Whether you’re in a market for a weekend trip or a week-long family vacation, Niagara Falls, Canada, is packed to the gills with fun and educational, eco-friendly, and healthy activities for families with kids. The offerings here will keep your kids engaged and entertained, whether they’re toddlers, school-aged, or older. And the best part is, the entire trip can be both fun and educational for your little ones, if you plan it right.
Kids – and parents – will be wowed by the majesty of the waterfalls themselves, but once you’ve seen the falls there are plenty of other options to get your kids active in nature, or teach them a little something about the world in which they live. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular, fun, kid-friendly, and educational activities in Niagara Falls.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises
The Hornblower Niagara Cruises are Canada’s answer to the American Maid of the Mist boat tours. These boat tours get you and your family as close to the Falls as it’s possible to get. You’ll ride right up the base of the mighty Niagara Falls, so you can hear, see, and feel the power of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing over the Niagara Escarpment on their way to Lake Ontario and, eventually, the Atlantic Ocean. Take a night boat tour to enjoy the light shows that play out over the Falls every night of the year.
Visiting a natural wonder like Niagara Falls provides you with an excellent chance to teach your kids all about the world around them, and Niagara’s Fury is there to help. This educational exhibit allows kids and adults alike to learn about the formation of the Falls in titillating 4D. You’ll relive the experience of your Hornblower Niagara Cruise as you travel down an IMAX recreation of the Niagara River during the last Ice Age, experiencing first-hand the formation of the Falls and the power of the river.
Journey Behind the Falls
More than 130 years ago, tunnels were cut into the rock behind the Horseshoe Falls to form the Journey Behind the Falls attraction. Now, visitors can walk behind the falls themselves, peering through observation portals cut in the rock to gaze upon the 600,000 gallons (more than 2 million liters) of water crashing down just in front of them. At the end of the tunnels, you’ll find an observation deck that allows you to stand as close to the falls as it’s possible to get while still being on land. Make sure everyone puts on the plastic raincoats distributed at the beginning of the descent!
Niagara Glen Nature Preserve
With its nearly three miles of rugged hiking trails, the Niagara Glen Nature Preserve offers you a chance to get the kids out in nature for some healthy exercise. Buy supplies, souvenirs, and refreshments at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre, or take a guided hiking tour of the preserve’s plant and animal life twice a day during the summer months. Examine prehistoric rock formations, take in the rapids of the Niagara River, and brave the Whirlpool Trail to reach the Niagara River Whirlpool.
Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark may not be particularly educational, but at least your kids will learn how much fun they can have splashing around in three acres of indoor water slides, wave pools, and a thousand-gallon tipping bucket. The water park is conveniently connected to three of the best hotels in Niagara Falls, Canada. With indoor beach areas, cabanas, hot tubs, and more, it’s a great way to soak out some post-hike soreness while letting the kids burn off extra energy.
Historical sites in and around Niagara Falls have a lot to teach kids (and their parents) about military life during the early 19th century, the War of 1812, and Canadian history. Visit Old Fort Erie to step back in time and discover what it was like to be a British, American, or First Nations soldier under siege at this outpost during the War of 1812. Take a guided tour of the Laura Secord Homestead to learn about the life and times of this Canadian war heroine. Travel to the nearby town of Queenston to visit the Mackenzie Printery, home of Canada’s oldest printing press and one of only seven wooden printing presses still existing. Here, kids can learn about the history of printing technology, going back hundreds of years to the invention of the printing press.
The Niagara Butterfly Conservatory can be found on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. It’s home to more than 2,000 butterflies from more than 45 different species, native to countries around the world. Kids will learn about the life cycle of the butterflies during the Conservatory’s self-guided walking tour. You’ll get to see butterflies emerge from their chrysalises through the emergence window, and you may even coax a butterfly or two to alight on your finger. Make sure kids watch their steps; butterflies like to rest on the walking paths.
Niagara Falls, Canada offers a wide range of educational and athletic activities for kids and their parents. Learn about history and the natural world, get some fresh air, and enjoy all that Niagara Falls has to offer.