar of the water and anticipate to get moist — particularly close to the falls.
On the cruise, you get to see the Niagara Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and, in fact, the shut of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. They supply a memento recyclable mist poncho however in the event you actually don’t wish to get moist, you’ll need higher rain safety. Extra about our expertise on the Maid of the Mist is under. This typically runs from early Might to late November, however that you must verify the schedule on the web site to seek out the opening dates and hours. It’s best to buy a timed-entry ticket prematurely.
When you’ve got thrill seekers in your loved ones, chances are you’ll wish to attempt the open-top jet boat expertise as an alternative (word that children should be not less than 44 inches tall.)
Journey Behind the Falls
Journey Behind the Falls provides you a chance to discover the tunnels and outside remark decks behind the falls. I had heard this was a tremendous expertise and I used to be thrilled to have an opportunity to see what it’s like behind these highly effective falls. Sadly, I discovered it fairly disappointing. I believe I used to be anticipating a guided tour of types however actually your timed-entry ticket simply acquired you down the elevator and from there you had been by yourself. If you’re visiting either side, the Cave of the Winds may be a greater substitution.
First, you are taking an elevator right down to the tunnels that result in two remark decks — these had been cool as the principle viewing platform may be very near the falls and you’ll see what it’s like from the aspect. From right here we had been in a position to see the Maid of the Mist heading immediately right into a rainbow. Apart from that, you simply adopted a tunnel to 2 portals, which look out behind the falls to a haze of water and mist. You’re feeling the pounding percussion in your ears as you stroll alongside the tunnel, taking within the poster shows that designate a few of the historical past of the falls.
There are additionally choices to get a combo Voyage to the Falls boat tour plus Journey Behind the Falls reserved entry.
Take a experience on the Niagara SkyWheel, which is the most important of its variety in Canada. This 175-foot-tall wheel provides wonderful views of the Falls, the Niagara River, and the city. My husband has a extreme concern of heights so we needed to skip this and the Skylon Tower on our go to as simply the stroll throughout the Rainbow Bridge gave him main anxiousness (strolling throughout the bridge isn’t in any respect scary in the event you don’t have a concern of heights although.)
If you wish to see a few of the greatest views from above, ebook a ticket to the Skylon Tower remark deck. You’ll experience a glass-enclosed elevator for a “Journey to the Prime” in simply seconds. The remark deck is situated 775 ft above the falls with glorious views of the Horseshoe and American Falls, the Nice Gorge, and the Niagara River. If you wish to mix the view with dinner, go to at night time for a meal on the Revolving Eating Room or the Summit Suite Buffet and keep to take a look at the seasonal fireworks shows.
Zipline to the Falls
Should you actually need some heart-pumping enjoyable with teenagers or older children, you may as well Zipline to the Falls. You’ll glide 2,200 ft from the platform throughout the falls. The minimal age is seven and all kids should be accompanied by an grownup (no retreating!). The utmost weight is 275 lbs. Along with the Zipline to the Falls, WildPlay provides a Whirlpool Journey Course that includes three ranges of thrills making your approach throughout tightropes, cargo nets, ziplines, rope swings, swinging logs, and wobbly bridges.
If you’re in search of some family-friendly enjoyable, head to Clifton Hill, which is an leisure district with carnival rides, go-karting on the Niagara Speedway, arcades, Dinosaur Journey Golf, mini-golf, bowling, eating places, and extra for teenagers of all ages. That is the place you’ll discover the Niagara SkyWheel, Ripley’s Consider It or Not! museum, and the Movieland Wax Museum too. That is the place we gave in to our drained ft, hungry bellies, and keen baby and had an costly and unappetizing lunch at The Rainforest Cafe as a result of hey, what else are you able to do if you find yourself in Niagara with children however make them glad?
Should you plan on spending a while in Clifton Hill, I’d encourage you to buy the Enjoyable Move, which incorporates admission to 6 points of interest.
Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
Whereas we’re on the subject of retaining the children glad, what child doesn’t love a large indoor waterpark? The Fallsview Indoor Water park is unfold out over two acres and provides 16 water slides, a wave pool, and a large play space for teenagers. You should purchase a resort package deal or purchase particular person day passes for tons of household enjoyable.
Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens
We didn’t go to the Botanical Gardens (we had been saving this for Montreal), however the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens provides over 99 acres of landscaped gardens, together with a butterfly conservatory. The Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory options over 2,000 butterflies from around the globe.
Whirlpool Aero Automotive
Close to the Botanical Gardens, you’ll discover the Whirlpool Aero Automotive. This retro, vintage cable automotive carries you throughout the Niagara River and the swirling waters for the Niagara Whirlpool as you journey 3,500 ft throughout the Niagara Gorge. You’ll really cross the worldwide border 4 instances, however no worries a couple of passport, it really begins and ends in Canada.
White Water Stroll
If you wish to see the ability of the river with out the crowds of the Falls, Niagara Parks additionally provides a White Water Stroll (open seasonally), which provides a quarter-mile-long boardwalk alongside Niagara River’s Class 6 whitewater rapids, a few of the wildest in North America. There are a number of platforms to soak within the roar of the river.
Chook Kingdom is a enjoyable selection for teenagers that love animal encounters and it’s also excellent for cold-weather visits, when lots of the different points of interest are closed for the season. Only a five-minute stroll from the Falls, Chook Kingdom is the world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary.You may heat up within the multi-level rainforest and uncover a whole bunch of tropical birds together with parrots and playful lorikeets.
Tip: A few of these points of interest require advance ticket buy, particularly throughout peak vacationer season, so make sure to plan forward and buy your tickets on-line to keep away from lengthy traces and potential disappointment. Additionally, bear in mind that some points of interest might have age or peak restrictions, so verify forward of time to verify they’re applicable to your kids. For some actually EPIC recollections, attempt a helicopter tour over the falls!
Okay, now you see why I mentioned that the Canadian aspect has it occurring. There may be lots to do to fill your go to to Niagara Falls with children. Nonetheless, that’s not to low cost the U.S. aspect (an excessive amount of). I’m really due a return journey to discover extra of this aspect as a result of I really feel like I don’t give the realm sufficient credit score as a result of there isn’t as a lot that’s walkable from the Falls.
Maid of the Mist
Similar to on the Canadian aspect, the Maid of the Mist boat cruise to the Falls is actually a must-do. Plus, in case you are solely visiting the New York aspect, it’s actually your greatest solution to even see the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. This was actually a spotlight of our journey (see Hannah’s poem down under). However let me inform you in the event you assume the skinny poncho they provide you on the boat goes to maintain you dry you’re utterly incorrect. You get completely soaked, particularly within the entrance. Additionally, the wind blows the mist and water into your face a lot it’s virtually laborious to look immediately into the falls and get some good footage however we did seize a number of. It was a tremendous expertise and an entire thrill. It could sound cliche and too touristy however you don’t go to Niagara to be intellectual so go and revel in it — the Maid of the Mist is a must-do!
Cave of the Winds
The Cave of the Winds is one other not-to-miss attraction on the U.S. aspect of the Falls and I actually want I had chosen this over Journey Behind the Falls. This attraction takes you right down to the bottom of the falls, permitting you to really feel the ability of the water up shut. You might be first outfitted in rain gear after which transported down by elevator to the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls. From there you possibly can climb over a sequence of staircases proper on the backside of the falls. Simply word that you’ll get moist regardless of the rain ponchos! Effectively-fitting, non-skid footwear are important.
Niagara Falls State Park
Acknowledged because the oldest state park in the US, Niagara Falls State Park provides mountain climbing trails, picnic areas, and spectacular views of the falls. The park accommodates the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and a portion of the Horseshoe Falls. That is additionally the place you’ll discover the Remark Tower, Cave of the Winds, the Aquarium, and extra. It’s open year-round and at all times free to stroll round. In season, the Niagara Scenic Trolley additionally provides 30-minute excursions via the park.
