Saturday, September 12, 2015

Niagara Falls, Canada

There’s no shortage of tourist traps in Niagara Falls, but the good news is that there is also plenty of amazing things to do and see. Here are the kid-friendly attractions worth your money.

What to Do

There are two cruise lines, Hornblower and Maid of the Mist (one on each side of the border), that run boats right up to the falls. Their experiences are supposedly comparable, and we went with Hornblower, on the Canadian side. The ride did not disappoint – just when you think you’ve gone as near as you can to the falls, the boat brings you up right alongside it, and everyone will get wet! The kids, being kids, were delighted about getting soaked.

Another way to see the falls is to walk right up it, which is what the awesome Cave of the Winds attraction on the American side offers. Climb the wooden stairs as the waterfall gushes right over your feet – they give you flip-flops to wear for a reason! There’s also the option to stroll alongside the rushing waters at White Water Walk.

Of course, no trip to Niagara is complete without a stroll down the major tourist promenade, Clifton Hill. The attractions may be cheesy, but kids have a strong stomach for cheese and will delight in everything from the SkyWheel to the Upside-Down House.

What to Eat

There are a surprising number of excellent restaurants in the Niagara Falls area. Two of our favorites, Picadilly and Napoli, are right next door to each other. Picadilly serves British pub food, while Napoli offers homey Italian cuisine. Both deliver large portions for not that much money and are very family friendly.

Another unexpected delight is Paris Crêpes Café, which simulates the cozy Parisian bistro experience fairly well. There’s something for everyone here: sweet or savory crêpes that the kids will gobble up, and bistro classics such as duck confit or beef bourguignon to make the adults feel like they're actually on vacation. 

What’s Nearby

When you’ve tired of viewing the falls from every angle, head slightly north to the beautiful Botanical Gardens, home to the Butterfly Conservatory, which houses more than 2,000 butterflies. The attraction is a true delight, as butterflies will land on your head or shoulder without warning.