is one of the great natural wonders of the world, and also one of North America’s favorite tourist destinations. If you are planning a vacation to Niagara Falls, Ontario, the Niagara Parks system offers everything you need to fully enjoy the natural beauties of the Falls. Serving the Niagara region since they were first commissioned in 1885 as a self-funded organization, they have been improving themselves with every passing year.
The Falls themselves are of course the main attraction. With not one but three gorgeous waterfalls, it is certainly a site to behold. The American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian or Horseshoe Falls, with a volume of 600,000 gallons of water per second making it the largest waterfall in the world, any tourist to Niagara is in for a feast for the eyes.
With Falls Illumination, it is an even more beautiful site to behold. Every night the Falls are lit up with bright coloured lights which make the Falls visible in the darkness. In addition there are fireworks displays regularly throughout the year. You can find exact times at the Niagara Parks web site, listed below.
For the more daring, Niagara Parks offers two ways to get up close and personal with the Falls. For only $10 CAD, Journey Behind the Falls takes you underneath the Falls. You will not believe the rush when you realize that 600,000 gallons of water are rushing over your head every second, and you can see the water crash down with frightening force right before your eyes. It is truly the experience of a lifetime.
To add to the excitement there is the famous Maid of the Mist boat tour, which takes you right up to the base of the Falls for only $13.00 CAD. You have never been on a boat ride like this before. For a truly powerful and intimate experience with the Falls, there is no better option.
Beyond the Falls
But the Falls are only part of the natural beauty before your eyes. Downstream from the Falls lies the Great Gorge, including the famous Niagara Whirlpool and some of the most powerful stretches of whitewater in the world. For an aerial view you can take the Whirlpool Aerocar for onl $10 CAD. If you are interested in getting right up next to the whitewater from the ground, try the Whitewater Walk for onl $7.50.
The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is another incredible place. With over 2000 free flying butterflies surrounding you as soon as you enter, it is like stepping into a whole other world. It only $10 CAD for a one of a kind experience.
If you’re interested in taking part of all of these attractions, the Niagara Falls & Great Gorge Adventure Pass is an excellent idea. For only $35 CAD, you get tickets for Journey Behind the Falls, the Maid of the Mist, the Whitewater Walk and the Butterfly Conservatory, with discount coupons for the Whirlpool AeroCar and free transportation on the People Mover and the Incline Railway. You get more than a full day’s worth of activities and transportation for the price of dinner. The Adventure Pass is available all summer long and is a great deal for getting the most out of your Niagara Falls vacation.
Free Niagara Falls Attractions
So far we have only discussed the attractions that cost money, but with Niagara Parks there is much more. The revenues generated from the above mentioned attractions are used to pay for the wide number of free services and natural areas which Niagara Parks has to offer.
If you are a history lover, the Niagara Heritage Trail is an exciting trip into the fascinating history of the Falls and the Niagara region and see it firsthand. Learn about the legendary Laura Secord, see the Mackenzie Heritage Printery and Newspaper Museum, even visit Chippewa Battlefield Park.
Upstream from the Falls are the beautiful Dufferin Islands. With over ten acres of trails and scenery, it is the perfect place to go for a picnic, take a relaxing walk or both. It is also a great place to enjoy the aerial wildlife of the Niagara region, especially if you bring along a few pieces of bread.
Along the top of the Falls you will also find the Niagara Parks Greenhouse, which showcases a variety of plants and birds. It also provides a refreshing escape if you are on a long walk in the heat. It is associated with the world renowned Niagara School of Horticulture.
If you are interested in taking a walk through the Great Gorge, but don’t want to pay for the Whitewater Walk, there is Niagara Glen located just a few kilometers downstream from the Falls. During the summer months there are guided tours of the Gorge rim, and you can even walk down into the Gorge and experience the mighty Niagara River firsthand. If you are a hiker you definitely will want to make sure you take a hike here.
Niagara Parks has even more to offer. Queenston Heights offers great picnicing among the great monuments of Canadian history. For nature lovers, there is King’s Bridge Park and Queen Victoria Park. And of course no one can forget the Floral Clock, open from April until September and features two different designs every year.
There are many different attractions in Niagara Falls, Ontario, but if you want to get the most out of the natural beauty of the Falls, then the Niagara Parks system is your ticket. While you don’t have to take advantage of their services to enjoy you vacation to Niagara Falls, Ontario they are certainly worth your time.