While Niagara Falls, on the border between the USA and Canada, is world-famous for its thundering waterfalls, there is much more to see here beyond just the natural wonder. Whether your children are in the early years of school, or are tweens or teenagers, you won’t have to look far to find fun activities to enjoy together as a family unit. Read on for some to put on your itinerary on your next vacation to this part of North America.
Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
Kids of all ages love spending the day at a waterpark, so make sure you put a visit to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark on your list. This three-acre attraction is located on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and features 16 different slides to choose from. Some of them even reach up to six stories high! At the destination you will also find a handy splash pool for little kids, an outdoor sun deck and activity pool, a massive aqua play center, and a giant wave pool.
If you need some R&R time while the kids are entertained, take yourself off to the Horseshoe Hot Springs where you can relax tired muscles and recharge your mind and body. At the hot springs there are two oversized adults-only whirlpool hot tubs to go between. If the whole family needs to refuel after a busy few hours, you can also fill up at the waterpark’s Planet Hollywood Beach Club food court.
Old Fort Niagara
One of the great things about traveling is that it allows you and your family to learn about interesting historical events and places. While you’re in Niagara Falls, it’s worth visiting Old Fort Niagara, which is situated on the American side of the Falls. Here, at this 1700s-built fort (the oldest operational one of its kind in the country), you can get a close look at well-preserved cannons, barracks and other exhibits, and learn about history as you walk through the destination on a self-guided audio tour.
Old Niagara Fort was utilized in numerous wars, including the French, Revolutionary, and Indian conflicts, and taken over by Native American, American, French, and British troops at various times over the years. If you time your visit right, you will have the chance to see re-enactors recreate some of the battles waged at the fort since its creation and get insight into the lives of past garrison members. Hourly musket demonstrations are also run at the Fort throughout the year; plus from this high vantage point, you and your family can get a great view of Niagara Falls, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario.
Another popular attraction that will provide you with excellent viewing and photographic opportunities is the Niagara SkyWheel. This Ferris wheel is found on the Canadian side of the Falls, within the cute suburb of Clifton Hill, and features large gondolas which can carry whole families at a time. On a ride of the SkyWheel, which takes around 15 minutes and covers a minimum of four rotations, you will get up to 175 feet in the sky, and see views out for miles.
It is also a good idea to try and time your trip on the wheel to after sunset. This way, you can check out the amazing Falls Illumination lighting show that hits the sky from dusk onwards most nights, and lights up Niagara Falls and the surrounding area in the colors of the rainbow.
Nightmares Fear Factory
If you have teenagers who are looking for an exciting activity that will get their heart racing, or tweens who don’t scare too easily, buy some tickets to enter the Nightmares Fear Factory, also located within Clifton Hill. This haunted-house attraction has been running for over three decades already, and is a not-for-the-faint-hearted experience that has actually been too much for more than 140,000 people to complete over the years.
As a participant in a Fear Factory session, you will be challenged to “survive” as you and your family make your way, on foot, through the house, at your own speed. This can be done in groups of up to six people. You will be led through the attraction by a trail of red lights and, even if you go back for more time and time again, will find regular changes are made, so you never quite know what you will face next as you proceed.