Are You Brave Enough for Niagara Falls’ Newest Daredevil Water Sport?

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NFHblog3.jpegIf you’ve ever wanted to soar high into the air via jetpack, you’re in luck — the latest extreme water sport craze has come to Niagara Falls. Flyboarding, which allows you to rise to heights of 35 feet on a water-powered board, has been taking the world by storm. Now, with help from FlyBoard Niagara, you can be the first of your friends to try the new sports craze.

What Is Flyboarding?

Flyboarding was invented in 2011 by French personal watercraft racer Franky Zapata. The device is powered by the engine of a Jet Ski, which forces water through a hose attached to the bottom of the flyboard. A handheld throttle allows the rider to control twin jets of water that can propel him or her up to 35 feet into the air or 35 feet under the water. The rider is secured to the flyboard via bindings similar to those found on a wakeboard. Bending and swaying allow the rider to move about in the air.

With practice, the flyboard rider can do more than just launch him or herself into the air. He or she can do tricks, such as backflips, or dive in and out of the water like a human dolphin. Though it might seem intimidating, it doesn’t take long to learn to flyboard. The typical flyboarding session runs about half an hour, and most people get the hang of the device in about 15 minutes.

Flyboard in Niagara Falls

NFHblog4.jpegWhen you’re planning your trip to Niagara Falls, don’t forget to make time on your itinerary to try flyboarding. If you love extreme sports or water sports in general, you’ll love flyboarding. Craig Bagshaw launched FlyBoard Niagara earlier this summer, along with partner Rodney Moore. Bagshaw runs the business out of the Greater Niagara Boating Club.

Bagshaw left his full-time job operating heavy equipment to open FlyBoard Niagara. Since his partner, Moore, still works full-time, Craig Bagshaw gets some help running the business from his son, 17-year-old Tyler. The younger Bagshaw is adept at performing flyboard tricks; when business is slow, he helps drum up customers with his demonstrations. Tyler also drives the Jet Ski that powers the flyboard.

Flyboarding rates are set by the Zapata Racing Company, which sells franchises like the one Bagshaw and Moore own. A 30-minute, one-person flyboarding session costs $149, while a 60-minute session, which can be split between two people, costs $249.

The device can accommodate riders of all shapes and sizes. FlyBoard Niagara welcomes teenage flyboarders, as long as they have their parents’ permission to try the sport. Riders will be welcomed every day for the rest of the summer.

If you’re traveling to Niagara Falls this summer, don’t miss your chance to try flyboarding, an exciting new water sport that lets you leap through the air and water like a dolphin, or fly around like a superhero. This latest addition to the area’s attractions is just one more reason to visit Niagara Falls — as if you needed another.

All About This Summer’s [NO] VACANCY Exhibition in Niagara Falls

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NFHblog1.jpegFor over 200 years, honeymooners and tourists have flocked to Niagara Falls, drawn by the area’s natural majesty. Naturally, the tourist industry in the region has flourished. Numerous attractions have vied for attention from tourists to Niagara Falls over the years, but the area’s motels have always benefitted perhaps the most from the tourism industry.

The heyday of motel culture in North America also coincided with the heyday of Niagara Falls’ popularity as a honeymoon destination, between the 1920s and 1950s, when cars became popular and the release of the Marilyn Monroe film, “Niagara,” bolstered the falls’ reputation as a romantic destination. The [NO] VACANCY Exhibition, currently open at the Niagara Falls History Museum and the Niagara Artists Centre, offers you the chance to explore how your modern Niagara Falls hotel room evolved from the motel of yesteryear.

Where and When to See the Exhibition

The [NO] VACANCY Exhibition consist of two installations: one at the Niagara Falls History Museum and one at the Niagara Artists Centre. If you’re the nostalgic type, don’t miss the interactive exhibit at the Niagara Falls History Museum, located at 5810 Ferry St. on the Canadian side of the border. This half of the exhibition will explore the history of motels and motel culture in Niagara Falls.

