Niagara Falls has certainly grown in the last thirty years. As a kid, I remember Niagara Falls being the only real attraction here. This natural wonder of the world consists of two main falls; the semi-circular shaped Horseshoe Falls where bucketed daredevils have been dropped and the smaller American Falls to the left. The Flower Clock, the Maid of the Mist boat rides that take visitors close to the falls were already there, as well as the cable gondola over the whirlpool just a few minutes to the north, but that was it. The Minolta Tower was also there, but the newer Skylon Tower had not yet been built. Niagara Falls was still known as a honeymoon destination with hotels that had heart-shaped hot tubs and other romantic features. Today, the Maid of the Mist and other original attractions are still there, but the city of Niagara Falls has exploded with the growth of hotels and tourist attractions, including a large casino added in recent years.
Niagara Falls is 30 minutes from the Buffalo airport and 90 minutes from the Toronto airport. Although there are hotels on both the US and Canadian sides, most tourist facilities and attractions are located on the Canadian side. The best views of both falls are also from the Canadian side. There are hotels and motels to suit every budget, from large hotel chains, smaller well-known motel chains to independents. The same with the restaurants, as there are many fast food establishments to the most elegant restaurants with views of the falls illuminated in colors during the nights. Attractions now include high-tech rides, an Imax theater, speedboat rides and much more. Some people say that the growth of the tourist side of Niagara Falls has made the destination a bit more mundane with the addition of attractions like miniature golf, museums, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. This is part of Niagara Falls trying to be something for everyone, including families.
Nearby is Marineland, which is the Canadian equivalent of Sea Worlds in Florida and California. This attraction is probably the best of its kind in Canada with marine and land animals. In addition to excellent shows with the standard killer whales, dolphins and sea lions, Marineland added beluga whales from the high Arctic. An often-missed attraction is the nearby town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is a 10-minute drive north. This city of quaint, chic boutiques and home to the Shaw Festival theater is totally different from the busier, more touristy Niagara Falls. One should definitely visit Niagara-on-the-Lake for a nice break from the crowds of the falls area. For bikers and in-line skaters, there is a wonderful trail not to be missed nearby.
For wine enthusiasts, there are numerous wineries in and around the Niagara area of Ontario. Many of these wineries are open to the public for tastings as well as tours of their orchards and facilities. The Niagara area is where Ontario’s famous ice wines are made. If you haven’t tried this premium dessert wine made from frozen grapes harvested in the middle of the Canadian winter, there are plenty of opportunities to do so here in the Niagara region, both at the wineries that make them and the many restaurants that offer them. .
Niagara Falls is still a big draw, but there is so much more to see and do besides the usual tourist activities that are so heavily promoted. If you haven’t been to Niagara Falls, it is
definitely worth a visit, especially if added with a trip to Toronto. For those who have been to Niagara Falls but haven’t been in many years, a return visit will reveal much more than ever before, especially surrounding areas like Niagara-on-the-Lake that might have been missed before. excursions.