Niagara Falls, known since the late 1880s as the “Honeymoon Capital of the World” for its romantic grandiosity, is often cited as the world’s “eighth wonder.” The magnificent falls draws more than 12 million visitors a year, for its breathtaking views and sheer grandness of its magnitude. Plus, there are dozens of fun activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy, from winery visits, to water park outings, to boat tours around the falls. Read on for 10 fun tidbits of Niagara Falls to remember on your next visit.
1. Niagara Falls Consists of 3 Waterfalls
Did you know that Niagara Falls is actually a collection of waterfalls and not just a single waterfall? Niagara Falls straddles the border between Canada and the United States and consists of American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Canadian Falls, also called Horseshoe Falls. Niagara River, where all three falls originate from, receives water from four of the Great Lakes — Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie – before the water empties into Lake Ontario.
2. Niagara Falls Has the World’s Highest Flow Rate
About 28 million liters, or about 700,000 gallons, of water travel down Niagara Falls every second. It is thought to be the world’s fastest-moving waterfall. The Horseshoe Falls is the tallest waterfall at 188 feet (57 metres) tall and 170 feet (52 metres) deep. Niagara Falls itself started forming around 12,000 years ago, from glacier activity.
3. Niagara Falls Is a Hydropower Source
Niagara Falls produces large amounts of electricity and had its first hydroelectric station built on Niagara River in 1881. Today, it produces about one-fourth of the electricity for the state of New York and Canadian province Ontario, and several hydropower plants in and around Niagara Falls produce electricity for America and Canada. In the summer, hydroelectric stations divert less water so there is a grander water flow for visitors to see. At night, less water flows through Niagara Falls so that power generation intake increases.
4. There Have Been 5 Tightrope Walks Over Niagara Falls
The first tightrope walk was in 1859, when Charles Blondin wore pink tights and walked a tightrope that was barely an inch thick over a section of Niagara Falls. Blondin went on to traverse Niagara Falls several more times, including one trip that was blindfolded. Nik Wallenda became the first person to tightrope walk over the Niagara Falls in 2012. Wallenda did his walk in front of a live audience of tens of thousands of people, and had his journey broadcast on live TV.
5. Niagara Falls State Park Is the Oldest in America
Founded in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park has the distinction of a storied history in the United States after it was established at the Niagara Reservation in New York. Today, more than 8 million visitors go to Niagara Falls State Park each year. Niagara Falls’ natural beauty is preserved by the Niagara Falls Association, which was founded in 1883 and acquired private land around the area to keep the natural environment intact.
6. Fish Travel Over Niagara Falls
About 90 percent of fish who travel down Niagara Falls survive, since the fish in Niagara Falls have evolved to withstand the strong pressure from the falls. The white foam from the falls cushions fish that travel down and flow with the waters, which are packed with oxygen and nutrients that help fish thrive. Fish aren’t the only special wildlife throughout Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls State Park consists of more than 400 acres, filled with diverse landscape and wildlife like wintering gull and waterfowl species.
7. Daredevils Have Gone Down Niagara Falls by Barrel
A 63-year-old teacher named Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to take this memorable trip down the rushing waters of Niagara Falls in 1901, in a self-designed barrel made of iron and oak and padded with a mattress. While she survived, attempting such a trip is not advised for obvious safety reasons, and those who do attempt a daredevil stunt over Niagara Falls receive a steep fine and must pay for cost of rescue. Since Taylor, over a dozen other people have gone over the falls.
8. Niagara Falls Provides About 20 Percent of U.S. Drinking Water
Nearly one-fifth of the drinking water in the United States flows through Niagara Falls. The surrounding Great Lakes include 84 percent of North America’s surface fresh water and supply about 21 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water. Avoid drinking water directly from Niagara Falls, though, since water may be contaminated with parasites or bacteria before it is purified for drinking.
9. Many Important Historical Sites Are at Niagara Falls
There are so many highlights at Niagara Falls that are steeped in history. For example, one of the oldest United States flags still in existence, which was captured in the War of 1812 by the British, is on display at Old Fort Niagara. The Village of Lewiston is where the first battle of the War of 1812 occurred and was the last stop for the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes for escaping slaves. Niagara Falls is also home to the original Flight of Five Locks, a device for lifting and lowering boats, which was built in 1815 and is still functioning on Erie Canal in Lockport, providing the highest lift in the shortest distance on all U.S.-built canals.
10. Niagara Falls Is Relatively Young
Even though Niagara Falls is about 12,000 years old, in geographical wonder years, that’s fairly young. Considering that locations like the Giant Causeway columns in Ireland and K-Pg boundary in the Netherlands are more than 60 million years old, Niagara Falls is an infant in eco terms. The first reference of Niagara Falls is said to have come from an account by Samuel de Champlain in 1604, which was probably a story from native residents de Champlain met. The first real documentation of Niagara Falls came in 1678, from French explorer Louis Hennepin.
Book Your Niagara Falls Stay
Now that you know just a few of the reasons why Niagara Falls is considered to be one of the most special places in the world, book a visit yourself to see the beautiful Niagara Falls in action. The Marriott on the Falls Niagara Falls hotel has valuable packages for you and the whole family. Check them out online for Niagara Falls vacations.