Niagara Falls is one of the most well-known places on earth because of its sheer beauty and spectacular depth. It straddles the boundary between Ontario, Canada and the U.S on the north-west side of New York. This massive waterfall is created by the gushing waters of Lake Erie that flow down and plunges to almost a 200-foot drop into Lake Ontario.
The waterfalls at Niagara are actually three – Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the American Falls. The Niagara Falls witnesses a steady stream of visitors that come to see the majestic beauty of the place and get a first-hand sense of the might of nature. There are several ways to see the falls as well as several tourist spots around it. Here are the 5 best and 5 worst tourist attractions to visit at the falls.
10 Worth It: Niagara Falls State Park
On the American side of Niagara Falls is the State Park in New York. The park is about 400 acres and has something for every kind of tourist. There are nature trails, picnic spots, bike trails, etc. for families, as well as singles. The Observation Tower is one of the best attractions where you get to see a wonderful view of all three falls.
Get yourself a souvenir from the park’s gift shop or go through an interesting 40-minute presentation about the falls. This is great for all as it is in 4-D and has sensory effects that kids can enjoy too.
9 Not Worth It: Skylon Tower
This great tower is a well-known building in Ontario and soars 775 feet above the ground. This is a perfect place to see the Niagara Falls from high above. You can especially see the Horseshoe Falls from the Skylon Tower.
The tower also has a revolving restaurant that lets you get a panoramic view of the falls. The only drawback is the high premium rates at the restaurant. The tower is also good for the illuminated night view of the falls, but the cost is not worth the trip. So think in advance if you really want to make that extra effort, as tickets online would be a bit cheaper.
8 Worth It: Maid of the Mist
The best way to feel the beauty of the Niagara Falls is to take part in a boat ride like no other. The Maid of the Mist is a 30-minute ride that starts from the State Park Observation Tower. Get equipped with a blue poncho that will shield you from some of the mist and water. This ride takes you to all three falls and brings you extremely close to the base.
Here, you will find water that crashes down with such force that it creates a cloudy mist all over. Book your tickets at the right time as this memorable boat ride takes place only between April and November.
7 Not Worth It: The Niagara SkyWheel
At Clifton in Ontario, Canada, you will find the Niagara SkyWheel that gives tourists another view of the majestic falls. It is Canada’s largest observation wheel where the gondolas will rotate right above the falls at a height of 175 feet. You will be able to see the Horseshoe Falls, as well as the American Falls from this great height.
Again, the only drawback here are the pricey tickets, though some tourists say it is worth it. The illuminated night shows of the Niagara Falls are great to see from a distance. Keep this as a second choice when you reach the Niagara Falls and check your budget accordingly.
6 Worth It: Aquarium of Niagara
Here is a great place for kids and adults alike. The Aquarium of Niagara is a perfect spot for all to enjoy nature and also see some great aquatic animals. With over 200 species like seals, penguins, and sea lions, you are sure to be entertained throughout. There are several shows like the penguin feeding, a sea lion show, as well as the harbor seal show.
Get up close and personal with these animals by learning about their care, food habits, training, etc. With a perfect animal rescue center at the aquarium, even injured animals are taken great care of.
5 Not Worth It: Inniskillin Winery
One of the free attractions at Niagara Falls is Inniskillin Winery that offers tourists a different method of winemaking. The icewine here is quite famous as the grapes are left to freeze on the vines and then harvested to make Inniskillin wines.
This completely different approach to winemaking is something that wine lovers love to explore. The resulting intensified flavor of the wines is what makes them so special. You will need to take time out to check out this winery, though and since most bus tour operators stop here, the place gets a bit crowded. Also, if you have children with you, it probably isn’t going to be fun for them.
4 Worth It: Whirlpool Rapids
With the immense pressure of the falls from such a great height, the river that flows below turns into a whirlpool. The rapids that are formed here are really dangerous, especially at the narrow Whirlpool Gorge where about 100,000 cubic feet of water passes through each second.
The best way to see these rapids is to go to Whitewater Walk from where you can feel the sheer force of the river. Another stunning way to see the whirlpool rapids, as well as the entire stretch of the Niagara Falls, is to use the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge. This bridge covers the Niagara River from above from Canada to the United States.
3 Not Worth It: Niagara Falls Botanical Garden & Butterfly Conservatory
Something that may seem worth seeing at Niagara Falls is the Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory. The gardens are works of art that are cared for by the horticulture school and have thousands of species of plants. This 100-acre land has such exquisite gardens that a horse-carriage tour around the place is well worth it if gardens are your thing.
If you have kids with you, they may be mesmerized by the hundreds of species of butterflies that flutter around, but that may not make up for the hours of boredom touring the gardens. For the price of admission, the family can find something more fun.
2 Worth It: Journey Behind the Falls
Another breathtaking attraction at the Niagara Falls is the Journey Behind the Falls. Here you can stand just behind the roaring waterfalls and feel first-hand how majestic the Niagara Falls are. You are taken to an observation deck from where you can pass into the caverns and get drenched by the curtain of water.
This place gets crowded so try to get there early. This is a once-in-lifetime experience and getting so close to the power of nature is really something to enjoy and be mesmerized by. Even if you have already done the Maid of the Mist tour, you can still enjoy this different view of the waterfall.
1 Not Worth It: Niagara Fallsview Casino
If you are spending the day at Niagara Falls, then head to the Fallsview Casino at night to wind down. This casino has about 150 table games and several slot machines to keep you hooked for a long time. Try your luck at any of these games and enjoy a night-out.
The casino also has a huge shopping center and a theater that will keep you entertained. So bring in cash to splurge here if you have it. However, again this is not a great place for the kids, as they are not allowed on the casino floor. A family movie or pizza out is a better option.