The Niagara Falls State Park in Niagara Falls, New York is the oldest state park in the USA. Built in 1885, the park contains many attractions, most importantly the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and part of the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls. All three falls together constitute the majestic Niagara Falls on the Niagara River. The river is also home to many islands, each with its own beauty. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the park by retaining its natural environment and allowing visitors to explore the area through a network of footpaths.
Today, millions of people from all over the world visit the park to get a close view of the thundering waterfalls. There are many attractions within and around the Niagara Falls State Park. The Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds tours enable the visitors to experience the splendour of the falls. Other attractions include Goat Island, Green Island, the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, Niagara gorge Discovery Center and the Aquarium of Niagara.
Niagara Falls State Parks Attractions and Amenities
A great place for a spectacular view of the falls is Goat Island, situated in the middle of the Niagara Falls. This small island with no inhabitants is located between the Horseshoe and the Bridal Veil Falls. Named after goats which no longer exist there, Goat Island is accessible only from the American side of the falls. It’s a great place to walk amidst the greenery while checking out the sights. Visitors flock to Terrapin Point, an observation area near the Horseshoe Falls to check out the cascading waters. Additionally, the Top of the Falls restaurant located on the island is a great place to dine and offers an amazing view of the falls. Goat Island also provides access to the Cave of the Winds tour.
Green Island located near Goat Island was once a highly industrialized area. The rapid industrialization resulted in the erosion of the natural environment. Andrew Green, after whom the island is named, was instrumental in protecting the landscape of the island. All encroachments and private industries were removed and the island was restored to its beautiful former glory. From Goat Island, people can also visit Three Sisters Islands and the Luna Island that separates the Bridal Veil Falls from the American Falls.
Cave of the Winds
This tour takes visitors to the front of the falls and provides an opportunity to view the falls at a close range. An elevator takes the visitor into the Niagara gorge. From here onwards, a guided tour takes people over wooden walkways to the Hurricane Deck just 20 feet away from the Bridal Veil Falls. The feeling is equivalent to being in the midst of the falls as visitors are enveloped in a spray of water. Protection from the spray is provided in the form of yellow ponchos and appropriate footwear. There’s another deck 150 feet from the base of the falls for the physically challenged and for families with very young children.
Maid of the Mist
The Maid of the Mist recently took up residence in Niagara Falls, New York, USA. It’s a boat ride worth going for as it offers an up, close and personal view of the falls. These boat tours have had a long history beginning in 1846 and each steamboat is named Maid of the Mist. Operational during April/May to October, the ride takes the visitor along the Niagara River passing by the American and Bridal Veil Falls and then going near the curve that forms the basin of the Horseshoe Falls. Visitors can experience the beauty of the falls at close quarters and get drenched in the spray of the flowing water. Hooded blue ponchos are given to the visitors to protect them from getting wet.
The Niagara Falls Observation Tower is the place to get a complete, undisturbed view of the falls. With its base at the gorge level, the tower made of aluminium, glass and steel looms to a height of over 200 feet. The observation deck extends out over the gorge from where the falls and the flowing rapids make for an arresting sight. The tower is also a popular place for watching birds including bald eagles, gulls and falcons. Additionally, the Maid of the Mist tour starts from the base of this tower.
Niagara Gorge Discovery Center
At the Niagara gorge Discovery Center, visitors can explore natural and local history. Also here is the Niagara gorge Trailhead Center, the starting point for various hiking and biking trails. Adventure lovers can also indulge in rock climbing. For those interested in the history of the falls, the multi-screen theatre at this place screens a presentation on the formation of the Niagara Falls.
Niagara Adventure Theater
The Niagara: Legends of Adventure feature presentation helmed by Academy Award winning producer Kieth Merrill is screened at the Niagara Adventure Theater. It showcases the stories, myths and mysteries spun around explorers and adventurers who ventured into the Niagara Falls. Footage acquired over the years backed up by amazing cinematography paints a fascinating account of events related to the falls. The 40 minute feature is screened every hour on a 45 foot screen with Dolby Digital surround sound at the theater which is situated at the Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center.
Aquarium of Niagara
The aquarium offers a peek into the aquatic ecosystems of the Great Lakes with several displays and exhibits as well as educational programs. Adults and especially children will enjoy looking at over 1500 aquatic animals here including penguins, sea lions, sharks, seals, sturgeons, seahorses and many others.
Visitors can purchase a Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass from the Niagara Falls Visitor Center for discounts up to 35% on various attractions inside the park. The Niagara Falls Scenic Trolley is a good way to get around the park. On board the eco-friendly trolley, the visitors get an overview of the park as well as tips on the attractions inside and around it. The Niagara Falls State Park is open on all days of the week throughout the year, however attractions around the park have different schedules depending upon the season.
Located directly across the border, Niagara Falls State Park, New York, USA, is a great natural attraction that has to be seen to be believed. Stay at the award winning four-star Marriott on the Falls during your Niagara Falls Vacation. For the best possible rates view our: