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Niagara Falls has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada since before the last century. The Falls and the attractions that surround them consistently rank as top travel destinations for families and visitors from around the world. Growing up in Ontario, Niagara Falls was the obligatory day trip destination to bring our out-of-town visitors, to marvel at the natural wonder and enjoy the many things to do in Niagara Falls with kids in Canada.

Whether it’s getting soaked on a jet boat, viewing the incredible Falls from above (or below), having fun at local theme or water park, or watching a re-enactment of the War of 1812, there’s no shortage of fun and exhilarating attractions in Niagara Falls, Canada. Here are our top 11 things to do in Niagara Falls with kids.

maid of the mist boat things to do in niagara falls with kids

Things to do in Niagara Falls with Kids

1. The Falls

The Falls were created as a legacy of the last Ice Age 18,00 years ago. And they still has the power to inspire wonder in worldly travelers. They deliver an inspiring demonstration of the raw power of nature.

Over 6 million cubic ft of water go over the Falls every minute during summer. You will hear the roar of the Falls even before you see it. The beautiful green colour of the Niagara River that feeds the Falls is a result from dissolved minerals and limestone that are swept over the Falls every day. It’s a stunning site.

boat heading into the miss in niagara falls
 A boat tour is the best way to see and feel Niagara Falls up close

The view from the Canadian side of the Falls (known as the Horseshoe Falls due to its shape) is wide and impressive. The pathway along the Niagara River allows you to get very close to the action as the water makes its way to the drop off of the Falls themselves. If you’re not too afraid, lean over a bit to try and see through the mist, but be mindful of kids leaning over the low railing or when posing for photos.

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2. Journey Behind the Falls

This popular attraction offers a illuminating view of history, and of the physical reality behind the Falls. Slip on a yellow poncho to keep yourself dry as you descend in an elevator down 150 feet. It passes through bedrock to tunnels leading one third of the way behind the Falls.

Interpretive signs and plaques describe interesting Falls Facts, such as how the tunnels were built. They detail the history of daredevils who plunged over (or walked above) the Falls. The Cataract and the Great Falls tunnel portals bring you up close to the roaring water.

Walk out onto the Lower Observation Deck to view the Falls from below. If you thought that the Falls were impressive from above, you’ll be even more amazed at how powerful they look – and feel – from underneath.

3. Hornblower Niagara Falls Tours

The 30-minute Hornblower Niagara Falls Boat Tour takes you past the base of the American Falls (which are accessible via the Maid of the Mist), Bridal Veil Falls, and then up close and personal with the Canadian side of the Horsehoe Falls.

You’ll actually feel the thundering intensity of the water flow, and you’ll certainly see it in the ever-present mist. Even your poncho won’t save you from a good soaking.

4. Niagara’s Fury

Niagara’s Fury will literally shake the ground beneath your feet. This is a 4D multi-sensory attraction that allows you to experience the formation and creation of the Falls, complete with water spray and cold, ice age-like temperatures.

The eight-minute animated pre-show with star Chip the Beaver is great for the kids, and explains how the Ice Age formed Niagara Falls. A six minute, 4D ‘Fury’ show follows the animated geology lesson. You will get wet, but the blue poncho should save you from the worst of the cold water.

5. Skylon Tower

The best views of Niagara Falls can be found high up in the air, 775 feet above the Falls to be precise. The Skylon Tower offers incredible views of both sides of the Falls, as well as the surrounding area, including the city skylines of Buffalo and Toronto.

Step outside onto the observation deck for 360 degree photo opportunities of the Falls. There are two fine dining restaurants at the top, a 3D movie theatre, and a Family Fun Centre.

6. Whirlpool Aero Car

Looking to soar over the Great Gorge from a 99-year old antique cable car? This unique attraction takes you on a one kilometre round trip over the Niagara River, with incredible views of the Niagara Whirlpool and Gorge. Have your camera at the ready and make sure it’s strapped tightly to your wrist! It’s a long way down to the Class 5 white water rapids below.

niagara river aerocar

7. Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour

If you’re up for some serious thrills during your visit to Niagara Falls, don’t miss the Whirlpool Jet Boat tour. This is one of the most intense experiences you can do with kids in Niagara Falls. Jet Boat speeds along the Niagara River at 60 mph to the Class 5 whitewater rapids in the Great Gorge. Do prepare to get fully soaked (your poncho is just a thin, bright accessory, with zero water protection) during this wet, wild ride that everyone in the family can do, provided they’re 40″ tall and in good health.

jet boat on niagara river
 Challenge your fear in Class 5 whitewater rapids of the Niagara Whirlpool. (Credit: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation)

8. Butterfly Conservatory

Located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, the warm indoor setting of the Butterfly Conservatory is perfect for viewing the more than 2,000 tropical butterflies floating in the lush jungle rainforest. Kids will be amazed watching pupae become butterflies through the Emergence Window, and you can take your time wandering through the pathways and trying to count how many butterfly species you can identify (Hint: there are 45 different species living in the Conservatory.)

If you have bird lovers in your family, don’t miss Bird Kingdom. This is the world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary, filled with 400 species of colorful birds, including parrots, flamingoes, owls, peacocks and many earth-bound amphibians.

girl with butterfly at niagara falls butterfly conservatory
 Marvel at over 45 species of beautiful butterflies at the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory. (Credit: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation)

9. Niagara SkyWheel + Clifton Hill

The touristy area of Clifton Hill consists of a large entertainment complex that includes restaurants, a 4D theatre, arcade games, dinosaur mini-golf, bowling alley, haunted house, and the Great Canadian Midway. The premier attraction is the SkyWheel. It whisks you up 175 feet above the ground in fully enclosed, climate controlled gondolas, with incredible views of the Falls and the Niagara skyline. The ride lasts from 8 to 12 minutes, and is open year-round. Tip: Get a Clifton Hill fun pass to save money if you plan to visit more than one attraction.

niagara skywheel with kids
The Niagara SkyWheel whisks you up for breathtaking views of the Falls and the skyline all year round

10. Drive the Niagara Parkway 

The scenic Niagara Parkway and Garden Trail winds 22 km above the Niagara Gorge from Niagara Falls to the quaint and highly touristy Niagara-on-the-Lake village. The drive offers beautiful views onto vineyards, the Niagara River, the Floral Clock, and stunning heritage homes. There are walking paths off of the Parkway if you want to explore the area on foot.

niagara river in summer
Follow the Niagara River via the scenic Parkway

11. Niagara Heritage Sites

The Niagara area was a key location of conflict during the War of 1812 between Canada and the United States. There are many important historical sites along the route, including Laura Secord House in Queenston, and Brock’s Monument. The battle forts of the War of 1812, Fort George and Old Fort Erie, have been restored to their former glory, and Fort life is re-enacted in lively fashion during the summer months.

Looking for more things to do in Niagara Falls? Check out these great suggestions from our friends at Gone with the Family.

niagara falls 1812 historical re-enactment
Enjoy the historical re-enactment of the War of 1812 at Old Fort Erie. (Credit: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation)

12. Niagara Parks Power Station

We’ve added a bonus addition to our list of Niagara Falls attractions. The newly renovated Niagara Parks Power Station is a thrilling testimony to industrial engineering from over 115 years ago. It’s one of the most intriguing things to do in Niagara Falls with kids, and will be of interest to anyone keen on history and learning more about the combined power of nature and science.

For 100 years, the Canadian Niagara Power Station harnessed the powerful energy of the Horseshoe Falls and turned it into a great source of electricity. Today, years after its turbines came to a halt, the wonder of this hydropower pioneer is coming back to life in an entertaining and educational experience.

From the most towering turbine to the tiniest detail, uncover fascinating stories hidden within the historic Niagara Parks Power Station, opening in summer 2021. Explore the first major power plant on the Canadian side of the Niagara River with immersive exhibits, restored artifacts and interactive storytelling. And at night, feel the once-dormant power station come to life in a breathtaking interactive experience.

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls

The many attractions at Niagara Falls make for a perfect weekend getaway with the family. Finding central, family-friendly hotel accommodation in Niagara Falls is key to maximizing your holiday time together.

Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark Resort is one o the most popular accommodation choices for families. It’s essentially an indoor water park with a hotel attached; a winning formula if there ever was one. Our family has stayed there several times, and the kids absolutely loved the wave pool, water slides and games room area.

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The Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel is just steps away from the Horseshoe Falls, and in walking distance to many of the attractions included above.

The Marriott Fallsview features a variety of room options, including spacious 2-room Family Suites with a view of the Falls. Don’t forget to visit Fallsview indoor waterpark with the kids, while adults can enjoy and the award-winning Serenity Spa.

Tip: There are several, money-saving Niagara Falls Passes to choose from for a variety of regional attractions, including; the Ultimate Niagara Falls Tour, the Wonder Pass, Adventure Pass, Clifton Hill Fun Pass, and Heritage Trail Pass. Plan the attractions you want to visit (and how you plan to get there), and choose your pass accordingly.

PIN FOR LATER

Photo Credits: C Laroye {unless otherwise noted}; Shutterstock

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