You’ll get to follow the industry’s peaks and valleys as you learn about the experiences of tourists visiting the falls in the early half of the 20th century. You’ll get a firsthand look at the clothing, furniture, decor and cars of the period. You’ll hear the personal stories of Niagara Falls tourists visiting at the height of motel culture. Finally, you’ll learn how the architecture of the motel boom survives in Niagara Falls today. This part of the exhibition is open from May 17 to September 7, 2014.

The second part of the Exhibition, at the Niagara Artists Centre, examines the state of the Niagara motel industry today. The exhibition consists of member installations and a photography exhibit by artists Zach Slootsky and Oliver Pauk. This part of the exhibition is open from June 21 to September 20 at the Niagara Artists Centre at 354 St. Paul Street in St. Catharines, ON.

A Tourism Destination for Centuries

NFHblog2.jpegTourists have been flocking to Niagara Falls since the early 1800s, when Theodosia, the daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr, visited the falls for her honeymoon in 1801. Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, also honeymooned here with his American wife in 1804. Since then, tourism has become inextricably woven into the fabric of the community, with Niagara Falls becoming one of the world’s most popular destinations for honeymoons and weddings. For many newlyweds visiting the falls today, honeymooning here has become a family tradition.

If you’re visiting Niagara Falls this summer, you have a rare opportunity to delve into the history of motel and car culture in North America in general and Niagara Falls in particular. Take in the [NO] VACANCY Exhibition at the Niagara Falls History Museum and the Niagara Artists Centre, and get a glimpse of the falls as your parents or grandparents would have seen them.

Capture the Moment: Amazing Photo Spots in Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls has long been on the list of the best areas in the world to take photos. From the mighty falls themselves to all of the other lovely places in our city, a shutterbug won’t be disappointed with the wide array of amazing places that just beg to be captured on film, or memory card.

Whether you’re a professional photographer with an arsenal of equipment, or you just simply love to have great photos of your family’s adventures, you’ll find a wealth of incredible places to preserve for your scrapbook or portfolio. Beautiful gardens, local parks, and hiking trails are all wonderful places for an impromptu photo shoot.

While you’re sure to have your camera at the ready to capture every moment of your visit, consider some of these places in Niagara that will make that photo journal even that much more spectacular and memorable.

Queen Victoria Park

queen-victoria-parkOne of the loveliest parks in Niagara, Queen Victoria Park is the perfect place to capture the beauty that abounds in our area. The park is open year around, which allows visitors to experience the park and its beauty in all seasons.

Spring is one of the best times to photograph the park, as it comes alive with hundreds of thousands of daffodils in full bloom. Summer sees the thriving rose gardens and the myriad plants that make up the park’s famous carpet bedding. The bright colors of the changing leaves in autumn make for stunning photos, especially when they’re taken in the golden light of early morning. Winter photos can be spectacular here, especially when combined with the freezing mist of the falls as a backdrop.

Niagara Falls State Park

If you enjoy photographing the world in all of its natural beauty then a trip to the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center will be perfect. With miles of hiking trails that suit all abilities and offer varying spectacular vistas, this is the place to get close to the nature that abounds in our neck of the woods.

From the easy stroll that is the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook hike to the more challenging Whirlpool Rapids Adventure hike you will be snapping your shutter over and over. At their best in the summer months these trails offer incredible views and some potential encounters with local wildlife. Some guided hikes are available for a small fee, and some of the more difficult trails do enforce age requirements.

Horseshoe FallsHorseshoe Falls

Of course when any photo enthusiast visits Niagara they want to take stunning pictures of the falls themselves. One of the best places to get as close as possible to the iconic falls is at Horseshoe Falls, which offers guests the chance to get behind the falls. This experience is bound to result in stunning photos of the cascades of water tumbling down.

Goat Island is a wonderful vantage point from which to capture incredible images of both the American and Bridal Veil waterfalls. The island is also home to the Cave of the Winds and other natural sites that have inspired wonderful photos throughout the years.

The Niagara area is filled with incredible sights and experiences that you’ll want to remember for years to come. Keep your camera batteries charged and be ready to click away as you enjoy some of the most beautiful places that the region has to offer.

