If you have wanted to see Niagara Falls in person for years, and are planning a trip to the region with your family, it’s important to have an itinerary that covers more options than just seeing this magnificent natural phenomenon.
While the falls themselves are amazing, and attract millions of visitors every year, when you have kids with you, you also need to have other activities on your list to choose from. Read on for a selection of family-friendly destinations you can consider checking out when you arrive.
Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center
No matter the ages of your children, once you have checked into your chosen Niagara Falls hotel, you should head to the Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center for some play time. Here you will find something to interest everyone; and it is a perfect choice when the weather isn’t so great.
At the Center, for starters your family can get a feel for the thrill of skydiving, without the risk. Indoor skydiving is possible for children 7 years and older, and for groups of up to four people at a time. The activity is completed within a wind tunnel flight chamber, and has users flying at air speeds approaching 140mph.
If that’s not enough, at the Freefall and Interactive Center you can also let the kids go nuts with tokens for the many interactive arcade games on-site, or have some family time playing Lazerball. This game is paint-free and mess-free, and uses soft, reusable foam balls rather than paint. The Center also offers a mechanical bull ride and a 32-foot high rooftop rock wall for climbers of many abilities.
Old Fort Niagara
A great educational outing for your family when you’re in the Niagara region is Old Fort Niagara, on the U.S. side of the falls. Perfect for history buffs and novices alike, the Fort, which was built in the 1700s, is the oldest operational one of its type in the country. It was used primarily during the French, Revolutionary, and Indian Wars, and over the years has been owned and used by the Native American, French, British and American troops.
If possible, try to schedule your visit to Old Fort Niagara with the attraction’s special event periods. You and your kids will have the opportunity to meet some on-site re-enactors who recreate the lives of past garrison members for visitors.
At other times of year, you can watch hourly musket demonstrations, and examine the site’s well-preserved cannons, barracks, rooms, and other exhibits. While at the Fort, you can also enjoy self-guided audio tours, and take in the scenic view of the falls, plus Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, from the Fort’s high vantage point.
Nightmares Fear Factory
If you are looking for something to please teenagers, or children over 7 who don’t scare easily, then put a visit to the Nightmares Fear Factory on your itinerary. This not-for-the-faint-hearted experience has been operating for more than 30 years, and is located inside a classic-style haunted house found at the top of Clifton Hill in Canada.
Participants in the Fear Factory are challenged to “survive” as they walk through the attraction in groups of up to six. This is done at your own speed, as you are led through the house by a trail of red lights – pretty much the only illumination in the attraction.
At this memorable destination, you will be scared at many points along the way, plus you’ll find that changes are made regularly so you can visit often. If, however, the family chickens out and can’t quite complete the experience, there is no need to feel deflated. Nightmares Fear Factory actually boasts about the fact that more than 140,000 people have chickened out at some point along the way since the haunted house opened!
Another top attraction in the Niagara region that is suitable for all ages is the Niagara SkyWheel, on the Canadian side of the falls in Clifton Hill. This approximately 15-minute experience takes passengers 175-feet high, and is the largest observation wheel in Canada.
Ride the SkyWheel and you will enjoy a beautiful birds-eye view of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area and, if you visit around dusk or later, you can also take in the Falls Illumination show when the water lights up in the colors of the rainbow, and the city skyline sparkles.
Each SkyWheel journey includes at least four rotations on the Ferris wheel, and families can ride together in their own gondola. If you’re a keen photographer, you’ll surely love the opportunity provided by the SkyWheel too. When up in the air you can take snaps of the falls from a new angle that captures both the Horseshoe and American Falls at one time; plus you can get to see for miles in every direction.