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Visiting Niagara Falls
Beautiful and breathtaking are just two of the words used to describe Niagara Falls; one of the world’s greatest scenic destinations, and one of the most popular because of its easy accessibility. Set on the Niagara River, the falls are shared between Canada and the United States though as many a Canadian will tell you, the views are much better on our side of the river!
The Facts About Niagara Falls!
While there are higher and wider waterfalls in the world, Niagara is spectacular for its own points – it has the highest combined flow rate of any waterfall in the world when you total together the flow of the three falls that go to make up “Niagara”: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. What this means for us tourists is a continual, thundering surge of water that amounts to on average nearly 4 million cubic feet (110,000 cubic metres) of water every minute! That’s a lot of water, and probably the best way to experience this is by riding the infamous Maid of the Mist boat, or taking a behind the scenes look in the Journey Behind the Falls attraction. More on these in a minute!
Niagara Falls was created be receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age when the Great Lakes were formed. The natural flow of water was downstream, towards the Atlantic Ocean, so the water coming from the Great Lakes carved a path through here.
Of the three falls, Horseshoe Falls is renowned as the most impressive. The water drops the furthest here, 173 feet (53 metres), and these falls are the widest too, at 2600 feet (790 metres) wide. Of course, the falls are always changing because the water erodes the land around them at a rate of about 1 foot (30 centimetres) per year. This doesn’t sound like much, but with the path the water is cutting from Lake Erie eroding too, it’s estimated that if you came back here in 50,000 years the falls won’t exist anymore!
Viewing Niagara Falls
There are many ways that you can get to see the mighty Niagara Falls, and the most common, cheapest and easiest way is to simply walk along the Niagara Parkway. This is the road that runs alongside the Niagara River and the falls, and there are car parks where you can pay to leave the car and get out and walk, or take the buses that run up and down the Parkway.
For a bird’s eye view of Niagara Falls the Skylon Tower is the best attraction. It’s only from up here that you can really appreciate their size because you get to see the whole of Horseshoe Falls plus views of the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls too.
The Maid of the Mist is Niagara’s most famous and longest running attraction, and for good reason! There’s no other way that you can get to cruise up to the bottom of the falls, stand in the perpetual mist, and gaze up to the top, though there is a way that you can get to stand behind the falls! Journey Behind the Falls allows you to do this, walking along a series of observation platforms and tunnels that go behind the falls, you can actually experience what it’s like to stand behind the water flow! You’ll find this attraction is part of the Table Rock Welcome Centre where there are also additional observation levels to see the falls from.
There are also several attractions down the river a little way, such as the Whirlpool Aero Cars that transport you over the Niagara Whirlpool. This is a section of the river within the Niagara Gorge where a natural whirl