You may not realize there is much else to do besides viewing the falls in Niagara Falls, however, there are several activities that the whole family will enjoy— even on rainy days. Check out these must visit attractions and family friendly things to do in Niagara Falls!
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And enter a giveaway for over $300 in gift cards to Clifton Hill for your next trip to Niagara Falls!
When our family decided to visit Niagara Falls over spring break, I thought it’d be the perfect mini-vacation for our family. My husband and boys have never seen the falls and I remember my parents taking my sister and I as kids, and I was absolutely mystified by the falls—especially when they were illuminated at night! So seeing the beauty of Mother Nature was really my only expectation when I started planning, but soon after I contacted Niagara Falls Tourism, I realized that there was so much more to do in Niagara Falls than just looking at the falls!
We had a great time on our visit to Niagara Falls! As a mom, I want to find activities for the whole family to enjoy, but also that won’t break my budget. But before I share all of the great things to do with you, I want to tell you about a GIVEAWAY worth over $300 in restaurant gift cards and activities passes for Niagara Falls! I have teamed up with Niagara Falls Tourism and some local attractions to be able to offer you a chance to win the following:
- $200 gift certificates to Ruby Tuesday (valid at the Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, Ontario location only)
- 5 Fun by the Falls complimentary admission passes (over $100 value):
- Guinness World Record Museum
- The Haunted House
- The Fun House
- Bronto’s Adventure Playland
- Mystery Maze
**Don’t forget to ENTER the GIVEAWAY below**
Okay, now on to all the family friendly things that we did in Niagara Falls. Obviously, many of these things can be enjoyed year-round, but a lot of what we did can also be enjoyed even when it’s a bit cold or rainy— which was good for us, because it ended up being both cold and rainy while we were there!
Americana Waterpark Resort
We stayed at the Americana Conference Resort Spa & Waterpark. One of the main things we liked about this resort was that it had a waterpark. The kids were very excited about it! It also had a nice spa, game room, and restaurant at the resort. We literally could have just spent the entire day at the resort and had lots of fun.
It was only three miles from the falls, so it was close and convenient to everything—especially with a WEGO stop right at the resort. The WEGO is a bussing system in Niagara Falls that connects tourist attractions with resorts in the area. Buses run every 30 minutes (and we found that the schedule is very reliable!), so you don’t have to wait very long to catch a bus to get to your next destination. It also is a bit of a money-saver. Some of the attractions are a few miles apart, so unless you have your walking shoes on, you probably wouldn’t want to have to drive and pay parking at each area that you visit. (**You can also get a WEGO ticket as part of the Wonder Pass for Niagara Parks instead of purchasing it separately to save a bit of money too… we’ll be talking about the Wonder Pass a bit later…)
Obviously, the falls are the main attraction—and probably what you think of when you picture Niagara Falls. And they are definitely worth seeing! While they are beautiful during the day, you also won’t want to miss seeing that falls when they are illuminated each night.
We were able to get a few pictures later in the day after the fog lifted!
We did get to see the falls illuminated from the SkyWheel… awesome view of the falls and the city! It was hard to get a good picture because the SkyWheel is enclosed, so taking a picture through the window of the passenger cabin didn’t turn out so well, but the view in person is beautiful!
Most all of the Niagara Parks attractions are along the 7 kilometer stretch of the Niagara Parkway, which runs along the Niagara River. Make sure that you check out the Wonder Pass or Adventure Pass (depending on the time of year you visit) to save anywhere from 40-60% off attractions at Niagara Parks. You can also buy tickets online or at the Table Rock Welcome Centre, where you can buy souvenirs, grab a bite to eat, and start visiting the attractions.
We started out at Niagara’s Fury, and this is where I would suggest that any visitor start. First of all, it is an interactive attraction with a 360 degree movie screen that creatively recounts the history of the formation of Niagara Falls—trust me, even your kids will love this! And secondly, because it is interactive, you might get a little damp, so they hand out ponchos for experiencing the attraction. For us, these came in handy all day because it was raining outside. If you don’t need it, you can turn it in to be recycled after the ride, or you can do like we did, and keep it so you stay dry all day.
Journey Behind the Falls
The next stop we made was Journey Behind the Falls. If you are like me, you probably had no idea that you could actually go behind the falls! Believe it or not, there are tunnels that go behind the falls in a couple of spots and for an up-close view at the side of Horseshoe Falls. You won’t want to miss this experience!
There is way more to see than just the falls though. The Butterfly Conservatory is open year-round and will delight you with all of the 45 species of butterflies floating around!
Bird Kingdom is also a great family-friendly activity. It is the world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary. We were scheduled to go here on our last day, unfortunately, we had to cut our final day activities short due to a trip to the ER… not a major emergency, however, we learned some good lessons about how to deal with an emergency while on vacation…
The Clifton Hill area provides entertainment for the whole family. There is so much to do, but don’t just start going through the attractions individually—you can save a lot of money by purchasing a Fun Pass, a Ripley’s Combo Ticket, or Fun at the Falls Combo Ticket. I have listed the activities that are associated with each pass so you can get an idea of what might be of interest to your family…
SkyWheel—another must-see attraction! We rode in the SkyWheel after dark so we could see the falls while they were illuminated. It was also a really cool view of the Skylon Tower and local casinos…
Movieland Wax Museum
Dinosaur Adventure Golf
Midway—the combo ticket includes 5 coins for the Midway, which is an arcade. This is also where you can ride the Wild West Coaster and the Ghost Blaster Dark Ride. This place is huge and definitely has games that the parents can enjoy too! **Just a side note from a mother’s perspective here… this was a very nice and clean arcade (even the bathrooms were clean!).
Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks—as you can see, my kids and husband had fun posing with the wax figures…
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium—lots of fun and interesting stuff to see here!
Ripley’s Moving Theatre 4D
Guinness World Records Museum
The Haunted House
The Fun House—all the fun stuff you would expect in a classic “fun house!”
Bronto’s Adventure Playland
Kelsey’s Original Roadhouse—Kelsey’s was casual, modern steakhouse dining. The food was good and the service was good! It was a great family friendly and budget friendly restaurant!
Ruby Tuesday—this restaurant is located right in the middle of all the action on Clifton Hill… much like Kelsey’s, it’s great food and very family friendly and budget friendly. Don’t forget to enter the contest to win $200 of gift certificates to Ruby Tuesday on your next visit to Niagara Falls!!
There is really no other way to describe this other than an awesome experience!
About an hour before the show, we arrived and had plenty of time to enjoy the delicious buffet. Normally, I am not interested in going to a buffet, but this was a private buffet that went along with the show, so it had the feel of a buffet that you get at a wedding or your company Christmas party. The food was flavorful and high quality. Drinks were not included, but there was an option to buy a pitcher of a beverage for the entire table, which was a nice, budget friendly option!
Now for the magic show. You. Will. Be. AMAZED. It really should be no surprise that a world-renowned magician would put on a mesmerizing show, nonetheless, we were absolutely impressed with how good the show actually was. If you’ve ever seen illusions like this on TV, it is very easy to think that there must be editing or something that is “hiding” the secret. But actually sitting there and seeing his show in person, I am still confounded at how he did many of the feats. This is a definite must-see attraction when in Niagara Falls!
Oh, and my son Braylon actually got to be a part of the show… so it is interactive with the audience as well!
What can I say? You definitely must visit the Skylon Tower when you are in Niagara Falls. This is an experience that you won’t get anywhere else in the city. First of all, the Skylon Tower has an observation deck that allows you to get a bird’s eye view of the Falls. You can ride the elevator, which has glass so you can see the city as you ride to the top, as you go up to the observation deck or the restaurant.
This is one part of our trip that we were the most disappointed about— the weather wasn’t working with us at all, it was terribly rainy and the fog was so thick, we literally couldn’t see anything on our visit to the Skylon Tower. Super disappointing, but a great reminder that we could still have an awesome time, even when things don’t go according to plan!
Here’s a picture of our view that day from the Skylon Tower:
Mother Nature definitely wasn’t working with us, but we were able to still have an absolutely wonderful lunch in the Skylon Tower Revolving Dining Room. I guess on the positive side, it felt like we were dining in a cloud with all of that fog surrounding the tower! I imagine that being able to look out over the falls and the city—day or night—would have been an epic experience. This is definitely on the list for the next time we go back—hopefully the weather will cooperate!
We went for lunch, and had delicious food. Now, this is a pretty fancy restaurant—and I have to say, we definitely felt under-dressed—but because it was during the day, other guests seemed to be dressed more casual like we were. I imagine, people dress a bit more formal for evening. Menu items were a bit pricey, but the food is worth it, and, I’m sure, so is the view. It really was a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
We packed a lot into the three days that we were there, and definitely could have stayed longer because there was so much to do!