After a quiet day of driving and wine sampling, we started off in the morning at Niagara Falls with a pretty amazing view:
I’d chosen a hotel with a great room that was also smack dab in the middle of the mega touristy area. We could walk through the hotel, bypassing blips and flashes of arcade games, to get to the Rainforest Cafe or Falls Avenue which is steps from Clifton Hill. This meant that taking a walk outside was an assault on our senses: from sweet smells of waffle cones and homemade fudge, to happy kids squealing, and a mess of attractions and shops that looked like a laser light show and a pile of rainbows mingled and vomited all over the sidewalk.
You could hear disembodied voices advertising haunted houses, blinking signs for budget motels and kitschy museums, and lots of people buzzing with excitement. It was the epitome of touristy, and high season at that. But we knew it would be, and so we did a few of those things, even though we kept saying we’d have to come back when Julian was older so he could play and skip and get hopped up on sugar.
On our only full day at the Falls, we started out with a Tim Horton’s coffee, sitting back and sipping and people watching, before heading down the street to see what we could see. We decided to stop in at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, since the lineups hadn’t started yet, and spent an hour or so checking out freaky things like animals with six legs, a person with a seven inch long nose, a buddha filled with 3 million in shredded dollar bills, the world’s tallest man.
We walked past the SkyWheel, a mini-putt golf course elaborate enough to feature a volcano complete with belching smoke and fireballs, and found ourselves off the beaten track a bit. No problem – Baby J went into the carrier, and I carried the stroller, and we walked down a pretty dirt path, edged by green, enjoying the brief pockets of sunshine, until we emerged out onto the Niagara Parkway with a view of the frothy, rushing waterfalls.
Niagara really is beautiful, despite the bright lights and constant throngs of tourists. There are flowers spilling everywhere, ample areas of greenspace with curved stone benches, and the scene that stretches before your eyes no matter where you are is absolutely incredible. You can help but fill a sense of wonder about a world that contains something this beautiful and powerful. You can feel a slight mist dampening your skin the closer you get. It’s hard to take your eyes of the white veils of water, and your ears are full with the gentle thundering sound.
We headed back to our hotel for awhile to feed the little guy and let him stretch, wiggle, try to crawl and giggle, before going to get some lunch ourselves. We popped into the Rainforest Cafe since it was close, and we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food and the service too. It’s a great restaurant for kids – we had a large booth to ourselves, and they encourage you to walk around and check out walls draped with leaves and dressed up to look like a rainforest, complete with animals that move every 15 minutes, large aquariums of day-glow fish (and a small shark!) and the occasional thunderstorm.
Our next stop was the Louis Tussaud wax museum down the street, where we checked out the figures arranged around the room. I kept thinking one of them was going to move out of the corner of my eye, and we had fun examining the statues and deciding which ones looked eerily similar to their real life counterparts, and which ones didn’t at all.
We all had a nap that afternoon, and though we’d hoped to get to a different Italian restaurant for dinner, it started raining so we spent the evening walking and wandering around the souvenir shops and picking up burgers, fries, beavertails and fudge for a quiet night in.