Niagara Falls with a 3 year old
Travelling to Canada for our Summer holiday this year we couldn’t go without heading over to see Niagara Falls so that Monkey to visit his first wonder of the world. It took about two hours in the car from Toronto.
We parked in the town area, in the Travel Lodge carpark for 15$ all day – driving up through the town it looks a bit like part of the Vegas strip! Theres definitely lots to do, including The Guinness Book of Records Museum, Wax Works, Sky Wheel, Bird World, Butterfly House arcades and a soft play area! However we only had a day and wanted to make the most of the falls so decided to focus our activities around them.
With this in mind the first thing we did was head down to the falls to get tickets for The Maid of the Mist. Only its not called that anymore, only the boat leaving from the American side is called The Maid of the Mist. Instead we ended up on a 700 person catamaran courtesy of Hornblower Niagara Cruises, feeling like some of the romance had been lost I was a little apprehensive. But Monkey loved it. You are not on the boat for very long at all – maybe 15 minutes and we got a lot wetter than I thought we would. One of the benefits of having a larger boat is that you can get closer to the falls which is a bonus.
We brought tickets on the day, boats depart every 15 minutes, starting at 8.30am. Adult tickets cost 19.95$ and children 12.95$ with a free rain cover. They also offer an evening cruise where the falls are illuminated and fireworks, these are held on a Friday, Saturday nights and during the holidays.
Even though we didn’t manage to get a spot by the railings on the side of the boat we still managed to get some good up close photos of the falls. I would highly recommend doing this trip if you manage to visit the falls – although don’t forget your water proof camera!
From here we stopped for a quick sandwich before walking along from opposite the American Falls (where you get the boat from) to the Horseshoe Falls which is where you get to walk under the falls themselves.
Personally I prefer the Canadian Falls because of their shape there is something very majestic about them. As you walk along the front there are lots of opportunities to take photos. Its a reasonable walk and in the heat, with Monkey it took a good 20 minutes.
This time we put on yellow ponchos and took our Journey Behind the Falls. After descending 150ft we headed first to the observation decks, Monkey took the opportunity to sample the local water… We managed to get some great photos of all of us and it makes a real thundering noise as the 2800 cubic metres of water passes over the falls every minute! It was quite an experience. Next we then walked along the tunnels to lead you behind the falls one third of the way in. The photo doesn’t really do the experience justice as its doesn’t capture the water coming down in front of the opening. Monkey made a wish by throwing a dime into the tunnel in front on him – wishing for an elephant (funnily enough he ended up winning one a few days later!). The experience takes about half an hour in total, it wasn’t busy when we went although I can see how it would slow the process down if it was as the tunnels are reasonable narrow.
Our last stop was the Whirlpool Aero Car, it’s on the way out of the main Niagara hustle and bustle and has free car parking. We didn’t have to wait long as it’s less busy towards to end of the day, which is just as well as not many people can fit on the car in one go – maximum 35. The whole experience only takes about ten – fifteen minutes and you travel around a kilometre in total. Once you reach the other side, you swap over sides in the car so you get to see both the left and right view. The views are stunning as you get to see the whirlpool, rapids and the gorge. Because Monkey is under the age of six he was free and its priced at just 13.95$ for adults.
From here we took a drive down into Niagara on the Lake for something to eat for dinner, its a lovely drive down looking at all the amazing houses. The village itself is very much set in the colonial style and there are several restaurants to choose from in the centre. It was nice to get away from the flashing light, noise and commercialism of the main Niagara strip. If we are ever to visit again then we may look to stay at Niagara on the Lake because its so pretty, calm and peaceful.
Monkey still talks about the boat ride as his favourite part of the holiday, hopefully we have made some memories which will stay with him for a lifetime.