Niagara Falls, Canada is the perfect destination for a family vacation. With American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls right across the border in the United States, and the iconic Horseshoe Falls straddling the border, Niagara Falls offers some of the continent’s most breathtaking natural majesty.
But that’s not all you’ll find in this popular destination city. Niagara Falls also boasts family-friendly attractions to suit all tastes. Here are five of the most popular Niagara Falls attractions you and your kids will love:
1) Fallsview Indoor Water Park
The Falls are beautiful, but you can’t exactly dive into them! The Fallsview Indoor Water Park has been voted Travelers’ choice by TripAdvisor five years running, and #1 in Amusement Parks & Water Parks in Canada for two years in a row – and for good reason! This massive park features three acres of indoor aquatic fun, including a large indoor wave pool, 16 water slides, and play areas for kids of all ages. Enjoy an outdoor pool with a patio that’s heated in winter, or soak those sore muscles in one of the facility’s two whirlpool hot tubs. Best of all, the waterpark is directly connected to some of the area’s best hotels.
2) Hornblower Boat Tour of the Falls
You haven’t really seen the falls until you’ve seen them up close on the Hornblower Boat Tour. Hornblower cruises are the Canadian equivalent of Maid of the Mist boat tours, which are conducted on the American side of the Falls. Hornblower tours take you as close to the magnificent Horseshoe Falls as you can get, aboard a 700-passenger catamaran or a 145-passenger jet boat. This tour will take you past American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, and straight into the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. Choose a nighttime cruise for Falls Illumination or Falls Fireworks viewing.
3) Journey Behind the Falls
Now that you’ve been up close and personal with the falls by boat, it’s time to go there on foot. At Journey Behind the Falls, you’ll climb down 125 feet to explore tunnels in the bedrock behind the Falls that are 130 years old. Experience the thundering of the mighty, 13-storey-tall Falls from the observation deck, and peek through the viewing portals to get an unbeatable view of 3,662 cubic yards (2,800 cubic meters) of water falling each second at speeds reaching 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour.
4) Clifton Hill
Clifton Hill combines six family-friendly Niagara Falls attractions in one location, minutes away from the Falls. Here you’ll find the Great Canadian Midway, a 70,000 square foot (6,500 square meter) arcade featuring dozens of games to keep the kids occupied for hours. Other attractions on Clifton Hill include the Niagara Skywheel, which offers stunning views of the Falls from its climate controlled cabins which soar to a height of 175 feet (53 meters). Save the world from the living dead at Zombie Attack, a sensory adventure that allows you to take aim at zombies rendered in 6D graphics. Challenge the kids to a game of mini-golf at Canada’s largest mini golf attraction, Dinosaur Adventure Golf, which features two 18-hole mini golf courses and a volcano that really erupts – but don’t worry, it’s only steam!
Looking for something a bit more sedate? Spend an afternoon relaxing in Queen Victoria Park, where visitors can enjoy great views of the Falls, as well as stunning beds planted with thousands of beautiful flowers.
5) Butterfly Conservatory
The Butterfly Conservatory, found on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden, is home to more than 2,000 butterflies of over 45 species. Many of the butterflies here come from far-flung parts of the globe, so you’ll get the chance to view brightly-colored, tropical butterflies you wouldn’t see elsewhere. You’ll enjoy a self-guided walking tour of the facility, which includes such attractions as the emergence window, where visitors can watch butterflies leave their chrysalises, dry their wings, and take their first flights.
Are you planning your next family vacation? If so, consider a trip to Niagara Falls. It’s a great destination for families, with ample opportunities to entertain and educate the kids. With water parks, arcades, mini golf, beautiful public parks, and the Falls themselves, you won’t be left wondering what to do next in Niagara Falls.
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.