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Niagara Falls, Day Two

August 20, 2012

On Wednesday, we drove back to the same parking lot.  When we asked how far it was to the Aquarium, the attendant told us that we could park for free at the Aquarium, and ride the trolley anywhere we wanted to go in the park.  Needless to say, we drove straight to the Aquarium.

Seal Feeding Time

The Niagara Aquarium, although not large, is an interesting two story affair.  Exhibits are arranged around the outside perimeter of two circular catwalks, with a two story open space above a large round water tank where seals are fed a couple of times a day.

Sea Anemones dancing in moving water.

One of the things we noted was that many of the creatures at the Aquarium are rescues.  Seals that were injured, nursed back to health, but unable to be returned to the wild… large exotic fish that had been purchased when small, but far outgrew home aquariums… foreign fish and endangered fish that had been confiscated by customs officials.  Knowing all this made it somehow all the more educational.

Rainbow Bridge, one of three crossing points between the U.S. and Canada

We spent time at the Discovery Center, where we learned a bit more about the geology of the area and some of the history surrounding the development of the city of Niagara Falls.  After that, a 40 minute movie, where we learned about the legend of the Maid of the Mist, and saw reenactments of some of the people who survived going over the falls.

And then we headed for the border crossing.

Preparing to pass through the U.S. gates and onto Rainbow Bridge

Jennifer at the International Border midway across the bridge

Rainbow Bridge is a wide vehiclular traffic bridge, with a pedestrian walkway along one side.  It’s a long walk, but seeing the traffic stacked up waiting to pass through customs, we decided it was worth it.

We passed through Canadian passport control without incident behind about ten other people,  then, since it was after noon, we ate lunch at the Secret Garden Restaurant.  As with every other meal we had while in Niagara Falls, this one was okay, but not great.  After lunch, we strolled down River Road and crossed over to the wide boardwalk that overlooks the Niagara River.

Along River Road

The boardwalk overlooking the river runs just below River Road, a major thoroughfare that runs parallel to the river.

Clifton Hill Street, Ontario, Canada

The Canadians have created quite a circus atmosphere just a couple of blocks up from River Road.  It appears to be very kid-friendly, with some places for adults mixed in.  We sat on a park bench for a while and people-watched.

And yes, the view of the falls is much better from the Canadian side.  Again… it was well worth the walk

Horshoe Falls, viewed from Canada

American Falls, viewed from Canada

And, of course, there is always another photo op.

We made a long walk from Clifton Hill through a park area to the Skylon Tower.  Jennifer, Aaron, and Ralph White took the elevator to the top, and were rewarded with a panoramic view of the entire area.  After that, we were directed to a somewhat hidden path down to River Road and the boardwalk.  More views of the falls and the river, and then we made the long trek back to Rainbow Bridge.

Our reentry into the U.S. went smoothly.  The passport control officer seemed to enjoy his authority a bit, but we went through without incident.  We caught a trolley back to the Aquarium parking lot, found a place to eat dinner not far from the hotel, and called it a day.

We really enjoyed this trip.  Niagara Falls can now be crossed off the bucket list, and it can go down as one of the best things we’ve done since we’ve been on the road.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2012 9:59 pm

    Your trip is a delight. It is fun to follow. My first husband and I were planning this same trip before his death. But we planned and planned and never did. Do you need a passport or can you use a birth certificate and drivers license to cross the border. My husband now doesn’t have a passport and I would love to do that trip next summer. Good luck to you on your travels. Happy days.

    • August 22, 2012 2:12 am

      Syd, you do need either a passport or a pass card to cross the border. The Pass Card is substantially less expensive than the Passport, but you still have to submit the same application form, along with birth certificates.

      We bit the bullet and got the Passport, which we may never need, but we like the idea of being prepared if we should ever be able to make a trip on short notice.

      You can read about the difference here:

      We’re so glad you’re enjoying following along with us.

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