Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Note: Niagara Parks Commission offers the Discovery Pass. Children under 5 are free. This pass allows admission to: Journey Behind the Falls; The Butterfly Conservatory; Niagara Spanish Aero Car; Great Gorge Adventure; Mackenzie heritage Printery; Fort Erie; Laura Secord House; McFarland House and all day transportation on the People Mover Bus system. Available at park information booth and at all of the above attractions.
Sir Harry Oakes, the mining millionaire, bought this estate on the Niagara Parkway on July 15, 1924. He hired the architectural firm of Findlay and Foulis, the same architects who designed the new Table Rock House, to design the 37 room Tudor style baronial edifice that is present day Oak Hall. The reconstruction took four years and in 1928 the Oakes family moved in. The Oakes family lived in Oak Hall for six years until Harry Oakes, annoyed by the inroads that taxes were making on his income, wound up his affairs in Canada and moved his family to England. In 1935 he moved to Nassau in the Bahamas and it was while he was living there in 1939, that he was created a baronet by King George VI and became Sir Harry Oakes. On July 8, 1943 he died tragically in the Bahamas.
In 1943 Lady Eunice Oakes, Sir Harry's widow, deeded Oak Hall to the Government of Canada to be used as a convalescent hospital for the Royal Canadian Air Force. When there was no longer a need for convalescent facilities, the Federal Government deeded it back to Lady Oakes in 1952. The Niagara Parks Commission purchased the estate on May 25, 1959. For the next few years the building was used only for public displays put on by the Niagara District Art Association. In 1964 the Commission furnished several rooms on the ground floor, with furniture which Sir Harry Oakes had purchased from the estate of Dr. Harry Y. Grant. Three of the Oak Hall Administration Building rooms found on the first floor are open to the public. They can be viewed Monday to Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with the exception of those times when meetings are taking place. Arrangements for special tours of the building are handled by the Communications Department.
7400 Portage Road
People Mover Stop 11, 14
Visitors may also book a guided half hour tour with a Nature Interpreter for a fee of $3.00 per person. For Booking Call 1-877-NIA-Park or locally 371-0254. Daily dawn - dusk year round. Parking and admittance to the grounds are free.
The gardens are located 9 kilometers (6 miles) north of the Niagara Parkway from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Established in 1936, it is the only residential school for training horticultural students in Canada. One hundred acres of immaculately maintained gardens provide a visual feast for over 1 million visitors annually. Several hundred students have created, over a 60 year period, one of North America's most outstanding landscapes and botanical collections. The Gardens are open to visitors for a self guided tour of the Plant World which includes an herb garden, a vegetable garden, a rock garden and arboretum, containing one of Canada's finest collections of ornamental trees and shrubs.
5 miles north of the Horseshoe falls in Botanical Gardens. A popular attraction opened at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. 2,000 free-flying butterflies in a rainforest setting can be seen at various points along the network of paths that include exotic greenery, plants and a 20-foot waterfall. The Conservatory is open daily from 9:00 am to dusk (Except Christmas Day). Admission Free.
Niagara Parks Commission Greenhouses
Daily 9am - 10pm may 3-Labor Day. 9-6 until mid October and then 9-5 rest of the year.
Located just above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, this attraction was constructed by the Niagara Parks Commission in 1945. The addition of a reception centre/display house in 1980, complete with a retail store and improved washrooms, was added to the original 11,000 sq. ft. conservatory. All the spring and summer outdoor bedding plants for the parks system are produced at this facility. A circular design with a stunning statue/fountain in the hub features twenty varieties of floribunda roses in ring shaped beds. A garden for the visually impaired was constructed in 1985 in co-operation with the Canadian National Institute for The Blind. Several of the plants are labeled in braille.