Aquarium of Niagara
This small aquarium is a rescue facility and a sanctuary for blind seals. Guests also can see Humboldt penguins, grey seals, harbor seals, sea lions, and lots of species of fish. Younger kids will particularly get pleasure from interacting with the shark and sting ray contact pool.
The place to Keep when Visiting Niagara Falls with Youngsters
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There are undoubtedly extra resort choices in the event you select to remain on the Canadian aspect of Niagara Falls for a household go to. On our journey, we stayed on the 4 Factors by Sheraton on Fallsview Boulevard in Niagara Falls, ON. The resort was effectively situated close to the Fallsview On line casino and only a quick stroll right down to an ideal view of each the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. We loved our keep, particularly as a result of we discovered an incredible deal. If you’re in search of one thing much more centrally situated, these are additionally nice choices. After all, the Nice Wolf Lodge close by is one other nice possibility for a household journey:
Ideas for Visiting Niagara Falls with Youngsters
- If you’re driving throughout the border, be ready for doubtlessly lengthy traces on the border crossing. It helps if you’ll be able to cross at off hours. For instance, we crossed at 10 pm and there was little or no line in comparison with different border crossings we made on that journey.
- Be sure you convey raincoats or ponchos and put on non-slip footwear, particularly when doing actions near the falls. These light-weight plastic ponchos don’t do a lot for retaining you dry! (However they make for cute picture mementos!)
- If you’re contemplating day journeys, I extremely advocate the charming city of Niagara on the Lake. Whereas it’s identified for its many wineries (a few of that are kid-friendly), you may as well hire bikes to experience previous the vineyards or go to Fort George the place children can work together with interpreters in interval costumes.
- Dufferin Islands Park is one other good escape from the hustle and bustle of the principle space round Niagara Falls. These scenic, man-made islands are about half a mile from Horseshoe Falls and supply nature trails, fowl watching, and picnic spots.
- Should you go to within the winter, make sure to go through the Falls Illumination on the Canadian Facet, which takes place from mid-November via mid-February. This options six-minute lighting shows, enjoying 3 times on the prime of the hour, starting at 6 pm, 7 pm, and eight pm through the Winter Pageant of Lights. There are additionally fireworks featured on weekends through the Winter Pageant and over the Christmas Holidays at 8:00 pm, in addition to two reveals on New 12 months’s Eve at 8:00 pm & 12:00 am. The Niagara Falls fireworks shows might be considered from many vantage factors together with outside areas in Niagara Parks, excessive above on the Skylon Tower and Niagara SkyWheel, and indoors on the many lodges and eating places with views of the Falls.
- Niagara Falls USA additionally holds a nightly illumination present “Impressed by Nature,” which is able to showcase pure colours and actions, together with dawn, aurora borealis, rainbow, and sundown. The five-minute lighting show will play 3 times on the half-hour, starting at 9:30 every night, with further reveals at 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30 a.m. You may verify the complete illumination and fireworks schedule on the web site.
Maid of the Mist Poem, by Hannah Gruber
That is the poem my daughter wrote when she was 9, about her expertise on the Maid of the Mist as a college writing task. I discovered it so stunning and true to life that I needed to share it:
As we glide by the American Falls,
Spray hits my face with a easy contact.
The droplets carried on the wind,
glowing within the golden daylight.
As we sail near Niagara Falls,
the thundering crash grows to a roar.
As a splash of river water
sprays my face,
we slide into a complete new world
The dashing waters
of the nice falls
greet us with open arms.
gushing out of the falls,
makes a crashing sheet of water that appears to be
falling from the sky.
I gaze in surprise via the thick haze.
An impressive world of water,
sheet upon sheet
dashing over rocks,
leaping like a dancer
over moss and stones
because it falls to the underside of the river.
We flip and glide out of the mist.
The white foam of the American Falls
slides over rocks
and comes from stone to stone.