You probably already know what to see and do in Niagara Falls, but do you know how to adapt the visit to your little ones? Niagara Falls is a unique natural site. If adults are fascinated by them, children are not far behind and it is common to see them spellbound by the falling water.
In addition, different attractions and leisure centers have been built around the falls, designed to make the most of the visit to this natural park. Of course, many of these attractions are specifically designed for children or teenagers: we tell you about them in detail so you can plan your trip.
Whatever vacations you like to enjoy with the kids, get ready for an unforgettable getaway.
1. Sail on the Maid of the Mist cruise ship or the Hornblower to be amazed.
Both cruises make the same route, although the Maid of the Mist departs from the American side and the Hornblower from the Canadian side. You will distinguish them by the color of the raincoats that they give you when you get on and that are very practical because in the twenty minutes that the trip lasts they get so close to the falls that besides being left with your mouth open to the greatness of the spectacle, you get wet.
Children (and not so children) have a great time. Both cruises have several decks and interior spaces, so you can enjoy the show even if the weather is not good. In any case, a change of clothes to avoid colds is not superfluous.
2. Take the kids to the Cave of the Winds and let them be amazed by the elevator
You will find many places where the views of Niagara Falls will be amazing, but at the bottom of the river you have a very special one: Cave of the Winds. If you book this visit, either as part of an organized tour or as self-access, children will ride an elevator to a platform that leads to one of the most breathtaking views of the falls.
Watch out! You'll have the waterfalls on top of you, so expect to get wet, although that will only add to the fun for the little ones, of course.
3. Take one of the State Park treks to enjoy breathtaking scenery
If your kids are the type who like to move around and do outdoor activities, this is the tour for you. Whirlpool State Park offers a breathtaking view of the falls. The climb to the top is a little steep, but it's well worth it and there's room at the top of the park for a picnic lunch overlooking the Niagara River. Not to be missed!
No need to book tickets or pay an additional fee: follow the marked trails at the pace set by the little ones of the house to picnic areas and viewpoints.
4. Let them learn by enjoying the bird paradise: Bird Kingdom.
Bird Kigdom is one of Niagara's most famous attractions, and no wonder, since it is the largest free-flying aviary in the world. Yes, that's right: a huge building set up for free-flying birds.
The visit includes an exhibition about Niagara Falls and birds, but the most famous part is where you can get in touch with the animals. It's very exciting! Kids are fascinated by holding parrots and macaws, or seeing other animals like snakes, turtles or even bearded dragons up close. If you do a little research before you go, you can explain to the children which animals they are seeing and the visit will become educational as well as fun.
5. Who said fear? For the bravest, the zip line!
We've all felt that adrenaline rush when we ride a zip line and stop touching the ground, right? Well, imagine that the zip line in question travels at 70 km/h. the spectacular descent towards Niagara Falls, an unforgettable experience!
The zip line is suitable for children from the age of seven, but up to the age of thirteen they must be accompanied by an adult. Are you looking forward to it yet? Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office at the foot of Clifton Hill and the price is about 50€ per person.
6. Walk together along Clifton Hill, a unique street
Clifton Hill is known as "the most famous amusement street in the world" for a reason: it is an amusement park ten minutes from the falls. Children have a great time with the haunted houses, the dinosaur-themed miniature golf course or the fifty-four-meter Ferris wheel with a view that on a clear day reaches... all the way to Ontario!
Whatever your children's tastes, there is plenty to discover at Clifton Hill. For the older ones, there are also souvenir stores and museums for the curious: the Guinness World Records Museum, the Ripley's Museum and 4D theater of oddities. A complete and ideal plan if you choose the two-day trip to Niagara Falls instead of the day trip.
7. Take them to lunch at the Rainforest Café, a favorite of the little ones
We all know when traveling with children that food can be a tricky subject, but don't worry, Clifton Hill's cuisine is also very varied. While it never hurts to bring something to snack on or have your kids' favorite snack on hand, at Clifton Hill you can find everything from fast food to fine dining.
And if, in addition to eating, you want to take away a unique experience, visit the Rainforest Café: a themed restaurant whose doors open onto the jungle. Inside there is a tropical atmosphere with vegetation, animals, ambient sounds and the occasional thunderstorm. When it comes to dining at Niagara Falls, you also have many options - check them out before you get to the park!
8. Make sure they take home a souvenir of a movie view
Heights have never been so close: in just fifty-two seconds, the Skylon Tower elevator will take you to the top floor, which is... 230 meters. And that's not all, as there is a restaurant there that is located on a rotating floor so you won't miss anything while you dine. In fact, if you want to go all out and book a tour to see Niagara Falls by helicopter, there is an option that includes lunch in this tower.
From the observation deck you can see not only the falls, but an extensive view of the United States and Canada. Especially recommended at the end of the day, when the lights of the cities start to come on, impressive!
9. If butterflies are your thing... you'll love it!
Nine kilometers north of Niagara Falls is the butterfly conservatory, where a multitude of species fly over forty hectares. You can observe more than two thousand butterflies of sixty different tropical species.
If you want the children to have a complete experience, I advise you to dress in bright colors that day, as the butterflies are more likely to be attracted by those tones and come to perch so that the little ones can observe them closely.
10. Stroll around Niagara on the Lake: the pearl of the area
To enjoy a quiet getaway with the little ones at home, there is a town north of the falls that offers a movie-like scenery. It is called Niagara on the Lake in honor of the lake that presides over it, and which is surrounded by little houses among which it is a pleasure to get lost.
In this small town children can stroll quietly in a cultural and natural environment more relaxed than the one that has formed around Niagara Falls. The landscape of the small town is very well cared for a day of family tourism.
11. Enjoy a fireworks display at the end of the day
Never better said: On Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, the unique setting of Niagara Falls is made even more special by fireworks displays.
Although from the Skylon Tower the view is privileged, the fireworks can be fully enjoyed at the foot of the falls. A treat for the senses, both for children and adults, and a perfect ending to the visit.
Tips for organizing your trip with children to the Falls
Plan your trip ahead of time
Coordinating the tastes of the whole family is not always easy, especially when traveling with children, but as you have seen, in Niagara Falls there are all kinds of attractions. It can be quite an experience to prepare the trip together: this way the little ones can be involved in the preparations and enjoy it in advance. This way, together you can choose what you like best and you won't miss out on anything that interests you. Starting by planning the trip with the children, you will get the most out of it!
Explain what they will see
To get the most out of it, you can give the children a context so that they can enjoy their trip to the fullest. For example, you can watch Pixar's Up and encourage enthusiasm for Ni agara Falls (although Pixar didn't base it on Niagara Falls, it's a good introduction for them) or, if your kids are a little older, you can take advantage of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Get tickets in advance
The most important thing is to book the Niagara Falls excursion from New York or anywhere else ahead of time. Also, once there, whether for dinner at the Skylon Tower or sailing on the Maid of the Mist cruise, it is best to book or get tickets in advance: you will avoid queues or, directly, being left without a plan on the spot and having to improvise, which can be very frustrating, especially if the little ones had already made up their minds. Enjoy!
Make sure they wear appropriate clothing and footwear
The visit to Niagara Falls offers a lot of activity for both children and adults, but in the case of children it is even more important that they wear comfortable clothes that they can enjoy to the fullest.
It can help make the experience unforgettable to equip the little ones so that if they get wet at the falls they will have something dry (bring an extra pair of socks) and if you venture into the parks they can walk comfortably (no new sneakers that day, so that they do not generate friction on the walks).