Great Gorge Adventure
4330 River Road, 3 km from Horseshoe Falls
People Mover Stop 7,17
Seasonal - Approximately late April to Late October from 9am
Admission charged. 5 Years and Under Free
Visitors descend by elevator and follow a tunnel to the very edge of the Niagara River rapids and view the strata that formed in the gorge created by the awesome power of the falls over 12,000 years ago. For thousands of years the waters of Niagara have cut and deepened this narrow gorge. Observation decks and walkways offer opportunities to view the falls at the narrowest part of the Niagara River.
Niagara Spanish Aero Car at the Whirlpool
Location: Located 4.5 km.(3 miles)down-river from the Falls
at People Mover stops #8 & #16.
Please Call For Hours of Operation
One of the best ways to see Niagara's fascinating Whirlpool is from high overhead - aboard the world famous Niagara Spanish Aero Car. Located 4.5 kilometers (3 miles) North of the Falls, suspended from sturdy cables, the Niagara Spanish Aero Car offers a wonderful view. Have your camera ready to capture some unique photos both upstream and downstream. Named after the Spanish engineer who designed and built it, Leonardo Torres Quevedo, the Aero Car has been operating since 1916. Riders can see the rapids, the Whirlpool, the Gorge, the hydroelectric plants down the river, as the aerial car travels safely between two different points on the Canadian shore of the Niagara River over the spectacular whirlpool. This round trip is slightly more than 1 kilometer (3,600 feet) and takes about 10 minutes. All times subject to weather conditions.
Niagara Glen Nature Areas
People Mover Stop 10
1 kilometer (1/2 mile) north from the Whirlpool Golf Course on the Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Canada.
>From late April to November, a Park Naturalist conducts guided nature walks through the Glen. Meet at Feather in the Glen for your guided tour. This peaceful retreat boasts nature trails, a specialty nature boutique, and a picnic area. Those who stop here and are prepared to do some hiking down the Gorge to the shore of the River will be well rewarded. The 4 kilometers (2 1/2 miles) of trails are well laid out and easily negotiated - if you take your time! There's lots of interesting geology and biology to explore. The Glen is a unique spot of beauty to the visitor.
Queenston Heights Park
7 miles north of the Horseshoe Falls
People Mover Stop 12
Commemorates one of the crucial battles of the War of 1812. A small force of British regulars, militia and native Americans under General Sir Issac Brock turned back a larger American invasion force in a major victory. A 210 foot monument honors Brock who was killed in the battle. This popular recreation area offers tennis, hiking, picnic grounds, a children's playground and Sunday afternoon band concerts June-August. The scenery is breathtaking. A broad sweeping view of the countryside can be seen from the top of the Niagara Escarpment on which the park is located and which has been recognized as a world biosphere by UNESCO. Queenston Heights is the eastern terminus of the Bruce Trail and of the Niagara River Recreational Trail which runs from Fort Erie to Niagara on the Lake. Parks Canada oversees the operation of Brock's Monument offers a walking tour of the historic sites associated with the battleground.
6 miles north on River Road at the Sir Adam Beck - Niagara Generating Station
People Mover Stop 13
One of the most frequently visited horticultural exhibits is the Floral Clock. Originally built by Ontario Hydro in 1950, this site features a floral design with upwards of 19,000 carpet bedding plants that bloom from early spring to the first frost. Alternanthera are used along with the green and grey forms of Santolina Sage. California Golden Privet provides contrast, as does Blue Festuca Grass. The design is changed each year. The grounds surrounding the clock feature bedding displays. The clock is 40 feet in diameter! Westminster chimes ring every 15 minutes.
Centennial Lilac Garden
In commemoration of Canada's Centennial Year, the American Rotary Clubs of District 709 contributed funds towards the development of a Centennial Lilac Garden. Located on a ten acre site between the Floral Clock and the Lewiston- Queenston Bridge, this collection contains over 1,200 plants with over 200 different varieties. Anticipated time of bloom in the latter part of May each year.
