Aside from the Delaware beach, Disney World, and visiting family in Michigan and North Carolina, we have yet to venture into the “touring” world with the quad-squad. Trying to find locations that appeal to their age level and fun-meter plus our bank account and interests makes things a bit complicated these days. However, we found the perfect spot!!!
On August 12th we loaded in the van and hit the road for Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada! GPS said it was 7 hours away, with a few stops, we were there in 8.5 hours. Really not bad at all for crossing a country border!
Before heading up, the kids kept asking us “are we just going to look at a waterfall for 3 days?” No, big fat giant NOPE, was our answer! Check out our itinerary and the list of the awesomeness we got to experience on our vacation! Be sure to plan yours soon, this is a year-round tourist spot, but obviously weather-permitting. So I’d recommend going maybe May to beginning of October due to all of the water and outdoor activity. We went from a Sunday to a Wednesday and felt like it was enough time to fit everything in. The best part, we met up with family who live in Michigan and had a little “reunion” there. It’s the perfect town for big groups!!!
** We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott. It was close enough to walk to Clifton Hills and part of the falls where the Hornblower takes off. It has an indoor and outdoor pool. There are hotels EVERYWHERE and I’m sure they all have pros and cons. Just telling our hotel for a frame of reference in terms of proximity to things.
Day 1: Indoor pool, Zombie Attack, Midway Arcade and Wild West Coaster at Clifton Hill, walked to falls, dinner at Kelseys Original Roadhouse on Clifton Hill.
Clifton Hill– We were invited to come and play! Clifton Hill sent our family Fun Passes. There is no way I can rationalize anyone “doing” Clifton Hill without this Fun Pass! It’s a great deal and a really easy way to experience so many things and doesn’t need to be used all in one day, which is awesome! It basically includes everything except Strike Rock n Bowl and the Niagara Speedway. All we had to do was scan our card and enter the activity. We went early in the morning to play golf, to minimize the line at each hole. The volcano erupting was a fan favorite of several of our children! Had the weather not cooperated (which it totally did, we had gorgeous weather every day there, despite the initial forecast), we would have used our Fun Pass to do the indoor Wizard’s Golf. We saved the Sky Wheel for our grand finale, and it did NOT disappoint!!! We wanted to see the fireworks over the falls from on the Sky Wheel but so did the rest of Ontario, haha. If you want to do that, just time your line better than we did. The nice attendants at the ticket booth are great about telling you how long the line will be. Once on the ferris wheel it goes around 4 or 5 times, a good 10 min ride!! Fireworks are only about 5 minutes, so it would work out perfectly. I am NOT a fan of heights and typically stay away from ferris wheels, but this one I went on because I believe in the whole “when in Rome” philosophy. SO GLAD I experienced this gorgeous vantage point of the city!
Day 2: Ripley’s Believe it or Not, more sightseeing around Clifton Hill including Movieland Wax Museum and Dinosaur Golf. We drove 7 minutes to MarineLand down by the falls. Then got showered and went to dinner at The Keg in Embassy Suites was about a 5 minutes drive from our hotel. The restaurant has panoramic windows to see the falls. This was a great aerial view. Had our wee ones not have been so young, we would have made a reservation that timed us with the 10pm fireworks over the falls….. NEXT time!
MarineLand: We were invited to come and check out this super unique Aquarium/Amusement Park that was build almost 50 years ago. There’s an indoor aquarium as well as a bunch of outdoor enormous whale pools, a stadium for their show and rides trickled in. It’s an enormous location, bring a stroller for the littles! I love to expose my children to things. And they LOVE learning about wildlife. So for them, seeing dolphins, seal lions, seals, and beluga whales in real life was mesmerizing. MarineLand’s philosophy is “… big focus is education. It’s the only way we will save the whales and the planet.” The staff were so eager to talk to the kids and teach about the animals. We even got to experience FEEDING and TOUCHING Beluga whales!!!! A true once in a lifetime experience. From what we saw, the animals all seemed healthy and happy and the belugas definitely wanted the interaction with people. A 2-year old kept swimming over to my kids. They’d wave at her and felt so connected! We did not see any orcas or walrus despite the website, but no one seemed to mind. There are several picnic areas in the park for guests to bring their own food, or they have restaurants and kiosks on site.
Day 3: Strapped on those comfy sneakers for a near 19,000 step day according to the activity tracker! This day we crossed back into good ‘ole USA and did the NY side of Niagara for Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds. We bought the Discovery Pass and appreciated the Trolley, and discount!
Day 4: Finished up our final Clifton Hill Fun Pass items after breakfast. Walked around town one more time, bought some souvenirs, took some final photos, and then kissed family good-bye as we all headed back home.
We felt sad leaving family, but also leaving Niagara. It was SUCH a fantastic family adventure that we are already talking about the next sight-seeing family spot we want to meet up at. If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them!
Disclaimer: We received complimentary Fun Passes to Clifton Hill and complimentary tickets to enter MarineLand and to participate in their Beluga feeding experience. No money was exchanged. All opinions are our own.