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A Quick Look at 3 of the Niagara River Islands

October 5, 2015 10:00 am

image001When people stop to consider Niagara geography, it’s the massive waterfalls that always come first, followed by the Niagara River, the Niagara Gorge, and, maybe, Lake Erie.

While each of these is certainly notable in its own right, they are by no means the beginning and end of Niagara’s variable and ever-surprising landscape. Take, for instance, the many small islands that dot the Niagara River in and Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara, New York.

Many of them have fascinating features and interesting histories, and for the true explorer, they’re one more reason to visit Niagara. Here is a look at three of the many islands that populate the river out of which the mighty Niagara Falls plummet.

1. Goat Island

Named by John Stedman in the late 18th century, who claimed — somewhat dubiously — that the Seneca Native Americans had given them to him, Goat Island sits on the American side of things in the Niagara River right between the American and Canadian Falls. For a time, Stedman did keep goats on the island, but during a particularly harsh winter, he lost the entire herd save one.

The State of New York claimed the island in 1801 and tried to rename it Iris Island to no avail. The locals had become far too used to it being the site of Stedman’s goats to call it anything else, which is why it maintains the somewhat unappealing name to this day. Visitors to Goat Island can access it easily by a pedestrian bridge from the U.S. side.

2. Navy Island

image003A 316-acre island located above the waterfalls on the Canadian side, the British established a Navy shipyard here in 1763 to combat what they considered to be a growing threat of Native American uprisings. Many different types of boats were built here over the years, such as sloops and schooners the British then used to explore the Great Lakes.

In 1837, Navy Island itself was the site of a rebellion, but Native Americans had nothing to do with. As many as 400 rebels — mostly disgruntled Americans of European ancestry — took over the island and the leader of the group, William Lyon Mackenzie, declared himself to be the Chief of State of the New Republic of Canada. The British bombarded the island but failed to fully prevail. A month later, the rebels moved their headquarters to Grand Island. Today, it is a wildlife preserve.

3. Grand Island

The largest island in the Niagara River, Grand Island is over 17,000 acres, and it was purchased by the state of New York from Native Americans in 1815. Land grants were then offered for free, but only about 150 people tried to make a home there. After ferry service was established in 1825, the East Boston Company bought roughly 16,000 of the acres for timber to sell for shipbuilding in Boston and New York. Bridges were completed to the island in the 1930s, and today, Grand Island has plenty to offer anyone visiting Niagara, including bowling, a small amusement park, and a golf course.

Don’t just stick to the beaten path the next time you come to the Niagara Falls area. Whether you do it for the history or for the fun, head out onto one of the islands that sit in the midst of the Niagara River.

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The Best Steak Restaurants in Niagara Falls

September 24, 2015 10:00 am

image001A great vacation depends on a number of things, and the memories that you take away from that vacation also rely on many factors. Perhaps it’s a special activity that you’ve never tried before, a treasured memory when your child experiences something new for the first time, or it’s a particularly beautiful sunset over a part of the world that is brand new to you.

However, for some people the best memories of a vacation are of the edible variety.

Food is an integral part of any travel experience. While many memorable travel meals consist of a food that is native to region, or prepared in a style that a country is famous for, sometimes it can be as simple as an expertly prepared, perfectly seasoned, and exceptionally plated steak.

If you’re a carnivore and are planning a visit to Niagara, these are some of the best places to get a perfect steak. This list may also help you choose your hotel in Niagara Falls as well.

Ruth’s Chris

As one of the world’s premier steak house brands, Ruth’s Chris in Niagara Falls never fails to amaze with their simple yet elegant menu and steaks prepared perfectly every time. Located in the Four Points by Sheraton on the Falls Resort, Ruth’s Chris offers a pretty spectacular view of the Falls, and the illumination and fireworks when they’re scheduled.

Ruth’s Chris also offers a luxurious cocktail lounge that is perfect for a pre-dinner drink.

Buchanans Chophouse

Inside the Doubletree Hotel is Buchanans Chophouse. With a menu full of prime cuts of beef that are wonderfully prepared, this restaurant also offers live music on the weekends and a great view of the falls. Seafood and pasta dishes are also on offer, and they have an extensive list of wines that pair perfectly with every meal.

Reservations are definitely recommended for Buchanans, so make yours early to avoid disappointment.

Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse

A steak lover’s life wouldn’t be complete without a traditional Brazilian barbecue experience. You can spare yourself the ticket to Rio and simply make a reservation at Copacabana during your visit to Niagara Falls. A view of the falls, a large outdoor seating area, live Brazilian entertainment, and perfectly cooked steaks make Copacabana a must on your Niagara itinerary.

As with any restaurant of this caliber, reservations are recommended, especially during high season.

The Keg Steakhouse and Bar

image003If you like your steaks impeccably aged, perfectly trimmed, and expertly cooked, then you’re in luck. If you also like your steak with a sublime view of the falls, then you’re in heaven. Located in the Embassy Suites Hotel, the Keg Steakhouse and Bar is popular with visitors and locals alike. In addition to their steaks, their menu consists of a variety of sides like lobster tail and crab cakes.

If food is one way that you remember your travels, and steak is one of your favorite foods, then you’ll have the fondest memories of your time in Niagara Falls if you choose one of these exceptional steak houses.

Or try all of them. After all, you’re on vacation.

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Sweet Tooth: Where to Shop for Chocolate in Niagara Falls

September 17, 2015 11:00 am

image001Who doesn’t love chocolate? Who doesn’t love shopping? If you’re visiting Niagara Falls soon then you will have the decadent luxury of combining both of your favorite activities into one (or more) deliciously delightful days.

Visitors of all kinds flock to Niagara for its incredible shopping opportunities, which include outlet stores and local boutiques. However, one of Niagara’s most irresistible draws is its chocolate and candy stores. Whether you’re shopping for your own sweet tooth, picking up gifts for friends back home, or simply want to treat your children to a fun day in the candy store, these are just a few of the stores that will have you singing the praises of all things chocolate.

Pop & Lolly’s Candy Shop

With a specialized chocolatier on staff and many more colorful candy treats, Pop and Lolly’s on Niagara Parkway on the Canadian side of the falls is the perfect place to shop. You can choose from custom-made chocolates, or try the chocolate dipping station with all of your favorite fruits where you can dunk to your heart’s content. You can even try dipping other types of candy into the chocolate fountain to maximize the sweet factor.

The kids can see how hard candy is made or choose a multitude of their favorite candies to take home. This is also the perfect place to create a custom chocolate gift for a friend or loved one back home.

Candy Planet

How could you go wrong with a name like Candy Planet? This combination candy store and ice cream shop also specializes in fudge. Bring the whole family here for a well-deserved treat after a day of sightseeing, and be sure to pick up some of their world-famous fudge as a treat for yourself or for someone else.

The grownups can enjoy one of Candy Planet’s delicious coffees, while everyone browses their wide selection of candies, including many brands that aren’t often seen these days. They are located at the foot of Clifton Hill near the Hornblower Cruises, which is a very convenient spot that you’ll pass while strolling through the village.

Hershey’s Chocolate World Niagara Falls

image003As one of the most recognizable names in chocolate, the Hershey’s Chocolate World Niagara Falls store  is often a welcome sight for visitors who love chocolate. The store is a chocolate-lover’s paradise where you’ll find freshly made chocolate sweets including hand dipped chocolate strawberries, cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels and more. You can also try a sample of gourmet Hershey’s fudge from a delectable assortment of custom made flavors while shopping for unique Hershey’s gifts and souvenirs.

Chocolate lovers around the world unite! Be sure to book your hotel in Niagara Falls near one of these divine candy and chocolate shops, or be sure to make a stop as you’re exploring the area. Because while there are so many things to see and do in Niagara, there’s always time for chocolate.

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Niagara Falls’ Best Spas

September 10, 2015 10:30 am

image001Vacations can often be a whirlwind of activity. Your itinerary is jam-packed with things to do and places to see and many people often find themselves overwhelmed, tired, and frustrated at the end of the day.

It’s no surprise that many people say, “I need a vacation after my vacation.”

While it’s important to experience as much as you can or want to when traveling, it’s also perfectly acceptable to take some time to relax. After all, a vacation should be a chance to take a well-deserved from break from your hectic day to day life. While this often does include multiple activities and rigid schedules, shouldn’t it also include some down time as well?

If you’re visiting Niagara Falls and want to take some time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate, these are some of the area’s best spas.

100 Fountain Spa

Located at the Pillar and Post Hotel, the 100 Fountain Spa is the perfect place to relax and unwind, whether you’re a hotel guest or if you simply purchase a day pass. Their spa menu is extensive and original, with many of their skin and body treatments centered on wine and grape products that are sourced locally.

