Niagara Falls – Maid of the Mist, Discovery Center, Aquarium, Prospect Point, Other Attractions

Continued from Visitor / Tourist Information…
Niagara Falls attractions on the American side –

1) Prospect Point : Of course the number one attraction is the Falls which can be viewed from different points. The first viewing point is Prospect point. This is close to the Niagara falls Visitor Centre at the park. From here one can get to view a portion of the Horse Shoe falls (of the Canadian side) and also get a side view of the American falls.
Below: View from prospect Point-

View From Prospect Point, Niagara Falls

2) Niagara Falls Illumination and Fireworks: At night the falls are illuminated in multi colored lights.
Niagara Falls illuminated
 
Niagara Falls fire worksOn Friday and Sunday nights there are fireworks.

3) The Maid of the Mist: Near the Visitor centre is the Observation Deck and the elevator which takes one way down the gorge height to the edge of the river from where one can board the boat named ‘Maid of the Mist’. The Observation deck affords a wonderful view of both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls (Canada) of Niagara.
Below: View as seen from the observation deck –
Niagara Falls

Below: Observation deck and the American Falls as viewed during the Maid of the Mist boat tour. Behind the deck a portion of the Rainbow Bridge connecting US and Canada, can be seen.

Obersvation Deck at Niagara Falls as seen from below

All the “Maid of the Mist” boats are named the same with a roman number distinguishing them from one another.
Maid of the Mist boat tour, Niagara Falls

 The Maid takes you to a ride to the falls. One can view the American Falls and the Horse Shoe Falls from the front.
Below: View of the falls up close.

Niagara Falls, American side

As the falls come down and hit the rocks below there is a huge amount of cloud like mist rising up or blowing side wards depending on the direction of the wind. It is wonderful feeling the tiny droplets on your face and hands. A poncho is given to every passenger to avoid getting wet. This is a must see at Niagara.

4) Rainbow Bridge :  This takes one to Canada. You can just walk across – of course you would require your passport. The Bridge is close to the Maid of the Mist station and the Niagara Falls Visitor Centre. P1 (Parking lot) is next to it.
Below: Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge connecting US and Canada

5) Niagara Scenic Trolley : A ride in the trolley will give an idea about the extent of the park and the available attractions within the park. The tickets cost $2 and are valid for the full day. The ticket is in the form of a paper wrist band so that takes off the hassle of carrying the ticket around. The trolley has a guide who would give details about the park and falls during the ride. It is an attraction in itself.

6) Cave of the Winds: This is on Goat Island which can be reached by a pedestrian bridge or the American Rapids Bridge a little further down. The trolley also stops here. This is a totally amazing experience where one can almost stand under the American Falls. ( More pictures and information about Cave of the Winds )

Cave of the Winds, Niagara Falls, as seen from river

You would get drenched in this though a poncho and rubber slippers are given to each visitor. An elevator takes you down to the spot from where one can walk up the wooden stairs and paths made right beneath the falls. It is exhilarating. If you like Sea Gulls this is the place to observe them up close. They have their nests and chicks on the rocks here. A must visit.7) Niagara Adventure Theatre: This is a movie (40 minutes duration) about the legends of Niagara – from 12000 years ago to recent times. It is quite boring and if you are short of time you can skip it. Most of us go for it since this show ticket is included in Discovery Pass.

8) Niagara Gorge Discovery Center: This is a small exhibit with geological and structural details of the river gorge’s past and present.

Niagara Gorge Discovery Center

There is a 11 minute movie – again quite boring. There is also a 9 minute simulated elevator ride along the different rock strata of the gorge. It was informative. The Trolley can take you here. This is also close to the P1 parking lot.
 
9) The Niagara Aquarium: From right outside the Discovery Center there is a walkway bridge leading to the aquarium.
Niagara Aquarium
It is a small aquarium but interesting. There are a couple of rescued seals (both blind) but totally loveable. They can be fed by visitors between 12 noon and 2 PM. A bowl of fish for them costs $5. 
Niagara aquarium - penguins

Niagara aquarium
 There are Penguins, sea lions, a variety of sharks, and various other residents of water bodies. It is worth a visit.
Continued in Niagara Attractions – Part 2