Tuesday, September 05, 2006

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Niagara Falls

I never gave too much thought about going to Niagara Falls. It was one of those places that was always not too far away, so I figured some day I would see it, but no rush. It was kind of the way I felt about Canada in general- it was close enough that I knew I would make it there eventually. I'm glad that our trip to Ohio to visit my sister finally brought us out that way. It seemed like the perfect place to break up our long drive and spend a couple nights.

The falls themselves are really cool. They didn't look how I imgained. For some crazy reason I thought the drop would be taller, but each set of falls is about 170 feet high, so that's not too shabby. There are three sets of falls: The American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe/Canadian Falls. I had always thought growing up there was just one, giant waterfall. Oh, the things you don't learn in school. Anyway, The Horseshoe Falls is (yes, you guessed it) shaped like a big horseshoe. At its peak volume it pours out 600,000 gallons of water per second. That's where all those silly folks went over in barrels and what not. There aren't any rocks at the bottom to smash you to bits.

We got up close and personal with the Bridal Veil Falls as we took the "Cave of The Winds" tour. Now, they don't tell you this before you buy your ticket, but there is no longer an actual cave anymore. It's not safe to go into, so now it's more like the "Lots of winds and spray in your face" tour. We got pretty wet. They give you big ponchos and special shoes for walking on the wooden steps, but as you ascend you just get bombarded with spray and while it's kind of cool, the little ones don't care for it too much. It's kind of like taking a shower with all your clothes on. And then you get to stand in line while the next sorry group of tourists come down for their tour and they say things like, "Oh, look at you! You sure got soaked!" and you smile and nod and think, "Keep laughing, Mr. Madras shorts. You're next."

Now our hotel was on the NY side, and it was a bit more affordable than the Canadian side, but if you want a nice view of the falls, or you just want to stay out of Niagara Falls, NY, (which is a little on the seedy side) I would recommend putting up the extra dough. The park on the NY side over on Goat Island is really nice, though, and worth checking out because you get pretty close up to all the falls. And if you do stay in NY you can literally walk over a bridge to Canada (just don't forget your birth certificate-soon you will need your passport) and check out the beautiful gardens and many fun activities to be had over there. Our kids were too small for a lot of the entertainment- huge ferris wheel overlooking the falls, many haunted houses, DC Comics fun land, Spiderman rides, etc.- but if your kids are a little older they would have a blast here. Still, ours had a great time and we visited an indoor aviary that the kids just loved.

Oh, and at night they light up the falls in hues of pink, blue and green, which I'm sure looks really cool from the Canadian side. And I can see why this is known as a major honeymoon destination. There's something kind of intoxicating about the rush and constant roar of the water. Someday Ernesto and I will have to make it up there without the kids. Hee hee.

For a photo montage you can check out the ones we've uploaded to Flickr. I am too tired and lazy to put any more here. Oh, and if I look a little pudgier than usual in the pictures, blame the new camera. Or our baby who's due in April. Doh!

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