Over the years, there has been so much hype about Niagara Falls, talk about over commercialism, and superlative descriptions, we didn’t know what to expect. Would it be all that great? Would we be impressed or disappointed that it didn’t reach our expectations?
Well, we need not have worried. There are no words or photos superlative enough to describe it’s grandeur. Our day spent at Niagara Falls was by far the most enjoyable day of the summer trip.
As we neared the state park, there seemed to be a lot of fog in the area, and we were afraid the forecast of showers for the day might materialize early.
We were soon to learn that the “fog” is permanent – not fog at all, but mist created by the power of the falls. The water falls at 32 feet per second over the falls, hitting the base of the falls with 280 tons of force at the American and Bridal Veil Falls and 2,509 tons of force at the Horseshoe Falls.
Niagara Falls is contained within the Niagara Falls State Park, America’s Oldest State Park, established in 1885.
The park was designed by America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, perhaps best known for designing New York City’s Central Park. Olmsted believed that parks should be places of natural beauty, where “the masses could be renewed.” This philosophy was applied throughout Olmstead’s landscape design for Niagara Falls State Park, with an entire network of footpaths through wooded areas and along the banks of the Niagara River. Today, the oldest American state park retains Olmsted’s vision by staying committed to maintaining native vegetation, preserving its unparalleled vistas and providing public access.
Not wanting to miss anything, we decided to purchase a Discovery Pass,which covers all attractions at the park.
We thought it would be wise to take the boat trip first.
On our way to the dock, we took a few minutes to ascend to the top of the Observation Tower.
View of the tower from another angle.
Rising almost 300 feet, the view of all three falls from the walkway near the top is fantastic!
The Maid of the Mist takes you from the Observation Tower to the base of Horseshoe Falls. There is a U.S. Maid of the Mist and a Canadian version. This is a photo of the Canadian Maid of the Mist as it leaves its dock.
In the opposite direction, the bridge leading from the U.S. to Canada makes another impressive view. We forgot to take our passports along, so we were not able to cross over the bridge.
The boarding ramp starts at the Observation Tower and winds down to the dock.
TICKETS MAY CAUSE EXTREME SATURATION.
Since you are provided with disposable raincoats, we thought we’d be protected.
Little did we know.
Looking back at the Observation Tower
Before we even reached the closest point to Horseshoe Falls, our feet were drenched.
It was like being outside in a windy rainstorm.
Ron managed to stay a little drier than I, since I kept trying to take photos while trying to keep the camera dry, and the water would run down inside my sleeves.
Entering Horseshoe Falls
This crop from a postcard shows an aerial view of Horseshoe Falls.
We then climbed the stairs up to the Crow’s Nest, where you get close enough to the American Falls to be in the mist.
Ron decided not to tackle quite all the stairs…that’s him sitting in the center on the rock…..
Again, it’s one of those scenes you have to experience…photos cannot do justice. This was as close as I could photograph without doing damage to the camera. As I got closer, I was enveloped by the spray.
A trolley system transports you throughout the park.
Whether you ride on the trolley or walk, the park grounds are extremely well cared for and lovely.
The walk to the overlook at Bridal Falls was next on our list. It also provides a good view back of American Falls.
The famous rainbow of Bridal Falls is captured in the photo.
You go beneath the American Falls by navigating your way across the catwalks to the famous Hurricane Deck. The power of the thunderous falling water here is mind boggling. It was almost hard to stand upright.
This is looking down on the catwalk. An elevator transfers you down to the catwalk.
Once again, it was impossible to take photos beyond a certain point. It was all I could do to protect the camera under the rainwear.
As you move throughout the park, you cannot refrain from snapping one photo after another.
An arched walkway lets you walk over the highway to the Aquarium of Niagara.
This view of the city is from the top of the walkway.
Outdoors, we met several varieties of harbor seals.
Indoors were all manner of aquatic mammals and fish.
The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center has many interactive displays.
Last on our list was the Niagara Legends of Adventure Theater Imax theater which took you through a variety of legends, daredevil acts and real life Niagara heroics. It was a wonderful way rest our weary feet to end our day. Fortunately, the rain had held off all day, and only began to sprinkle as we entered the theater.
Niagara Falls was an experience we will never forget!