The majestic wonder of Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is not the tallest, or longest waterfall in the world but it is easily one of the most famous.
Niagara is actually composed of 3 waterfalls, the American Falls, the Bridal veil and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
Niagara is one of two major Waterfalls to lie on the boarder of two countries, the other is Victoria falls in South Africa.
History and facts about Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls was formed about 12,000 to 4000 years ago by glacier melt.
The American Falls are 174 feet high, but there is about 100 feet of rocks built up at the base so it appears to be only 70 feet high.
In 1969 all water flow to the American Falls was stopped to see if the rocks at the base could be removed to give the falls a better appearance.
After several months study it was determined that the cost would be too great and to leave the falls as they are.
The Canadian Horseshoe Falls are only 167 feet tall, That is puny compared to tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in South America which is 2,421 tall!
Niagara Falls is the second largest falls in terms of width, the largest is Victoria Falls in southern Africa.
But when it comes to sheer volume of water going over the falls, Niagara has the rest beat. While Victoria falls has an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water plummeting over the edge every minute. The combined Niagara Falls have 750,000 U.S. gallons of water going over the falls every second!
This is because 4 of the 5 Great Lakes drain into the Niagara River that feeds Niagara Falls.
The First "white man" to discover the falls was Samuel de Champlain, who was exploring the area in 1604.
Over the next 150 years other explorers brought back tails of a magnificent waterfall. By 1800 tourist were starting to flock to the area to see this wonder first hand. The First foot bridge over the Niagara River was build in 1848 so people could freely cross from one side of the falls to the other. Hotels, roads and railways soon followed and today Niagara Falls now sees over 12 million tourist each year.
American Falls in the early morning light
Niagara Falls - Flow Stopped,1969
Daredevils of Niagara Falls
Yes, people really have gone over Niagara falls in a barrels
The first daredevil was Sam Patch , also know as the Yankee Leaper. In October 1829 Sam leaped from a high tower into the gorge below the falls and survived.
This starred a daredevil tradition that still goes on today, dispite law enforcements efforts to stop it.
Jean FranÃ§ois "Blondin" Gravelet was the first tightrope walker to cross the Falls. Actually he and other tightrope walkers crossed the river gorge below the falls, not Niagara Falls. These Tightrope stunts were extremely popular add drew huge crowds in the mid to late 1800's.
The first person to go over the falls in a barrel was a woman. A little old lady to be precise. In 1901 Annie Edson Taylor was a 63 year old school teacher, who hoped that going over the falls would make her rich. She survived the plunge, but never received the fame and fortune she had hope to get.
Numorus other attempts have been made over the years, some successsful, some not. Going over the falls is a crime on both sides of the boarder and those that try and make it, face arrest, stiff fines and jail time.
Mirical at Niagra: In July of 1960 a 7 year old boy was involved in a boating accident, he was caught in the strong Niagra River currant and swapt over the Horseshoe Falls wearing nothing but a bathing suit and a life vest. Amazingly the boy Survived! He was rescued by passengers abord a Maid of the Mist.
Maid of the Mist
Get soaked in the experience of Niagara Falls aboard the Maid of the Mist
The Maid of the Mist is America's oldest tourist attraction. It started in 1846 as a way to ferry people and goods from one side of the river to the other. But soon people were asking for a closer look at the falls, so tours into the mist began.
Today you can take a 30 minute trip into the mist from either the US side or the Canadian side of the falls. Boats leave every 15 to 30 minutes.
Reservation are not required, but it is a good idea to get there early in the day during peak summer months as the lines can get very long and tours fill up fast.
Boats run 9am to 7pm during the summer, weather permitting. Mist tours start around April 16th and go until approximately October 24th. The river does freeze over so times may vary.
This is an awesome experience! Your boat will glide by the base of the American falls and head up river to the Horseshoe Falls. Seeing that 160 foot wall of water in front of you is somewhat intimidating. You are then engulfed in the swirling mist of the falls and the spray is rather refreshing on a hot summer day. You are provided with a souvenir raincoat to keep you from getting too soaked, but during the summer many passengers take them off and enjoy getting drenched.
(Shown in Canadian dollars and does not include taxes.)
$14.00 Adults (13+ years), $8.60 Children (6 to 12 years) Children 5 and under are FREE!
Maid of the mist at the base of the American Falls
Leaving the dock heading for the American Falls
Looking up at the American Falls
Looking up river at the Horseshoe Falls
The edge of Horseshoe Falls
We are about to get wet!
Your boat will spend about 10 minutes playing in the mist. This gives everyone a chance to get as many pictures as they like.
Behind the falls
Travel back behind the cave to see the power of Niagara
Once you have seen Niagara from above and below, venture behind the falls for a very up close and powerful experience.
You descend in an elevator 150 feet into a tunnel carved out behind the Horseshoe Falls. This tunnel leads to two windows cut into the rock wall where you can see 2,800 cubic meters of water thunders over the rim at 65 kilometers per hour.
These two windows are the Cataract Portal and the Great Falls Portal.
Less then 15 feet from Niagara Falls
Travel Niagara Falls - Journey Behind The Falls
Down the river from Niagara Falls lies the Giant Whirlpool.
Two miles below the falls the Niagara River makes an abrupt 90-degree right turn. The water is traveling at such a high rate of speed and the right hand opening is so narrow that it causes a giant whirlpool to form. By day the whirlpool spins counter clockwise and at night when water from the falls is diverted to Hydro Electric plants, the Whirlpool changes directions and spins clockwise.
If you dare you can board the Spanish Aerocar. This nearly 100-year-old cable car traverses the Whirlpool taking you right over the center of it.
The car carries up to 35 passengers and the ride last about 10 minutes.
The Whirlpool Rapids
The Whirlpool Rapids lie between The American Falls and the Giant Whirlpool.
These Rapids are rated at 5s and 6s making this one of the most dangerous stretches of river in the world.
At least one boat and a few kayaks have made it through this maelstrom, but for the most part this river is considered to be un-navigable.
Admission Prices are shown in Canadian dollars and do not include taxes.
$11.00 Adults (13+ years), $6.50 Children (6 to 12 years)
Children 5 and under are FREE!
Over 2000 Butterflies flying free in a lush tropical setting.
The Butterfly Conservatory is a wonderful way to relax and get out of the summer sun.
The Butterfly Conservatory is located 10 minutes north of Niagara Falls on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & School of Horticulture.
Prices are shown in Canadian dollars and do not include taxes.
$11.00 Adults (13+ years), $6.50 Children (6 to 12 years)
Children 5 and under are FREE!
A group of Butterflies feeding and sunning themselves.
This butterfly was the most intense neon green color. Sadly the color did not photograph well.
You must be careful where you put your hands and feet as butterflies are everywhere.
This jet-black butterfly reminds me of a stealth bomber.
The Butterflies are friendly and will often land on people.
If you would like to encourage a butterfly visit it is best to wear bright colors, hot pink and neon orange are particular favorites with butterflies.
View Niagara Falls from the top of the Skylon Tower.
Build in 1964 The Skylon Tower raises 520 above Niagara Falls.
The Tower offers spectacular views of both the Canadian and American Falls as well as much of the surrounding area.
Dinner at the top
The Skylon Tower has two dinning rooms and an observation deck.
Buffet dinning runs $35.00 per person and offers nice views from the dinning room windows.
The Revolving Dinning Room is pricey at $50.00 to $70.00 a plate, not including drinks.
The food is very good and the view is out of this world!
All tables have a view and the dinning room revolves once every hour.
This is a very romantic place and many a young man has proposed to his ladylove in this dinning room.
A couple setting next to us got engaged while we were there.
Looking down at the Amierican Falls
Looking down at the Horseshoe Falls
Night lit Niagara seen from the Skylon Tower observation deck.
Niagara at Night.
In 1879 the falls were lit for the first time to honor a visit by the Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada and his wife Princess Louise.
Today the falls are lit year round starting at dusk and lasting until about midnight each night.
The colors change throughout the night fading and blending into new colors.
You can find yourself being mesmerized by the beautiful ever changing colors.
Lights on the Horseshow falls can be hard to see because of the constant mist that hangs in the air.
Free Fireworks Shows
During the summer months Niagara offers free Fireworks shows, usually on Friday and Sundays.
Show start at 10pm by the American Falls.
Books on Niagara Falls
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