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A Niagara Falls Staycation

Take this trip today

Niagara Falls, Ontario is one of our favourite annual trips to take as a family. There is something to do for everyone. It’s the perfect destination to spend the day or even a weekend. I can’t wait to share our experiences with you.

A Staycation Away…

The famous Falls

There is so much to do involving the Falls.

You can get as close as you want to the Falls by taking a small boat ride called the Maid of the Mist.

This 30 minute experience takes you so close to the Falls you can feel the water on your face. Everyone on board gets a recyclable poncho to wear for that reason.

Tours run from April – October. Tickets can be purchased here.

Another great experience is Journey Behind the Falls. This year-round experience takes you 125-feet underground. Here you can travel through a short tunnel to an outdoor observation deck directly behind the Falls.

The whole experience takes 30-45 minutes.

You can purchase your tickets here.

There is also a popular large viewing platform along the Canadian side that is walkable from Clifton Hill or you can find a parking lot here.

It spans the Canadian side of the Falls and has many view points.

At night while the falls are illuminated there is a fantastic firework display where you can view the schedule here.

Clifton Hill is iconic

There is so much to see on the strip of Clifton Hill which is located minutes from the Falls. There are several areas you can park to explore Clifton Hill and walk around for the day.

There is a large parking lot located just behind the SkyWheel. You can find more information on parking here.

Or download a copy of their PDF straight to your phone or print a copy to keep on hand.

The centre of it all

The infamous SkyWheel is located in the heart of Clifton Hill. There is nothing like the 360° view of Niagara Falls.

At night, when Clifton Hill comes to life you can see all that shines throughout the city.

The Falls are illuminated throughout the year and visible from the top of the SkyWheel. You can learn more about their schedule here.

You can purchase tickets online or in person. A ticket booth can be seen in front of the SkyWheel.

Tickets are $14.00 (Per Adult) and $7.00 (Per Child, 12 and under).

You can expect to take 20 minutes on this ride, rotating 4 times and stopping briefly at the top to enjoy the sights. You are in an enclosed and private area with bench seats.

A recording plays history on the area for you to listen to.

Stroller parking is available.

Take a walk through Jurassic Park

One of the most special times is spent at Dinosaur Advengure Golf.

It’s located to the right of the SkyWheel. You can’t miss it.

This mini-putt course consists of 18 holes. It includes a 50-foot active steam-erupting volcano. Spanning 70,000 square feet making it Canada’s largest mini-golf attraction.

The course is not stroller friendly.

Tickets are purchased at the front gate where you will get your putter and a golf ball to play with. Keep score to see who has the lowest score. Whoever has the lower score wins.

An epic race

One of the newest attractions to Clifton Hills is the Niagara Speedway. It’s located directly across the street from Dinosaur Adventure Golf.

This multi-level roadway is said to mimic the likes of Super Mario.

Prices are Driver $12.00 (Per ~5 Minute Race) Rider $4.00 (Per ~5 Minute Race).

Tickets can be purchased on site at their location.

Please note requirements to ride;

Height Restriction, Driver minimum height 58″ (147.32 cm or 4’10”) and maximum height 78″ (198.12 cm)

Height Restriction, Rider minimum height 40″ (101.6 cm or 3’4″) and maximum height 60″ (152.4 cm)

To carry a passenger, the driver must be a minimum of 18 years of age, or the parent or legal guardian of the passenger.

Upside down or right side up?

One of the strangest feelings is being inside the Upside Down House.

Everything inside the Upside Down House is… you guessed it. Upside down.

It almost feels like you have instant vertigo or have had too much to drink.

The whole experience takes about 5-10 minutes tops. I found it a bit expensive for what was included.

Even snapping a fun picture outside would make for a good memory and is FREE.

Dinner and a show

If you have littles in tow, the Rainforest Cafe is a great experience. It’s one we do every trip we make.

This stop is great for feeding picky eaters and getting something in them fast as service tends to be pretty quick.

You can take a peek at their menu’s here.

The whole restaurant is decked out in a jungle theme. It includes vines, rainstorms, sharks and animals that come to life.

Every 30 minutes or so the rainforest comes to life with sights and sounds. It gets dark and the crackling of thunder can be heard all over the restaurant and the animals start to move.

It’s a lot of fun for the littles.

After you’re done you can enjoy a browse around their gift shop or see if you can find their resident eel or shark in the big shark tank that separates the restaurant from the gift shop.

The restaurant is jointly attached to an arcade you can enjoy when you are done.

They do not take reservations.

Satisfy those taste buds

A stop we always have to make (besides the local Starbucks) is Hershey’s Chocolate World

You can find your typical Hershey items here including some giant versions of the famous chocolate bars. 

They also have fun gift and clothing items. 

Their treats counter is so delicious. It’s hard to resist anything here.

Don’t forget to walk out to the side of the building to snap a picture with the giant Hershey chocolate bar. 

Tropical birds? Yes!

The Bird Kingdom is always a popular choice and can be accessed walking from Clifton Hill if you continue to walk straight towards the Falls to Niagara Parkway and turn left.

It’s a 5-10 minute walk from all the fun at Clifton Hill

The Bird Kingdom consists of a big room full of various birds soaring the enclosed space. It’s a unique experience to see birds so closely. 

There is another area where you can visit their resident turtles, snakes and more. You can get up close for animal encounters and maybe even pose with a tropical bird.