Getting Around: Transportation Options in Niagara Falls

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Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls

One of the biggest concerns for some vacationers in various cities can be the issue of local transportation. Unfamiliarity with the layout of the city and its various hotspots can be daunting for some, especially those who would prefer to use public transport.

Luckily for visitors to Niagara Falls, these concerns can be immediately alleviated due to the stellar public transport system that exists in our city. Options are typically available year around that ferry visitors and locals alike to all of the major tourist attractions and to lesser known areas around Niagara Falls. If you’ve been thinking about local transport for your next visit, look no further than this complete run down of all of the options available for you and your family.

WEGO Bus System

Operating all year, the WEGO bus system is the best and easiest way to for visitors to access all of the sights and historic attractions throughout the city of Niagara Falls. This comprehensive bus system replaces the Peoplemover busses that many tourists have grown to love, but it offers us a much easier and more integrated way to get around the Canadian side of the falls.

Niagara Falls Peoplemover

Niagara Falls Peoplemover

Not only does the WEGO bus line offer service to and from all areas near the iconic waterfall but it also serves the area to the west of the falls where many campgrounds and hotels are located. This allows visitors who prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of Niagara to access the city when they choose. WEGO Bus also services the bus and train stations which will help you get to your hotel with ease.

Twenty-four–hour tickets for the WEGO Bus can be purchased at most hotels. Adult tickets are $7.00, children ages of 6 and 12 are $4.00, and children under 5 years ride for free.

Shuttle Buses

For those visitors who would like to explore the areas outside the city of Niagara there are several shuttle-bus options. Between May and October a daily shuttle operates between the falls and Niagara on the Lake. Tickets can be purchased at the Floral Clock for the outbound trip, or at Fort George for the return trip. Tickets are $10.00 round trip for adults and $6.00 round trip for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Again, children younger than 5 are free.

If you’d like to visit Fort Erie

, there is a fantastic shuttle that operates between June 21 and August 31. Departing from Table Rock the shuttle passes by some of the most historic parts of the area and a guide is on board to provide interesting commentary about the region. This shuttle is particularly popular with cyclists, as they can bring their bikes on the bus and ride back. Advanced reservations are required for this shuttle, and the price is $5.00 one way or $10.00 round trip. Shuttle tickets do not include the entrance fee for Fort Erie.

Taxis

For quick transport around the city of Niagara nothing beats our fleet of friendly and efficient taxis. Cabs can be hailed from almost anywhere, hotel concierge can easily phone one to meet you, or you can book online. The drivers are knowledgeable and always willing to offer sightseeing advice, and taxis accept credit and debit cards for payment.

When you visit Niagara with your family the last thing you want to think about is how you’ll get around to all of the amazing sights and activities. Now you can relax and really enjoy your stay because we’ve got the transportation all worked out.

Quirky Niagara Falls

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One of the best things about visiting a new place is discovering all of the strange and unusual things that make up a town or city’s history and landscape. Niagara Falls is no exception to this rule, as we have an abundance of interesting sights and activities that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

While our little city might not have a monopoly on the strange and unusual, we certainly do have our fair share of interesting things to see and do that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. This is great news for the intrepid adventurer who likes to add unusual experiences to their travels.
If you’re interested in seeing a bit of Niagara’s quirky side consider some of these activities during your next visit.

The Whirlpool Aero Car

Whirlpool Aero Car

Whirlpool Aero Car

Operated since 1916 the Whirlpool Aero Car offers visitors a one of a kind view of the swirling whirlpools and rapids that form in the Niagara River. Once the thousands of gallons of water pour over the falls, the water is then forced through a narrow channel which results in a riotous display of natural wonder.

The sturdy cable car suspends passengers above the river and the round trip distance is about one kilometer. The car holds forty people at a time and the trip takes about ten minutes to complete. This attraction is open from March through November, but may be closed at various times due to extreme weather.

The Flying Saucer

If you’ve always wanted to dine in a flying saucer, or you’re just a fan of great food at great prices, then a visit to the Flying Saucer Restaurant is a must during your stay. Opened forty years ago the Flying Saucer is now a Niagara institution that is loved by locals and visitors alike.