Oaks Garden Theatre
At Rainbow Bridge
People Mover Stop 6,18
Originally constructed in 1936, Oaks Garden Theatre was built in the form of an amphitheater. By capitalizing on the contours of the landscape, a fan shaped curved structure was designed. Rock gardens, lily ponds, and shrub borders have all been built around formalized gardens. Queenston limestone was used around the perimeter of the property. Ornamental iron gates were incorporated into the design for aesthetic and functional purposes. The site plays host to numerous concerts throughout the year.
Queen Victoria Park
People Mover Stop 4,20
This lovely park is literally the "heart" of The Niagara Parks Commission. Bounded by the escarpment, the Niagara Gorge, and the Niagara River, it features a collection of unique native and international plants from around the world. The park also displays a major rock garden, a Hybrid T rose garden, and two attractive carpet bedding displays. Numerous park benches and beautiful lawns provide a pleasant opportunity for relaxation for the weary traveler. Landscape illumination is an integral part of the park environment, as is the illumination of the Falls. Queen Victoria Park celebrates the seasons in style. Every spring, 500,000 daffodils herald its arrival along with magnolias, tulips and many others. Summer features carpet bedding displays as well as thousands of bedding plants throughout the park including fuchsia, Lantana standards, cannas, coleus, and many other plants. Chrysanthemums and kale have been used in the fall to extend the season and to provide interest after the first frost. During the winter months, the stark branches of trees and shrubs create visual and spatial interest, especially when coated with ice from the freezing mist of the Falls.
Journey Behind the Falls
People Mover Stop 3,21
Queen Victoria Park
Please Call For Hours of Operation
Open Year Round
5755 River Road
Located directly under the Rainbow Bridge
Experience one of Niagara's most exciting adventure ride. Challenge the rapids and feel the thundering power of Niagara Falls. A truly unique and simulating voyage that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Fun the whole family will enjoy!
8375 Stanley Avenue
Falls Shuttle bus stop.
May 22-October 28
Marine shows every hour in season.
Rates vary by season.
Features include an interactive killer whale habitat, also sea lion, dolphin and killer whale shows. Unique rides such as Dragon Mountain, the world's largest steel roller coaster are also popular. There is a deer petting park. Also see elk, buffalo, bears and other wildlife displays. More Info
Attractions on Clifton Hill and Lundy's Lane
Lundy's Lane Historical Museum
5810 Ferry Street
Open year round. 9-4 in season; noon - 4 thereafter.
Small admission fee charged.
Occupies the former Stanford Town Hall, a two story cut stone building built in 1874on the site of the Battle of Lundy's Lane which took place during the War of 1812. The museum features artifacts that relate to the battle. there is also an exhibit of early prints of Niagara Falls which gives a history of the area. Another exhibit features children's clothing, toys and souvenir china.
Niagara Falls Museum and Daredevil Hall of Fame
5651 River Road at Rainbow Bridge
Tel: (905)356-2151 , (716)285-4898
Open year round. 9am-11pm summer; 10-5 thereafter.
Over 700,000 artifacts including a famous Egyptian mummy collection featured on National Geographic Explorer in 1994. Daredevil Hall of Fame contains memorabilia of those who have risked it all for the fame of riding over the Falls.
Criminals Hall of Fame Wax Museum
5751 Victoria Avenue
Revisit the Old West, the Roaring 20's and modern day crime scenes. Life size wax replicas of famous, and infamous, criminals are on display, right from the pages of history!
Guinness World of Records Museum
4943 Clifton Hill
Open 365 days a year.
See evidence of record setting events that have made individuals world famous. Gift shop and memorabilia available.
Louis Tussaud's Waxworks
4915 Clifton Hill
Louis Tussaud, great grandson of Madame Marie Tussaud,(world famous for her Wax figures exhibited in London, England), presents the history of both museums and also displays showing how wax figures are made. After viewing the famous figures that populate the premises, the visitor is invited to create a wax impression of his or her own hand to take along as a souvenir.