Another area hosts the night jungle. Here you can see animals at night including; bats, owls and more. 

On your way out there is a large gift shop

The Bird Kingdom is stroller friendly. 

Bathrooms on site.

For information on parking click here. 

For information on food items available please see their menu here.

For admission costs click here

You can plan to spend anywhere from an hour to two hours at this location. 

Take your chance at winning BIG here

It’s always a treat to head to one of the arcades on Clifton Hill. There are so many to choose from. 

We really enjoy the Great Canadian Midway which is located on the same side as the SkyWheel

It seems to be the biggest of the arcades at 70,000 square feet and offers a huge selection of games and prizes. 

It’s always a fun experience for the littles to play a fun game. 

I love that you are given coins to play and not a card like your typical arcades have. 

The prize selection is amazing and seems pretty fair. 

A whole lot of fun

There are endless options for fun houses, playhouses and fun activities along the strip. 

You can try the Big Top Amazing Mirror & Laser Maze, Bronto’s Adventure Playland or the Mystery Maze.

And so much more.

You can purchase packages to do more than one while you’re visiting. 

There are plenty of haunted houses too if you like to be scared! 

Take a look here for more information. 

Dress up, dinner and a show

Benihana Sushi and Japanese Steakhouse is a great new addition to Clifton Hill. They are an upscale teppanyaki restaurant. 

The Chef cooks your food at your table while putting on a fun show. It’s great for the littles to enjoy and for the parents to dress up a bit and have a nice night out. 

For the kids it’s great because they will sit and watch the show without being bored. The restaurant offers chicken, rice and veggies which my littles loved. 

You can see their menu here

Call ahead and make a reservation to ensure your spot. 

There is an arcade on the main level of the building so you can play before or after if you’d like.

Want to experience even more?

Soring high

The Butterfly Conservatory is a great trip to make when you are in the area. 

It’s located in Niagara-on-the-Lake and takes about 15 minutes to drive there from the Falls.

The Butterfly Conservatory will take you into a great open space full of colourful butterflies, flying freely around. If you are lucky, some may even land on you. 

The self-guided tour takes around an hour. 

Tickets are Adult (13+ YEARS) $17

Child (6-12 YEARS) $11.25

(5 & under) Free

To purchase tickets click here.

This location is stroller friendly. 

You can also visit the Botanical Gardens which are on the adjoining property. The Botanical Gardens is a beautiful walk with well maintained gardens and landscapes. 

The Botanical Gardens are FREE to explore and parking is available at the Butterfly Conservatory.

All the information on visiting the Botanical Gardens is here

A great space for the littles

I’m a huge fan of Playtown Niagara in St. Catharines. 

It’s a giant indoor playground that doesn’t opt for the typical climber and slides. 

The space is made up of many rooms that are look like stores, businesses and more. Each room has its own set of imaginative play items. 

We enjoyed the giant ‘hot wheels’ car and changing its tires in the mechanic shop. 

The littles loved playing hair salon and using the pretend flat irons and hair dryers on the dolls heads. 

We took animals out of their crates and tended to them in the veterinarians office using all our pretend medical tools. 

The Mini’s favourite room was the grocery store equipped with two check outs, shopping carts and walls covered in grocery’s. 

There’s a diner with food.

A theatre with instruments like drums and a piano. 

A homely room with washer/dryer and some chairs. 

A space for plasma cars 

 A big wide open space for infants and toddlers to explore age appropriate toys.

In the middle are some of the coolest parts;

A rocket ship with control panel and slide,

An ice cream truck,

And a fire truck with slide! 

It’s so fun to watch the littles run around and use their imaginations. 

Please Note:

Mon to Sun 9.30 to 7.30 pm includes public play, private play times and birthday bookings as well. Please check public play hours under “Events” tab before visiting. Public Play Hours are updated Every Sunday for the upcoming Week. Hours are different each week depending on birthday bookings and private play bookings. REGISTRATION IS NOT REQUIRED for public play slots. You can check the time and walk in.

Take a hike

Heartland Forest in Niagara Falls is a great space to take a hike.

There is a lot to do here including a mini putt course and obstacle course. 

There is a playground, sandbox, tiny house, fire pit and more. 

I LOVED all of the accessible components. It’s not often I’ve come across a wheelchair compatible swing. 

My favourite part of the trails were all the totem poles spread throughout our hike in the woods. 

I also loved the kids play structure and bug hotel on one part of our walk where I’m sure deer sightings often occur. 

The hike includes boardwalks, turtle ponds and a treehouse! 

There is a lot to keep you entertained here for a while. 

Bathrooms on site.

No reservations are required and it’s free to park and enter. 

A staycation on its own

Great Wolf Lodge is a popular choice in Niagara Falls. 

They are known for their fun indoor waterpark, themed rooms, an arcade and in-house dining

It’s a great option if you want to staycation for the weekend or during the week. 

You can learn more about the indoor waterpark here

Take a look at how fun all of their themed rooms are. 

See all the dining options here

Great Wolf Lodge is extremely kid-friendly and often hosts fun dance party’s and story time. You can see their schedule here

They have a large gift shop with everything you need inside. 

To book your stay click here

To look for some great deals visit here…

Their roar is around me. I am on the brink of the great waters—and their anthem voice goes up amid the rainbow and the mist.

Grenville Mellen

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