After the awesome sight of the Falls itself, there is still plenty to keep you busy while you're in Niagara Falls, Canada. If you plan to visit several Niagara Falls attractions, consider buying the Niagara Falls & Great Gorge Adventure Pass, or for those visiting both U.S. and Canadian Niagara Falls attractions, the Niagara Falls Power Pass may be your best buy.
Hornblower Boat Tours
The powerful diesel-engined boats take visitors to the base of the American Falls and then on to the basin of the magnificent Canadian Horseshoe Falls. This is the best way to appreciate the power and roar of the falls. A disposable rain jacket is provided, and you need it. Book your spot ahead online. The boat fills up quickly on summer weekends. Hornblower Boat Tours operate seasonally from about May to October.
Journey Behind the Falls
Journey Behind the Falls is exactly as it sounds: Visitors are guided through a tunnel to a spot behind the Falls where you can hear and see the falling water: lots and lots of it.
Most people, given the choice, would rather do the Hornblower boat tour (formerly Maid of the Mist), but if you just can't get enough of the Falls, the Journey Behind the Falls gives an interesting perspective on this natural wonder and further insight into its power.
Entrance to this attraction is at the Table Rock Welcome Centre, where visitors descend 150 feet by elevator through bedrock to arrive at a tunnel with portals through which you can see and hear the water rushing by. Finally, there is an outdoor viewing platform that puts you at the base of the falls. Rain poncho provided (and needed).
Get a bird's eye view 775 feet (236 meters) above Niagara Falls from the Observation Deck of the Skylon Tower. Visitors can also enjoy dining in the Revolving Dining Room or the more casual Summit Suite Dining Room.
Like so many tall towers erected solely as a tourist attraction, the view may be good but the overall experience lacklustre. Try one of the Fallsview hotel restaurants for a similarly impressive view overlooking the Falls, such as the Embassy Suites or Hilton hotels.
Whirlpool Aero Car
The Niagara Gorge delivers an unexpected visual wallop when you arrive at Niagara Falls via the Niagara Parkway. This upstream view of the massive undulating chasm will have you oohing and ahhing before you even get to the Falls.
For an exhilarating view of the gorge and the Niagara Whirlpool - a naturally occurring whirlpool in the Niagara River - and a rush of adrenalin to boot, try traveling over the gorge and its rapids in an antique cable car.
The Whirlpool Aero Car, opened in 1916, is suspended from six sturdy cables and travels between two different points of the Canadian shore of the Niagara River over the whirlpool. The Whirlpool Aero Car is open seasonally in suitable weather.
Niagara Fallsview Casino
The 2.5 million square foot complex includes more than 3,000 slot machines and 150 gaming tables, a 368-room five-star hotel, fine-dining restaurants, 50,000 square feet of meeting/conference space, a health spa, a retail facility, a 1,500-seat theatre and much more. Located on a stunningly landscaped eight-hectare property, the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort overlooks one of the most famous views in the world – Niagara Falls.
The Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory is part of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens a few minutes from Niagara Falls. The indoor attraction allows visitors to wander amongst recreated tropical conditions in which more than 2,000 butterflies fly freely, a lovely respite from the crowds and craziness around the Falls. Wear bright colored clothing if you want to attract the butterflies to land right on you.
Reasonably priced day rate parking is available at the conservatory; however, the Falls are an almost 2-hour walk away, so parking here for the day is not really practical if you want to see a variety of attractions.
Niagara Helicopter Tours
If the Skylon Tower just isn't high enough for you, maybe Niagara Helicopters can satisfy your lust for elevation. Get an awe-inspiring view of Niagara Falls or travel in chopper style to one of the region's wineries for lunch. Though the tour is short - under 15 minutes - the experience is widely hailed as "bucket list worthy" and regrets are rare.
IMAX Niagara Falls
Experience the thunderous power of Niagara Falls from the safe but exciting perspective of your theatre seat. The IMAX Theatre Niagara Falls features more than six-stories high screen and 12,000 watts of floor-shaking digital surround sound that gives viewers a keen and intimate understanding of the power and force behind the world's most famous waterfall.
Bird Kingdom is the largest indoor aviary in the world, comprising 50,000 square feet of tropical rainforest that houses over 400 birds - many of them free flying. In addition to birds, Bird Kingdom features reptiles, including pythons, tortoises, and lizards, as well as bats. Other highlights include a nocturnal aviary and special exhibit of colorful macaws.
A small display outlines some Niagara Falls history as well as that of the aviary building itself, which is the first poured concrete building in Canada and former corset factory. Visitors should allow at least one hour to visit and buy tickets online ahead of time if possible as you save about 20% off the ticket price.
The aviary is not far from the Falls themselves, straightforward along the Niagara Parkway, 20-minute walk or several minute drive. Parking is available but at a per hour rate.
A great way to get a panoramic view is by taking a ride on the 175 feet (53 metres) high Niagara Skywheel. Located in the entertainment village part of Niagara Falls - Clifton Hill - the attraction is suitable for all ages and offered as part of the Clifton Hill Fun Pass. The Skywheel's pods are comfortable and even heated or cooled according to weather conditions. The Niagara Skywheel is open year-round, day and night.