Who knew Niagara Falls could be so magical, fun and kid-friendly? After an hour and a half drive from our home in Toronto, my family and I arrived on the outskirts of the city, catching anticipatory glimpses of some of its brightly lit attractions. During our three-day stay, my six-year-old daughter confronted her fears as we journeyed behind the roaring Falls, rode the 175-foot-high SkyWheel, and flew down a giant waterslide. I confronted my fears in the foyers of a haunted house or two in Clifton Hill, the action-packed main strip by the Falls. My four-year-old son discovered the glory of fudge and turned blue from cotton candy, and my husband became a kid again in a dazzling arcade. (For the record, it was me who scored our daughter the little panda she wanted in one of the arcade’s impossible claw machines!).
A version of this article appeared in our May 2012 issue, with the headline Postcard From ...Niagara Falls, Ont. (p. 30).
Popular wilderness-themed Great Wolf Lodge’s new pièce de resistance is MagiQuest, an interactive game that now fills the upper floors. Families run around the enchanted hallways with special wands on one of several medieval-style quests, searching for ruins, potion ingredients, pixies, dragons and more. The Lodge has a ton of other activities to offer too, including its famous enormous water park, evening storytime pyjama parties, an activities-packed Cub Club, lavish “Scooops” kids’ spa and more. Best thing ever? A kid-only log-cabin-themed area with bunk beds and a TV/game centre.Photo by David Sacks/Getty Images
The spring is a great time to hit Niagara Falls if you want to enjoy its famous botanical gardens.Photo by HotblackDesiato via Flickr
The Butterfly Conservatory at the Botanical Gardens. “Look, Mama,” my son says as a butterfly lands on his leg. “I think I made a new friend!”Photo via iStockphoto.com
Brick City. Enter a world made entirely of Lego-like blocks. The exhibit features the pyramids, Spider-Man, a 10-foot CN Tower, the band AC/DC, the Falls, Star Wars-spaceships and moving trains.Photo via iStockphoto.com
Terrapin Grille Fallsview Restaurant at the Marriott. Enjoy a perfect view of the Falls. Watch the water light up in colour, beginning nightly at dusk.Photo via iStockphoto.com
Jet boat tour of the lower river, which takes you to the Niagara Gorge and back through Devil’s Hole Rapids. Prepare to get wet on the “Wet Jet” tour; stay dry on the “Jet Dome” (whirlpooljet.com).Photo via iStockphoto.com
It wouldn't be a Niagara Falls trip without fresh Canadian fudge and classic candies, now would it? Move over, Willy Wonka!Photo by Richard Elzey via Flickr
Perfect for a rainy day — if you are not staying at Great Wolf Lodge — for minigolf, bowling, state-of-the-art arcade games, billiards and more!Photo by Robert Snache via Flickr
Take a 15-20 minute drive through several picturesque vineyards to the quaint nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake district (be sure to hit The Shaw Café while you're there and try the scrumptious falafel wrap and crunchy baguettes), and enjoy the unique craft, antique and souvenir shops.
Photo by DJ Singh via Flickr
Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners