After a fabulous weeklong stay in Pennsylvania visiting the DeNoi family we ventured north to Grand Island, New York for our visit to another of those areas that we have been looking forward to seeing in person, Niagara Falls. Thanks to our aunt and uncle, Charlene and Dennis, we didn’t have to do any research on where to stay. Additionally, they gave us some pointers on how best to see the Falls. Neither Dennis or I have ever been to Canada so we chose the Shared Wonder Tour, a package designed to see and experience the most popular sights and attractions on both sides of the border without too much duplication.
Our first tour was of the Canadian side and with passports in hand we left late afternoon to glimpse Niagara Falls for the first time. Our tour took us to many places but to us, the highlights were the Journey Behind the Falls where we navigated through tunnels behind the largest of the three falls, Horseshoe Falls. The journey consists of an observation platform and a series of tunnels that are 151 feet below the waterfall and they allow you to view water cascading in front of the cave entrances. The observation platform provides you a full view of the famous Horseshoe Falls. Another highlight was the Skylon Tower where you take a “Yellow Bug” elevator that gives you a breathtaking view of the Canadian Niagara Falls area as you ascend to 520 feet above the city. When you get to the top you are amazed at the view of all 3 of the Falls. As night fell, the Falls are then transformed into a multi color light show culminated by a fireworks display….amazing!!!
The next day we boarded our bus and saw the American side of the Falls. Our tour guide that day was filled with facts and stories, which made the tour even more interesting. Bob told us the basics such as that the name Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls (Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil) that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States but also how the Falls were formed and of tales of adventurers and thrill seekers who attempted to survive going over the Falls. He took us to the Niagara Gorge and Whirlpool-a Class 6 rapids, Goat Island and then the best part of the whole day, a boat ride on The Maid of the Mist and a walking tour of the Cave of the Winds. The Maid of the Mist takes you from the calm part of the Niagara River near Rainbow Bridge past the American and Bridal Falls then into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of Horseshoe Falls. Words cannot describe the sights and sounds of the 165-foot drop of the water from above. The sound is both deafening and awe inspiring and you get WET!!! After that amazing adventure we saw the Falls from a completely different perspective…..The Cave of the Winds takes you down to the level of the Niagara River at the base of the American Falls. A series of redwood decks and platforms allow you to walk right up to the base of Bridal Falls with water crashing down right on you and water flowing beneath the steps and decks. Needless to say, protective gear was necessary and again, we got VERY wet again.
We can now say we have seen one of the many wonders of the world and if you ever have the chance to see Niagara Falls hopefully you will enjoy it as much as we did!