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A Barrel of Fun

Attractions, Rides, and Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Canada

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A Barrel of Fun

The Niagara Skywheel at sunset.

©Arthur Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.
Niagara Falls is like an enormous, un-gated theme park. Instead of fairy tales or cartoon characters, the theme is the falls. The lure of the falls is so powerful, it attracts visitors from all over the world. I don't think I've ever seen a more diverse crowd than the multi-culti throngs vacationing there. While there's plenty to do on the U.S. side of the border (the state park is especially beautiful), the Canadian Niagara Falls is more developed and offers a slew of diversions. There is an impressive array of attractions designed to give visitors a view of the falls from every conceivable vantage point. While there is one actual theme park and three indoor water parks, Niagara Falls also offers many stand-alone attractions, particularly on Clifton Hill, the tourist haven across from the American Falls.

Three indoor water park resorts:

One theme park:
  • Marineland Canada
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. As its name implies, the focus at Marineland is on shows and attractions featuring dolphins, whales, and other sea creatures. The park also offers a decent assortment of rides.
There are myriad ways to view and experience the majesty of the falls, including:
  • Niagara SkyWheel
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. One of the tallest Ferris wheels (or, perhaps more accurately, observation wheels) in North America, the Niagara SkyWheel is perched across from the American Falls.
  • Skylon Tower
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The 520-foot tower offers stunning views of the falls and the surrounding area. Getting to the top of the tower, in the outside-mounted, glass-enclosed elevators is half the fun. The complex includes a restaurant near the top of the tower, an arcade game room, a fast food court, and a 4-D theater (see below).
  • Niagara Helicopters
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. See the falls from the sky. The 12-minute tour follows the Niagara River and flies over the gorge, the Whirlpool area, and other sites. If the weather conditions are right, you'll marvel at the rainbows created by the falls' mist.
  • Maid of the Mist
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The world-famous attraction is a Niagara Falls must-see. The venerable boats sail past the American Falls and linger within a few feet of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You WILL get spritzed--drenched is more like it. Even though you'll look goofy, wear the provided trash-bag ponchos.
There are many attractions about the falls, including:
  • IMAX Theatre Niagara Falls
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. See the Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic film in the incredible large-screen IMAX format. Using both archival and re-created footage, it tells the true stories of the wackos who braved the falls in barrels or by walking across them on a tightrope. After the film, explore the Daredevil Gallery, an exhibit featuring the actual barrels and other Niagara artifacts. The theater is operated by National Geographic and includes a National Geographic store.
  • Legends of Niagara
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. At the base of the Skylon Tower. The 4-D presentation (3-D movie footage with sensory enhancements) tells the story of the falls through the eyes of a contemporary Native Canadian who traces her ancestral roots. Plenty of special effects and "gotchas."

Next page: More Niagara Falls things to do.

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