There are some places that you see in life where the sheer beauty and wonder just take your breath away. For me, one of those places was Niagara Falls. When I experienced it by myself a few years ago, I knew it was a place I had to share with my boys. A few weeks ago, I got that chance as part of our #90DayRoadTrip, when we visited Niagara Falls together as a family, and took advantage of the awesome 2015 Discovery Pass, which allowed us to discover all of the amazing activities that the area has to offer.
The Niagara Falls Discovery Pass
From May 21-October 21, Niagara Falls, NY has made it super simple for you to plan and purchase activities for your family at one low price. The Niagara Falls Discovery Pass includes the five most popular attractions in the area, and can save you up to 35% off of the ala carte prices at just $38 for adults and $31 for children ages 6-12! You can purchase your Discovery Pass online before your visit at NiagaraUSADiscoveryPass.com.
Cave of the Winds Trip
Perhaps our favorite activity of our trip to Niagara Falls, was our experience on the Cave of the Winds Trip. It was simply incredible. I will caution you though, avoid this attraction during peak times on Saturdays. Going first thing in the morning or late at night other days of the week can significantly reduce your wait times. On Saturday, we saw wait times of over an hour and a half, and on Sunday around 10am, we just walked right in.
What is the Cave of the Winds Trip? It is the chance to don an incredibly fashionable yellow poncho, some equally fashionable blue, white and green sandals, and head out on a trail that will take you up to and even under a portion of the Bridal Veil Falls.
As you walk up the slippery when wet walkway, you will get some incredible views of not only Bridal Veil Falls, but the American Falls right next to them. As you climb further up the platform, you will reach the hurricane deck. Here, you can stand literally under a portion of the Falls, and experience hurricane like conditions. Come on, you know you want to be able to say you stood under Niagara Falls. Right?
Maid of the Mist
Another incredibly popular Niagara Falls attraction is the Maid of the Mist boat ride. Here, you are able to sport a fashion forward blue poncho (hey, you’re covered if it rains), and hop aboard a Maid of the Mist boat. This boat tour will take you around to the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls, the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls.
You will get wet on this excursion. However, how wet you get is entirely up to you. There are corners you can duck into, and poles you can shield yourself with, but what’s the fun in that? Embrace the sheer power of the Falls, grab a railing-side spot and take in the beauty of this incredible natural wonder.
The Maid of the Mist boat tour is your chance to get the best view of Horseshoe Falls without going over to the Canadian side, since they mostly face that direction when you look at them from the land above on the NY side. Children will enjoy the 360 degree views that are available from the upper deck, and if you look just right on a sunny day, you can spot a rainbow over the Falls.
Niagara Adventure Theater
If you love fitting in an educational aspect to your travels with kids like I do, then the Niagara Adventure Theater is the attraction for you. Here, you can watch a film on the history, folklore and daredevil feats surrounding Niagara Falls.
It was fascinating to learn the history of the Falls. In fact, did you know that they were not originally located where they are now and that they will eventually be lost forever? It was also wonderful for the boys to hear the different native american legends surrounding Niagara Falls.
By far though, the boys favorite part was when the film discussed the people who have gone over the Falls, like Annie Edson Taylor who was the first woman to go over the falls in a barrel, or Roger Woodward who accidentally went over Horseshoe Falls with nothing but a life jacket and survived. Food and ice cream are located for sale just outside the theater, and this is a great location in the state park to enjoy a scoop or two.
Aquarium of Niagara
The Aquarium of Niagara may be small, but that only adds to its charm. With plenty of daily live shows, learning lessons and feedings, there is always something to do here. Walk through the two floors of exhibits all centered around a central seal tank with viewing from all angles, and take in a variety of exhibits.
Get up close and personal with a viewing pool filled with sea creatures, see amazing things you may not have known existed like a water dwelling lizard or fish that have gone blind by the lack of sun in the deep ocean.
There is plenty of hands-on learning available here through different displays. One of the boy’s favorites were the photos of blown up objects on the wall upstairs, where you had to guess what it was a picture of. Some of these are pretty tricky.
Niagara Scenic Trolley
The Niagara Falls Scenic Trolley also entitles you to unlimited rides on the Niagara Scenic Trolley for one day. If you are using the pass throughout several days, I highly recommend using your trolley ticket for the day you will be visiting the aquarium and discovery center if you don’t plan on driving, as these are the furthest away from the state park area.
The Niagara Scenic Trolley does visit each of the attractions listed on the Discovery Pass, and there are stops located next to each attraction. Trolley’s come about once every 15 minutes and are a great way to get around, especially if you want to cut down walking times.
Niagara Gorge Discovery Center
Sadly, we did not get the opportunity to visit the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center due to someone stealing my bank card number and me needing to sort out that whole mess and figure out how I was going to get access to money to continue our #90DayRoadTrip.
However, it is an incredible place for families to visit. In addition to the rock climbing wall outside of the Discovery Center, which is included with admission, it provides a great opportunity for children to learn more about natural and local history.
This is also home to the Niagara Gorge Trail and Hike Center, where you can get access to spectacular hikes like the Devil’s Hole Rapids and Giant Rock hike, the Whirlpool Rapids Adventure hike and the Upper Great Gorge Hike.
Niagara Falls is definitely one of the wonders of the United States, and something that every family needs to experience together. The Niagara Falls Discovery Pass helps make that opportunity a reality with an affordable option for purchasing attraction admission to explore the area for one low price. To learn more, or to help plan your visit to Niagara Falls, NY, visit Niagara_USA.com.