Ballpark estimate: $63.25 for adults and $43.25 for kids for a Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass (which includes five popular attractions)
Pictures of Niagara Falls don’t do justice for this amazing natural wonder. Every year as many as 30 million visitors discover the thrill that comes with viewing the rushing falls up close and personal, and people from all over the world regularly flock to the falls to spend their honeymoons. One of the very best way to experience the full effects of Niagara Falls is by taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist ferry, which is a boat takes you right up the falls and brings you to the base. The force of the rushing water there and beyond is so strong that you’ll need to wear a raincoat and hat for the journey, since you’ll end up soaked by the time the boat docks again.
What’s in a Name?
Niagara Falls is convenient to access for people coming from both the United States and also Canada, since this landmark sits in between Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The name Niagara Falls actually refers to three falls: the American Falls, Bridal Veil, and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, which is the longest and highest of the falls.
Niagara Falls was formed more than 10,000 years ago as the result of ice that melted after the ice age ended. Today scientists believe that Niagara Falls is eroding and as such, will be gone in the next 50,000 years or so. But in the meantime, it continues to be one of nature’s most magnificent of the water falls anywhere in the world.
Which Side is Better, US or Canadian?
With Niagara Falls straddling two countries, many people wonder which side of the falls would be better to visit. Some tour guides say that if you only have time for a quick visit and you want to get some impressive photos of your trip, the Canadian side is more picturesque, but the U.S. side offers more accessible views of the three falls, making it a popular choice. From the New York location, you can go to the basin to look up at the falls and hear the powerful waterfalls. From the Canadian side, unless you go on a tour, you’ll only be able to see the falls from the top down. Nonetheless, both sides have much to offer and it’s worth trying to fit them both in when you take a trip to that region.
However, one important point to remember is that you will need your passport if you leave one country to enter the other one.
Things to Do
When you go to visit Niagara Falls, there are many activities worth exploring. You can take a boat tour or an aerial helicopter tour to see the falls from different angles. You can also hike the walking paths on Goat Island, which is an island in the Niagara River in between the Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. In addition, you have the option to drive over the bridge and park on the island or find street parking on the mainland and then walk over the bridge to get a view on foot. You can visit Niagarafrontier.com for ideas to help you plan your itinerary and include activities your entire family will enjoy.
Cost to Visit Niagara Falls
What you can expect to spend at Niagara Falls depends on what you want to do. If you plan to visit on the New York side of the falls, it’s free to go to the Niagara Falls State Park, although it costs $10 to park for the day.
If you plan on doing multiple attractions over the course of a few days, it’s usually well worth it to invest in a Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass, which gives you five attractions for one low price of $63.25 for adults and $43.25 for kids between 6 and 12-years-old. Kids 5-years-old and under are free. (Note that you can this pass discounted if you order yours online in advance). The pass also includes all day transportation to each attraction.
The activities covered under this pass include:
- Maid of the Mist, a boat ride that travels to the bottom of the falls and requires wearing a plastic rain coat and hat to protect you from the sprays of the falls, which soak the deck of the boat. (To pay separately this costs $18.25 for adults and $10.65 for kids.)
- Cave of the Winds, which involves taking an elevator 175 feet down to the base of the falls. Participants wear special footwear and rain ponchos and follow a tour guide through a maze of wooden stairways that bring them close to the falls, including as close as 20 feet from Bridal Veil Falls. (Separately, this costs $17 for adults and $14 for kids).
- The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, which gives you the history of the falls and the surrounding area. It also has a 180-degree theatre screen and a rock climbing wall with fossil formations. Also, this is where all the miles of hiking trails begin. (The cost separately would be $3 for adults and $2 for children).
- The Niagara Aquarium, which has sharks, seals, and Penguins among many other forms of sea life. They also give behind the scene tours that give an idea how aquariums work. (The cost separately for adults is $11, for seniors is $9.25 and for children is $7.),
- The Niagara Adventure Theatre, which shows movies of Niagara Falls. (The cost to pay separately for adults is $12 and for children is $8.)
There are also two dinner theaters to choose from on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. One is a magic show and dinner, which costs $35 to $55 for adults and $20 to $33 for children. The other is a musical about all of Canada’s popular people and attractions, from Anne of Green Gables to hockey players and musicians all from Canada. The price for adults for the dinner and show is anywhere from $30 to $70, and for children ranges from $20 to $70.
Regardless of which activities you select to do at Niagara Falls, you’ll likely get a first-hand glimpse of nature in all of its glory and hopefully will have some wonderful photos that can serve as a tangible reminder of the beauty of the falls long after you have gone home.