Niagara Falls has been a tourist attraction ever since Euorpeans settled in North America. The absolutely unbelievable falls inspired many European and American writers to attempt to capture in words not just appearance of the falls themselves but also their but to relate the thoughts of God and nature that came into their heads as they stood on the brink of the cascade. Every visitor who stands on the edge of the Table Rock Lookout and watches the massive flow of water thrust over the precipice of the escarpment will be affected in a deep way by this truly awesome natural wonder. It is a mesmerizing experience.
For the hoards of tourists who visit the Falls in all seasons, a whole series of extra attractions have been created. In earlier times Niagara Falls was developed as a destination for honeymooners. Thus there are still today dozens of hotels, motels and B&Bs stretching along the river downstream from the Falls and along the old road entering the city. They have a quaint quality of being a little out-of-date as they were built in the period from 1930s to the 1960s. These were the tourist services of half a century ago.
After the honeymooners or with them came the thrill seekers who still wander the streets of the Niagara Falls taking in such attractions as the Criminal Hall of Fame Wax Museum, Nightmares Fear Factory, Screamer’s House of Horrors, and the venerable Ripley’s Believe It or Not! that is claimed to have been “shocking and amazing families for years”.
Less high tech thrills are to be had around the Falls themselves. I grew up near the Falls and visited the city over and over again during my teen years. On each visit I did the same things. First I stood at Table Rock and watched the water thunder into the gorge. Then I took the tour down an elevator to see the Falls from behind. This is, in my opinion, one of the most dramatic experiences of the power of nature to be had in North America. Then I would take a ride on the Maid of the Mist up to the bottom of the Falls. It’s an unforgettable thrilling short boat trip.
If you drive a short distance down the Niagara River you can ride the popular cable car, or as it’s now called the aero car, over the whirlpool in the Niagara Gorge. This is less thrilling than it used to be, for at one time, believe it or not, tourists were not quite so familiar with being suspended high in the air on cables.
A tamer but no less awe inspiring experience of the power of the Niagara River can be had at the nearby White Water Walk which takes you down into the gorge for a stroll along the river bank.
A fairly recent addition to those seeking thrills in Niagara Falls is the Niagara Falls Casino Resort. Here you can be entertained with first-rate live shows and enjoy the effects of gambling, either multiplying or loosing the money that remains in your pocket after taking in all the other attractions of Niagara Falls.
For those with kids in tow be sure to visit the Butterfly Conservatory