You may not need your cup of coffee this morning, because there’s nothing sleepy about the world-famous Street of Fun by the Falls at Clifton Hill. It’s Niagara Falls’ top destination for attractions, restaurants, entertainment and more. Start by getting your bearings atop the 175-foot Niagara Skywheel, then get in a few laps at the Niagara Speedway. Bring your cameras to the Ripley’s Museum where your kids can get up close and personal with over 100 life-like wax figures, an art motion simulator ride and the almost unbelievable Odditorium. Or engage in some family-friendly competition in the 70,000 square feet of crowd-pleasing fun that makes up the one and only Great Canadian Midway.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s plenty of family-friendly options, including the Rainforest Café, where meals are shared with lively, animatronic animals in a wild jungle setting. There’s also a nearby Boston Pizza complete with Arcade, located right in the heart of Clifton Hill. If you’re interested in trying some local favourites, a short 5 minute walk will transport you to Mama Mia’s Italian Eatery or Four Brothers Cucina, both with 50+ year history of serving locals and tourists alike.
Next, rattle your bones with a thunderous journey deep below and behind the heart of Niagara with Journey Behind the Falls. Kids will love putting on the rain ponchos provided and experiencing the power and the mist of the mighty Horseshoe Falls, crashing down from 13 storeys above.
Kids love a buffet dinner, but a buffet dinner with entertainment is even better. Head to the Greg Frewin Theatre for a Vegas-style spectacle, as one of the world’s premier magicians, Greg Frewin, performs his family-friendly illusions. Check the calendar before your visit, because concerts and comedy are also on the menu.
On your way to or from the theatre, enjoy a different kind of magical experience. Witness the Falls as they’re lit up in the colours of the rainbow for Niagara Falls Illumination, beginning every evening at dusk.
For families staying at Americana Waterpark Resort, Skyline Hotel & Waterpark or Great Wolf Lodge, you may want to skip the evening show and get to these activity-packed hotels early. With some of the best indoor water parks in the country, plus restaurants, games, live-action adventures and more, your kids will be entertained from the moment you check in. And you don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to visit! You can purchase tickets to Waves Indoor Waterpark & Fallsview Indoor Waterpark in advance of your trip or on location. The rest of Niagara will just have to wait.
After a great breakfast, head back to the Falls for another look, this time from the Falls Incline Railway. This cable-style car (sans cables) will delight the young ones of your crew with a ride down to the “Bridge of Flowers” pedestrian crossing over the Niagara Parkway into Table Rock Welcome Centre, where you can grab a quick lunch, or pick up some souvenirs.
Just down the road is one of the area’s newest attractions, the Niagara Parks Power Station. Explore the first major power plant on the Canadian side of the Niagara River with immersive exhibits, restored artifacts and interactive storytelling
What really sets Niagara Falls apart from other world attractions is just how close you can get. First board a Niagara City Cruise to get into the mist of the Falls. These state of the art boats take you right next to the Horseshoe Falls for an experience unlike any other.
And afterwards it’s time to get a different vantage point on the thrilling Wildplay Niagara Zipline to the Falls. Zipline adjacent to the Falls and feel the rush of heading towards this majestic waterfall.
Now that you’ve gotten up close and personal with the Falls, it’s time for a different kind of escape. The Niagara Glen is just the place to spark your kids’ inner awe of nature, with 4 km of hiking trails winding through a pristine pocket of Carolinian Forest. This designated nature reserve will have them exploring thousands-year-old boulders on some rugged terrain, so be sure to wear suitable footwear. Or, for cycle-loving families, bikes are available for rent seasonally.
About a kilometre from the Northeast corner of the Niagara Glen (about a 13-minute drive from the Falls) you’ll find another natural paradise…although this one is tropical. The Butterfly Conservatory, situated on the grounds of the beautiful Botanical Gardens, is home to more than 2000 butterflies, gliding freely through lush, exotic greenery. Kids of all ages will be entranced at the up-close sight of these colourful creatures, 45 species in total, feeding, fluttering, and sipping nectar. You can fuel up for the trip home at the Butterfly Café, and discuss which colourful friend is the one you’ll miss the most.
It’s never easy to please both kids and adults, especially on a trip, but Niagara manages to bring about a happy balance of approvals.