The quirky, alien themed decor is fun and festive, and the classic diner fare is delicious and affordable. The restaurant is open daily from 6 a.m. and also offers late night dining until 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends. Located on Lundy Road, the Flying Saucer also offers delivery service if you prefer to eat in your hotel.

Niagara Power Project

Niagara Power Project

Niagara Power Project

One of the most interesting things to see in Niagara, and one that will appeal to young and old alike is the Niagara Power Project located in New York. With an exciting array of displays and interactive exhibits illustrating the great capacity of the Niagara River to generate electricity this is an experience not to be missed during your visit.

Visitors can tour the facility and get an incredible view of the river as it flows into and out of the power plant. Learn more about how hydroelectric power is generated, as well as the history of the river and the geology that was and is still responsible for the formation of the massive falls.
The Power Project is open all year, except for major holidays.

While it’s easy to fill your time with fun things to do while you visit Niagara, isn’t it also fun to add a few unusual activities to the mix? Consider one or all of these interesting things during your next trip, and you’re bound to have the experience of a lifetime.

A Packing List for All Seasons in Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls from Above

Niagara Falls from Above

For many people one of the most difficult things about traveling is packing for it. Sometimes it’s hard to be certain of what you will and won’t need, and this problem can be compounded when you must also consider the type of weather you’ll experience at your destination.

When you’re planning your trip to Niagara it can be difficult to determine what you should pack, and what you should leave at home. In order to make your visit to Niagara as fun and as hassle free as possible we’ve come up with a list of things that you will probably need while you’re here, and things that will help make your visit the best it can possibly be, no matter what time of year you visit.

Spring

As Niagara slowly comes alive after a long winter tourists also begin to arrive in high numbers. Spring is one of the best times to visit, as the flowers begin to bloom and the weather starts to warm up. However, spring can be a fickle season here, so you’ll need to be prepared for various types of weather.

Temperatures between March and June can be as low as 32 degrees or as high as 72 degrees. Because of the wide range of temperature, you’ll need to pack more. Bring a jacket or sweater, long pants, and a hat and scarf for the cooler temperatures of the evenings and early mornings. Because it’s likely that the temperature will increase throughout the day, dress in layers so you’ll be able shed your outerwear as the day wears on.

Summer

Summers in Niagara are generally more mild than other places in the world, but the temperatures can get into the 90s and the humidity can be high so it’s best to pack accordingly. Bring shorts and T-shirts for the entire family, as well as sturdy and comfortable walking or hiking shoes. Hats are a must to protect you from the sun, as are umbrellas for the occasional thunderstorm.

Many people visit Niagara in the summer time to take part in various sporting activities. If you plan to play golf or tennis during your visit be sure to bring your clothing and equipment so you can hit the links or the court whenever you’d like.

Niagara Falls BinocularsAutumn

Autumn is a delightful time to visit the Niagara area, as the heat of the summer fades away and the beautiful colors of the changing leaves can be seen everywhere you look. The temperatures are similar to those of spring, with pleasant days and cool nights. Layered clothing is a good idea during autumn, and jackets are a must.

Rain storms can occur with some frequency during the autumn, so you may want to bring a raincoat and hat. These waterproof-garments can also serve you well during your tours of the falls themselves.

Winter

Winter is the least busy time for tourism in Niagara, mainly due to the frigid temperatures. For the hardy traveler this can mean big savings on hotels and activities, and a chance to explore an uncrowded Niagara Falls.
Bring the warmest clothing that you have, and that should include coats, hats, gloves, and boots, as well as layering items. The mist that surrounds the falls in the winter time will freeze solid on any available surface, and that surface could be you! Make sure that you cover your hands, head, and face if you want to get close to the falls.

Snowstorms are also frequent occurrences during the winter months, so prepared for all types of wintery weather.
In addition to packing for the weather it’s important to bring the essentials, as well. Sunscreen, medications, and passports and other identifying documents should always be in your luggage. Once you’ve decided what to pack, it’s time to come visit Niagara, the perfect place for all seasons!

