From the Observation Tower, we rode the elevators down to the river level to board a tour of the Falls on the famous Maid of The Mist. There were actually two Maid of the Mist's running. We were given a blue plastic poncho to help keep us dry, that we sure put to good use! . The tour lasted about 20 minutes and was outstanding. It's hard to explain or convey the magnitude, fury and beauty of the falls at such a close distance, and to actually feel the wind and mist from them was way cool. There is pretty much an identical tour going on at the same time on the Canadian side. Their ship's names are Hornblowers and are large catamarans that look to be somewhat larger than The Maid of the Mist. Folks on the Canadian side are given red plastic ponchos which can be seen in the pictures. After we exited the ship tour, we climbed the steps up to whats known as "The Crow's Nest" which is an observation area adjacent to The American Falls where you can actually reach out and touch the water coming across the falls. Needless to say, we got soaked, even with the poncho, but was a good experience.
After leaving the Falls area, we rode the trolley over to the Aquarium and Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. We waited in line a long time on the Discovery Center, but finally had to give up and move on to the Aquarium, which had quite a few exhibits and a large tank with sea lions frolicking about. We saw a large variety of fish and creatures common to the area. We got back on the trolley to ride back to the Visitor Center where we viewed a film about historical events pertaining to the Falls with a spectacular recreation of legends and real life.
Here are some little known tidbits about Niagara Falls you might find interesting:
There are over 8 million visitors to the park annually.
Over one million ponchos are used annually for the Maid of the Mist tour.
Over 500,000 pairs of sandals are used annually at the Cave of the Winds.
3,160 tons of water flow over Niagara Falls every second.
45,000 pounds of food is used annually to feed the animals at the Aquarium.
|Sign at parking lot (that was full)|
|Pretty neat map of the entire park|
|View of the Falls with large buildings in background on Canadian side.|
|Folks aboard the Hornblower on Canadian side.|
|All those blue dots are folks in line going to the Crows Nest. This shot taken from Observation Tower.|
|Meemee and yours truly on the Observation Tower.|
|View of the Falls from the Observation Tower. The falls in the background is Horseshoe Falls.|
|Headed to the Falls!|
|Bridge to Canada spanning the Niagara River just below the Falls.|
|Folks boarding the Maid of the Mist.|
|We've got our gear on and ready to go!|
|Meemee and Bailey are ready too!|
|Upper deck of our ship. There were probably as many folks on the lower deck.|
|Shot of American Falls and Bridal Falls. The folks in the yellow ponchos are on the walkway to go into Cave of the Winds.|
|Wow! Horseshoe Falls|
|Niagara Falls Trolley, of which there were many. They run a continuous loop within the park and you can get on and off as often as you want.|