Mildred Mahoney Silver Jubilee Dolls' House Gallery
657 Niagara Blvd.
Fort Erie (near the Peace Bridge - call for directions)
Daily 10-4 (in season)
The 140 doll houses displayed date from 1780-1980. Included are rare masterpieces from around the world. One of the most striking is a five story English manor house complete with servants quarters, nursery, sewing room and both gentlemen's and ladies' drawing rooms. Another treasure is the Japanese Palace, displayed with a complete collection of Hina Matsuri Festival dolls. The collection is displayed in one of Fort Erie's historic landmarks: Bertie Hall, built in 1832. The mansion was part of the "underground railroad" network through which slaves were smuggled to freedom in Canada.
Located next to Casino Niagara
4608 Bender Street
Inspired by film and television, and designed to capture the excitement and glamour of Hollywood, this restaurant is filled with rare movie memorabilia.
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum
4960 Clifton Hill
Daily 9am - 1am in season.
Displays unusual items. More than 350 exhibits in nine galleries.
Ripley's Moving Theatre
4983 Clifton Hill
9am - 1am in season.
Offers a ten minute virtual reality movie experience in a motion simulator.
Rock Legends Wax Museum
5020 Centre Street
Life size wax figures of rock and roll stars from the early years up to the present day are presented here. Take a tour through rock 'n' roll history in sight and sound. The British invasion, Motown, Woodstock, the Punk Explosion, Heavy Metal, the Blues, Pop, Alternative are all represented.
Directly across from the Rainbow Bridge
5705 Falls Avenue
Tel: (905)374-3598 , (888)946-3255
10,000 square feet with thousands of slots, all table games, dining, lounges, poker room, and sports betting and viewing. A Yuk Yuks Standup Comedy Club is a recent addition to this venue. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. "World class gaming in a world class setting." Smoke-free facility. Outdoor patio for smoking. Visitors must be at least 19 years of age to enter the Casino.
Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
6400 Fallsview Blvd.
Lavish resort with 30 story, 368 room Hyatt Regency hotel, 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 30,000 square foot exhibition hall; a 1500 seat performing arts center; 225,000 sq. foot Galleria of Shops and restaurants; 10 dining facilities; a 3,000 car parking garage; and a 200,000 sq. foot gaming area. 3,000 slot machines and 150 tables. Entire facility is smoke-free. Outdoor patio smoking area. Visitors to the casino must be at least 19 years of age.
Niagara Falls Golf Club
6169 Garner Road
(one block south of Lundy's Lane)
Outdoor heated driving range. Golf and carts year round (weather permitting). A challenging, yet enjoyable, test for all levels of golfers. 18 hole, par 72 course. The 17th hole has been rated the third best hole in the Niagara Peninsula. It is a winding 500 yard par 5 with a large pond in front. The 14th hole is 400 yards with two large bunkers strategically placed "pinching" the tee shot landing area. The entrance to the green is tight as well, with mature trees on both sides and a pond on the left. Five minutes from the Casino; shuttle service provided.
3731 Victoria Avenue
Year round 9am - sunset weather permitting. Closed Christmas Day.
Call for rates.
Nine minute in the air tour in helicopters with a seating capacity of 6. Many spectacular photos of the area have been taken in this way by visitors and local residents.
Niagara Steamship Company
Located at the Navy Hall Dock just behind Old Fort George.
Tel: (905)468-8343 , 1-888-250-4572
Call for fares and schedules.
Cruise back 100 years to the days of steam on the "SS Pumper," America's only wood fired steam tour boat. Hourly steam boat tours. More Info
Minolta Tower Centre
6732 Oakes Drive
Perfect nightly view of the Falls illumination (and Friday evening fireworks). Dining levels and observation level. Admission charged at observation level.
Rossi Artistic Glass
5400 Robinson Street
(behind the Skylon Tower)
Venetian glass hand blown by master glass blower Angelo Rossi. Watch as Maestro Rossi fashions intricate works of art.
5200 Robinson Street
Daily 8 am-midnight in season
Three levels include two dining areas and an indoor/outdoor observation deck, all with spectacular views of the area. The tower is 525 feet high.