Best Places To Watch Canada’s Longest Running Fireworks Display in Niagara Falls

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fireworksnfSummer is jam packed with events but one you won’t want to miss is the Falls Fireworks Illuminations. All throughout the summer you can catch a glimpse of the Falls in an unforgettable way – lit up by beautiful fireworks.

The fireworks displays take place every Friday and Sunday evening through the summer but special holiday shows occur on:

  • Canada Day – July 1
  • Independence Day – July 4
  • Civic Holiday – August 4
  • Labour Day – September 1

Once you’ve picked when you want to watch the fireworks, the next part is figuring out the best place to view them. There are tons of different spots and all of them will provide a thrilling and mesmerizing view but we’ve picked out a few extra special spots with incredible sightlines:

The Table Rock Welcome Centre: Offering a spot close to the live music concert and the fireworks, you can sit on the grass, eat some ice-cream and watch the fireworks explode high above the falls right in front of you.

  • Hornblower Niagara Cruises: This brand new experience gives you the chance to see the fireworks high above as you cruise in the water below. Experience both the Falls and the fireworks at once on this newly launched cruise option!
  • Windows: With a scenic view of the Falls right at your table, sip on a cocktail or enjoy hand-crafted meals as the sky and the Falls light up in front of you.
  • Niagara SkyWheel: Located on Clifton Hill, you’ll soar high above the ground, relaxing in your seat as the sky explodes in colour above the falls.
  • Niagara Parkway: Walk along the beautifully landscaped parkway and get a view of the Falls from all angles. Grab a seat anytime on a bench to enjoy the view!

Make sure to check out the famous fireworks during your next visit to Niagara Falls for an experience that you’ll never forget.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Niagara Falls

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Sunrise over Niagara Falls

Sunrise over Niagara Falls

Many people know that Niagara is the honeymoon capital of the world but there are many more interesting facts about Niagara Falls than just that. For example, did you know that there are three separate falls that constitute the Niagara Falls? Did you know that there is a city called Niagara Falls in both Ontario, Canada and New York, USA? Niagara Falls has something for the conqueror, scientist, record keeper, historian and engineer.

The Conqueror

Although it is illegal and extremely dangerous to go over the Falls, several people have tried it. The first one to do so successfully, or without being killed that is, was a 63 year old female school teacher who used an empty barrel. Several people have tightrope walked the Falls including the first person in 1859 and the most recent in 2012. The tightrope walker in 2012 received permission from the governments of both Canada and the U.S. and presented his passport upon landing on Canadian soil to make it a legal entry.

The Scientist

The Niagara River itself is estimated to be only 12,000 years old and will erode completely within 50,000 more at the current rate of erosion. It was formed by glaciers two to three kilometers thick that gouged out the great lakes and left massive scoring in their wake when they receded. During the winter, the river can appear to completely freeze over — but this is actually the accumulation of condensed and frozen mist that can build outwards from the banks to form a bridge of sorts. In the past, this ice bridge became so strong that tourists were allowed to walk on the ice.

The Record Keeper

Journey Behind The Falls

Journey Behind The Falls

The three waterfalls of Niagara Falls put together produce the highest flow rate of any waterfall on Earth at a grand total of 2,839,058 liters of water per second. This is of course an average flow since the actual flow fluctuates constantly due to a variety of factors. The factors include time of year, time of day and the amount of water diverted for hydroelectric usage, among other causes. These falls are also the second largest in the world behind Victoria Falls in South Africa.

The Historian

During the Anglo-American War of 1812 the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, also known as the Battle of Niagara Falls was fought in the area. It was one of the deadliest battles ever fought on Canadian soil and one of the bloodiest of the war. Even though the casualty count was relatively similar between the armies, the British won a strategic victory. American forces initially took and held the high hill upon which British cannon had been placed. However, the Americans abandoned the position to a numerically superior British force. However, the battle proved that American forces had evolved into a highly professional army within a relatively short time. For further study the War of 1812 Museum provides a wealth of information for any who seek to visit.

