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Niagara Falls Attractions:
Ontario's Fun Capital

Many of Niagara Falls attractions could lead this page being called "Niagara Falls: Canada's Sin City" because of its carnival atmosphere of gambling, 'horror' shows and believe-it-or-not exhibitions.

Small enough 'sins' in the wider world, maybe, but Ontario is in Canada and these small sins are as near as Ontario gets to naughtiness.

The first European to see Niagara Falls was probably Etienne Brule in or  around 1615 while exploring the Great Lakes for New France.

Niagara falls Attractions, spring flowers

Gabriel Lalemant, of Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons fame was the first to record the name 'Niagara, or at least its Iroquios version of which ours is a derivation.

As you see in this photo, spring is a good time to visit the Canadian side of the Falls because Victoria Park is full of daffodils and later Tulips.

Niagara Falls Attractions, WeGo bus

It was left to Louis Hennepin, another Recollet priest, to record seeing the Falls in 1678. Today local Hydro-electric power companies divert a huge amount of the flow for electricity generation so you see only a shadow of what the Falls must have looked and sounded like to people a hundred years or more years ago.

Etienne, Gabriel and Louis would have used canoes to get about. Today, getting around the Niagara Gorge area is a lot simpler -- use the new WeGo buses.

Niagara Falls Attractions, shopping piazza

Niagara Falls was once the Honeymoon Capital of this part of North America, and it's still a popular honeymoon spot. Nowadays it's mainly a busy vacation center catering to day trippers and those needing a short break from regular life.

And there are so many Niagara Falls attractions to make your trip memorable.

Niagara Falls Attractions, Maid of the Mist entering spray

Prime place in the long list of Niagara Falls attractions has got to be the Maid of the Mist boats, which have been carrying visitors into the heart of the Horseshoe Falls spray since 1846.

This picture is of a Maid of the Mist entering the spray at the foot of the Horseshoe or Canadian Falls.

Niagara Falls Attractions, Maid of the Mist loading

The boats leave from a dock at the foot of the cliffs near the Rainbow Bridge and, after picking up passengers on the American side, power their way into the thundering waters pouring from above.

Passengers are issued with a waterproof, hooded poncho that keeps you from getting too wet but as the trips only run in summer so getting damp is a pleasure anyhow. The din from the Falls is awesome. Surrounded by spray that only allows you to glimpse the weight of water above, the experience is one to excite the most cynical world-weary traveler.

Keeping with the watery theme, the Tunnel behind the Horseshoe falls, is another opportunity to get water-cooled on a hot summer's day while wearing a 'waterproof' poncho. The tunnel isn't as much fun as the boat, in my opinion, but it does give you an equally impressive sense of the power locked up in the Falls.

Niagara Falls attractions, main street

So far, I've shown you the natural attractions of Niagara Falls and left you wondering about those horror shows I spoke of. Here's a view of the Main Street with some of those other attractions.

Another way to see Niagara Falls attractions, and without all that getting wet business, is to look down on them from one of the Skylons. The Skylons provide an elevator ride to a vantage point that takes in views over the city as well as the Falls. Like the CN Tower in Toronto, they're also a good way of getting your bearings at the start of a visit.

If you really like heights, the Skylons are probably too tame and you should look into a Helicopter ride. They don't need a reservation, are right next to the Falls, and fly from 9 am to sunset each day (weather permitting). A great way to see the Falls, the Gorge, and some of the Niagara region.

The Falls are what used to bring people to the city but today, my guess is it's the Casinos.

Niagara Falls attractions, Fallsview Casino

This is where people let their hair down, a sort of Las Vegas North, and where would that be without gambling. Fun needs a little spice and for most people that's the Casino. There are two casinos in town, Casino Niagara and the Fallsview Casino Resort, and they cater to everything from slots to fancy cards (Blackjack and Poker, I presume, I'm not a gambler so you'll have to excuse the lack of definition here).

Niagara Falls attractions, double-decker bu

For families, there's an impressive theme Park on the edge of town, Marineland, which has killer and beluga whales, dolphin displays and other sea-based animal attractions as well as, for the teens in the family, roller coasters and rides like Sky Screamer (the name alone makes me feel ill:)

A newer one of Niagara Falls attractions, this time with an indoor water  park for the kids, is the Great Wolf Lodge. This rustic- and wolf-themed  resort is part of a popular chain of lodges located throughout North America. It's a 'grr-eat' place for water-loving families, whatever the weather -- if you'll pardon the terrible pun.

Another way to visit Niagara Falls attractions is this British double-decker bus that runs throughout the summer.

Niagara Falls attractions, Spanish Aerocar

Two older attractions are outside the city and farther east along the Gorge from Niagara Falls. The Jet boat takes you on a wild ride down the Niagara River from Niagara on the lake or Lewiston NY (there's also a not-so-wild and dry ride, if you prefer) and the Spanish Aero Car takes you what feels like 100 ft above the whirlpool at a sharp bend in the river. This bus will take you to the Aero car from Niagara Falls, if you want a guided tour.

The Aero Car was built in 1916, with regular upgrades since, and feels like an old Victorian ride. While it's slow by modern tastes, its stately ride is a great way to see this part of the region from an unusual vantage point -- if you can stomach the swaying of the car from its cables. Admission is about $12 for adults and about $7 for children over five years old. The ride is open daily from the end of March to the end of November.

For more ideas on things to do and see during your Niagara Falls stay, click -- Niagara Tours.

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And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:

Tours To Explore

Niagara Falls
Freedom Day Trip
from Toronto

Toronto Entertainment
District Tour

10-Day New England
and Canada Fall Foliage
Motor Coach Tour

Niagara Falls
Evening Lights
Day Trip from Toronto

Ultimate Toronto Tour

Eastern Canada Tour

Private Tour:
Toronto Helicopter Ride

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Dvd To Explore

Ontario Pictures