Niagara Falls Imax Theater
6170 Buchanan Avenue (next to the Skylon Tower)
Fax Tel: 905-358-3613
See the history of the Falls, Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic, on the giant Imax screen (10 times the size of regular movie theater screens) and a video filmed from inside a barrel as one daredevil went over the Falls.
Attractions in the suburbs
Kurtz Orchards Country Market & Orchard Tours
16006 Niagara Parkway
Niagara on the Lake
Fax Tel: 905-468-7004
Piloted by licensed captains, these powerful jetboats convey guests on a unique 18 mile tour of the Niagara River. Departing Niagara-on-the-Lake each trip is accompanied by a trip leader who informs and entertains passengers as boats speed upriver into the natural Gorge. Here, the 175 foot high stone walls off the canyon narrow and the current begins to accelerate! The excitement builds and the thrills multiply as the jetboats enter Devil's Hole Rapids and the Famous Whirlpool! Trips go rain or shine! Bring along a change of clothes if possible. The minimum age for the trip is 6 years. The trip is handicap and wheel chair accessible.
Historic Fort Erie
Fort Erie, ON
Admission charged. 5 Years and Under free
The history of the fort and a reenactment of its military history are offered. The Fort is located on the 400 million year old sediments of the Onondaga Escarpment which later became Lake Erie. The shores of the lake contained an ample supply of flint which was important to the nomadic people who originally lived on its shores. The rocky ledges provided material also for their tools and weapons. Conch shells from Florida, obsidian points from the Rocky Mountains and native copper from Lake Ontario are among the artifacts found here, indicating that this was a major trading crossroads for the continent. In 1750 French settlers established a fur trading post here. In 1764, after the ceding of new France to Britain, the British built their first fort here. This and a second fort were destroyed by ice. The third fort was blown up by US forces during the War of 1812. In 1939 the restored fort was opened to the public on Dominion Day. The Niagara Parks Commission now operates the fort and places great emphasis on education. As visitors cross the drawbridge they are shown through the rooms by guards dressed in the uniforms of the 8th regiment as they would have appeared in 1812. During the summer, visitors are invited to watch drills and maneuvers including the firing of a cannon.
Welland Canal Viewing Centre
1932 Government Road
St. Catharines, ON (15 minutes from Niagara Falls)
The Welland Canal was built to bypass the Falls. Ships from all around the world can now sail into the upper Great Lakes and goods can be shipped to world markets. Eight locks provide a 99-m (326 foot) lift between Lake Erie and Ontario. The St. Catharine's Museum gives the history of the Welland Canal and demonstrates how the locks were built and their operation. A special exhibits gallery hosts children's programs. The first Welland Canal was completed in 1829. In the Discovery Room children are guided in an exploration of items from the 19th century. They interact with a telephone switchboard, try on pioneer clothing, etc. The Welland Canal is the passageway through which ships travel between two enormous inland lakes, which are part of the Great Lakes system: Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The canal is 27 miles long and takes 12 hours to navigate through its entire length, including time for the raising and lowering of locks.
Attractions in Nearby New York State
Old Fort Niagara
Cross Rainbow Bridge and take Robert Moses parkway North.
Children under 6 admitted free
Open at 9:00 a.m. daily year round
The site of historic battles,trading and conquest, Old Fort Niagara is a place where the past lives on. Preserved as they stood in the 1700's when France and Britain controlled the whole Niagara region, the fort's structure includes the oldest building in the Great Lakes. There are many buildings and fortifications to explore; fascinating exhibits and displays; musket demonstrations and living history programs.
Aquarium of Niagara
701 Whirlpool Street
Niagara Falls, New York
Open year round at 9am daily
5 minutes from the Falls
Follow signs to 701 Whirlpool Street
Discover living fossil fish that date back 200 million years; encounter endangered Peruvian penguins; explore the largest collection of Great Lakes fish anywhere! Enjoy sea lion demonstrations.