The Engineer

Hydroelectric power has been utilized at Niagara Falls since 1759 and currently generates 2.7 million kilowatts in the U.S. and 2.338 kilowatts in Canada. The first use of the power was by Daniel Joncairs on the American side, who powered a small sawmill via waterwheel. Currently, there are five power generation stations in Canada and two in the U.S. Altogether these generating stations produce more than one-fourth of all power used in Ontario and New York. For more information or to learn about touring modern or retired facilities you can look here.

Upcoming Music Events in Niagara Falls

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gladys_knightNiagara Falls has always been known for welcoming musical acts of all types. Fostering musical talent and featuring artists and shows is a way Niagara Falls contributes to the community and ensures that its the top destination for visitors all year round. That said, summer season is especially busy as music events begin to ramp up.

Starting on the weekend of June 13-15, the Willowbank 11th Annual Jazz Festival kicks into high gear. Located in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake, this jazz festival will star: The John Sherwood Quartet featuring Jackie Richardson, Russ Little & His Quartet, Ross Wooldridge and His Tribute to Benny Goodman Sextet and Ross & His Rogues’ Dixieland Jazz Band.

For fans of soul, check out Gladys Knight at the Avalon Ballroom theatre at Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort on June 20-21. The Grammy-Award winner will be singing her hits such as Midnight Train to Georgia. This will be a performance that can’t be missed!

For an international style concert see Sally Yeh, Hong Kong’s sensation performing some of her big hits. Opt for something different by seeing Sally in her element and enjoy music that originates from the other side of the world.

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to your favourite hits from the 60’s live with Little Anthony & The Imperials. This evening of blues and soul music will have you reminiscing about the 60’s in no time.

With live music, exciting entertainment and amazing natural beauty, Niagara Falls has it all! Visit us this summer and experience the musical events and talent that can only be found and enjoyed in this amazing part of the world!

Prepare for the Weather of Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls is beautiful to visit year round. Whether it’s during the summer when the trees and plants are lush and green, the winter when the stark landscape paints an image of the brutal beauty inherent in the powers of nature. In the fall the trees begin to turn and cast their multi-hued affect upon their surroundings. Spring can show the promise Niagara Falls Rainbowof things to come beside the Falls, when the eternal shout of water and rock resonates with the potential of the future. Regardless of when you’re going, you’ll want to come prepared because there’s nothing to put a damper on vacation like unpacking Bermuda shorts in a snowstorm.

Summer

The Summer months range from warm to hot and lend themselves well to activities like boat rides to view the Falls, golf, vineyard tours, park strolls, gardens and outdoor shopping or general pool lounging. Although I recommend allowing a little space in your bags to pack anything you may pick up while you stay in Niagara Falls, this should be especially easy during the summer months. There will be no need to take up space with anything other than a light sweater in case temperatures drop below the nightly average of 15.5 degrees Celsius (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Although, a pair of shorts is highly recommended to anyone who isn’t hailing from truly hot climates as the daily highs average between 24.5 C and 27.5 C (76.1-81.5 F) depending on the month.

Spring & Fall

Spring and fall are roughly equivalent. They are potentially the most difficult seasons to predict in terms of weather, Frozen Niagara Fallsas you may look up to see snow flurries or the piercing rays of the sun. The record highs and lows extend over the greatest potential space during these two times of year so you should bring a little bit of everything and look to the weather report just before heading out the door.

Winter

The winter months are warmer than many other places of similar latitude, like the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The average low in the winter is below freezing with temperatures that range between -4.1 and -7.8 C (24.6-18 F) on average. The days average around or above freezing. However, don’t let that stop you; it’s arguably the most scenic time of year, and many hotels offer discounts due to the low customer base during the winter months. Remember to bring snow clothing as there is precipitation as much as half of the time. This would be one of the best times of year for viewing the falls from the Skylon Tower or visiting the Butterfly Sanctuary which have cozy views of the Falls and seemingly impossible amounts of tropical butterflies, respectively.

All in all Niagara is a gorgeous place to visit that is home to one of the world’s most scenic natural wonders and is sure to please anyone who brings the appropriate materials. Ultimately, if you are caught unprepared, there is sure to be a store in the area that will help you out with a few articles of whatever you may need.