Niagara Falls: A Natural Wonder Not to Be Missed
The world is full of amazing things, but nothing surpasses what nature has given us. Take a simple day trip—or string together a longer vacation—to enjoy the natural wonder of Niagara Falls.
Whether you have a weekend or several days, this 400-acre park provides plenty of activities to fill your time. You can view the falls and get wet from the Hurricane Deck; hike the paths (download the walking tour app from the App Store or Google Play); learn about the history of the falls with interactive displays at the Discovery Center; explore the ruins of a former power station in the Niagara Gorge; and so much more. Consider purchasing a Discovery Pass if you’re interested in experiencing all the attractions, like the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds, and you’ll get a better rate.
The park and falls are free to visit. Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of Central Park, designed the grounds, which include gardens and more than 15 miles of walking trails.
Cave of the Winds
This experience gets you close to the falls . . . in fact, even with the souvenir sandals and yellow rain ponchos provided, you might get wet. After an elevator takes you down 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge, a guide will lead you through wooden walkways to the Hurricane Deck, where you’ll be about 20 feet away from Bridal Veil Falls. You can also visit the World Changed Here Pavilion, an indoor multimedia experience shows you how Nikola Tesla harnessed the power of the falls, what the falls looked like before becoming an attraction, and more. The Gorge Walk is seasonal. Find out more here.
Maid of the Mist
The first Maid of the Mist—initially a steamboat—was built in 1846 to carry people and cargo across the Niagara River. When a suspension bridge took away its need, the boat began ferrying sightseers. Today, getting close to the thundering falls is still big business, with more than 1.6 million tourists taking in the view as water rains down on their poncho-clad forms. Even the famous enjoy the spectacle, with actor Hugh Jackman, singer Mick Jagger, and former president Jimmy Carter just some of the luminaries who have enjoyed the boat ride past the American falls into the basin of Horseshoe Falls. Departures are every 15 minutes, and tours last for about 20 minutes. The hooded rain poncho is yours to keep as a souvenir (seasonal).
For all there is to see and do at Niagara Falls, check out the state park’s website.
Discover New York state’s unique attractions, including Niagara Falls, with Sandra Mardenfeld’s book New York York Day Trips by Theme.
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