Road Trip! Destination: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 6:39 p.m.

It's a body of water that flows and amazes unlike no other.

Niagara Falls is an enormously popular tourist destination — from both the American side in New York and the Canadian vantage point in Ontario. Known as the honeymoon capital of the world, the Falls at Niagara are about 12,000 years old. They were formed when melting glaciers formed massive fresh-water lakes. The length of the brink is an astounding 1,060 feet and the height reaches 176 feet.

The three falls — the Horseshoe, the American and the Bridal Veil — are a breathtaking site any time of year. The Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side, are separated from the American Falls by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also on the American side, separated by Luna Island. You can view all three from the Canadian side, but to go there, you will need a passport.

There is no charge to see the falls, only costs for surrounding attractions. The falls are lighted every evening.

The coldest months at Niagara Falls are November through March.

Prices listed are in Canadian dollars. As of Sept. 11, Canadian and American currency were at almost equal value.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

Popular attractions

Some of the most popular attractions of Niagara Falls Tourism include a tour of the falls on boats called Maid of the Mist. The ride takes passengers into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe.

The Journey Behind the Falls allows guests to observe the thundering power of the falls. Visitors descend 150 feet by elevator, where a short tunnel gives access to two outdoor observation decks and two portals located directly behind the falls. The sound is like thunder as the water tumbles 13 stories.

Niagara's Fury is one of the hottest new attractions. The temperature will drop 20 degrees. Water will bubble and spray while snow falls all around. Standing in the mist of a massive platform, you will feel the full wrath of Mother Nature as the floor tilts and trembles beneath you. Niagara Parks has re-created the amazing sights and sounds of the creation of Niagara Falls. Incredible images produced with technology previously used only in satellites and medicine will immerse you in a 4-D theme park-style attraction.

Take a walk like no other along the boardwalk at the very edge in the White Water Walk. Marvel at the relentless power and beauty of nature and see how the deep and narrow Great Gorge was created.

Purchase an adventure pass for $46.95 to get you in all four Niagara attractions.

Maid of the Mist tickets are $19.75; $12.65 for ages 6 to 12.

Journey Behind the Falls tickets are $15.95; $10.95 for ages 6 to 12.

Niagara's Fury tickets are $13.50; $8.80 for ages 6 to 12.

White Water Walk tickets are $10.95; $7 for ages 6 to 12.

Details: 905-356-6061 or

Skylon Tower

Skylon Tower, which opened in 1965, is famous for its revolving dining room that sits 775 feet above the falls and turns guests silently 360 degrees once each hour. Specialty stores feature items from boutiques, Canadian souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, native crafts and local artisans' wares. There is also an observation deck. The tower is home to a large entertainment facility, the Family Fun Center, with high-tech interactive games and rides for all ages. The Legends of Niagara Falls is a movie with 3-D/4-D effects. Admission to the ride-to-the-top and indoor-outdoor observation deck are free when dining.

Details: 905-356-2651 or

Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill is a world-famous street of fun including attractions such as the Niagara SkyWheel and Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum.

The wheel soars 175 feet above the falls. It features fully enclosed gondolas you can ride day or night, in any season, for spectacular aerial views for miles in every direction.

The SkyWheel is Canada's largest observation wheel. This vantage point offers memorable views of the Horseshoe and American Falls, the Niagara River Parks and other landmarks.

If you are a fan of the bizarre and unbelievable, then the Ripley's museum is sure to amaze.

Clifton Hill owes its name to Capt. Ogden Creighton, an officer in the British Army, who came to Niagara Falls around 1830 and acquired a sizeable tract of land.

SkyWheel tickets are $10.99; $6.99 for age 12 and under (905-358-4793).

Ripley's tickets are $15.81; $9.03 for ages 6 to 12 (905-356-2238).

Details: 905-358-3676 or

Nightmares Fear Factory

A walk through this scary haunted-house attraction is not recommended for young children, but intended only for fierce daredevils. If you don't make it through the 15-minute tour of the house, your name is added to the “chicken list,” which is growing with more than 100,000 names.

Nightmares Fear Factory has been featured on “Live With Regis & Kelly” and “The Tonght Show With Jay Leno.” For more than 30 years, it has been scaring, thrilling and challenging guests to “survive” Nightmares.

Tickets are $13.25; $9.50 for age 12 and under.

Details: 905-357-3327 or

A pair of casinos

Overlooking Niagara Falls, Fallsview Casino Resort has more than 3,000 slot machines, 130 gaming tables and a poker room. It also features a 374-room luxury hotel, spa and fitness center, shops, restaurants and the Avalon Theatre (a 1,500-seat venue), where entertainers such as Donny Osmond, Sophia Loren, Olivia Newton-John and Carol Burnett have performed At 2.5 million square feet, it is the largest gaming facility in Canada.

Details: 888-325-5788 or

Casino Niagara offers 1,700 slot machines, 70 gaming tables, dining and entertainment. Details: 905-374-3598 or

Botanical Gardens

Niagara Parks' Botanical Gardens is located on the scenic Niagara Parkway and the Great Gorge, just a 10-minute drive north of the falls. This beautiful setting is home to the Butterfly Conservancy. Established in 1936, the gardens include 99 manicured acres.

Admission is free. Guided horse-and-carriage tours of the gardens are available daily from May to October at $18.50 per person. The Floral Clock is a must-see. The intricate designs on the face of the timepiece are created with up to 16,000 carpet-bedding plants. The design is changed twice each year.

Details: 905-356-8119 or

Flying Saucer Restaurant

This history of the Flying Saucer Restaurant began 40 years ago when a restaurateur who was fascinated with all things intergalactic combined his talents and opened the establishment. Twenty years ago, a second “twin” saucer was built to accommodate more diners.

Details: 905-356-4553 or

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