You can choose from massages, beauty treatments, facials, and more, relax in their natural hot spring located right on the property, and even sample their special spa cuisine menu. 100 Fountain is also the perfect place for a pre-wedding or bachelorette party treat.

Senses Spa

Located at the Americana Niagara Falls Hotel, the Senses Spa has a unique, holistic approach to their treatments, and caters to both men and women. Their menu is extensive and comprehensive, and includes a wide variety of treatments.

image003You can choose from services like nail treatments and facials, or mud wraps for the skin and specialties like their Moroccan body brushing ritual which is followed by an intense hydration session.

Couples can also enjoy Senses Spa with their romantic massages for two or a couple’s aromatherapy massage which includes champagne.

Christienne Fallsview Spa

Set amidst the luxury of the Sheraton on the Falls Resort, the Christienne Fallsview Spa truly lives up to its name. A view of the majestic falls surrounds you as you indulge in one or more of their wide variety of treatments.

Massages, facials, nail treatments, and waxing are just a few of the services available on their menu. Many of the products they use have been created especially for Christienne, and some of these are vegan and/or gluten free. Christienne also offers a wide variety of spa packages that are perfect for a special occasion or to give as a luxurious gift.

Whether you choose to stay in one of these Niagara Falls hotel specifically for their spa services, or you just visit for the day, your vacation can only be enhanced when you take some time to slow down and pamper yourself. A gentle massage, an invigorating facial, or a perfect manicure are all great ways to enjoy your time and create unique memories of your visit.

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The Best Pizza in Niagara Falls

September 4, 2015 10:00 am

image001Family travel can be one of the most incredible ways to create lasting memories and strengthen the bonds that you have with your loved ones. It can also be very difficult, especially when you’re dealing with a multitude of personalities and varying opinions.

One person may want to visit a Niagara water park. Another person may want to go on a winery tour. Everyone wants to see the famous falls, but someone would prefer to go at noon and another wants to go at sunset.

Just as the old saying goes, you can’t please all the people all the time.

However, if there’s one thing that most people can agree upon even during a family vacation, it’s pizza. Everyone loves pizza. The kids love it, the parents love it, and even the grandparents love it. Pizza is always the go-to food when you need to please everyone.

As you prepare for your family vacation to Niagara Falls, keep this list of the best pizza restaurants in town handy. You’re going to need it.

Antica Pizzeria

With a wood fired oven and a homey atmosphere, family run Antica Pizzeria is consistently named the best in town, by both the locals and visitors. A large dining area and a cocktail bar complete the space, which means that it’s comfortable and offers a little bit of everything.

While traditional thin crust pizza is their specialty, Antica also offers traditional Italian pasta dishes, appetizers, and salads. They even offer gluten free dough in limited quantities. Feel free to call ahead to see if it’s available when you’d like to visit.

Gambler’s Pizza

Family-owned and operated and the self-proclaimed “best pizza in town” Gambler’s Pizza has been in operation since 2008. Their pizza menu is extensive with a number of build your own pizza options that range in sizes from a small four-slice pie to a 24-slice behemoth.

And since there may be that one time when someone in your group still doesn’t want pizza, Gambler’s is still a great choice. They offer hot and cold subs, and delicious chicken wings for those who still insist they’re not in the mood for pizza.

Zappi’s Pizzeria

image003Zappi’s Pizzeria is a local favorite and has been since 1971 when the restaurant was opened by the Zappitelli family. After the owners retired and closed in 1986, it seemed as if the entire Niagara area went into mourning. Thankfully, the owners’ son reopened Zappi’s in 2002 and they have been creating delicious pies ever since.

Pizza, calzones, sub sandwiches, pastas, and more, Zappi’s has it all. They also offer online ordering, delivery service, and they even have an electric vehicle charging station. This is the place that the locals recommend to visitors, time and time again, and it’s easy to see why. Good food, good service, and a long-standing presence in the community say it all.

Family or group vacations can be hard, but pizza always seems to make things so much better. Try one of these great pizzerias on your next Niagara Falls trip and everyone will leave with a smile.

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In Celebration of the Peach

July 28, 2015 10:30 am

image001While the locals and anyone relishing a Niagara restaurant’s farm-to-table meal appreciate it plenty, most of the visitors to the Niagara Peninsula don’t realize what a large and important role agriculture has played in the region for hundreds of years. That same mild climate responsible for making Niagara a great year-round tourist destination and celebrated wine country also allows for some of the most fertile farms and orchards in all of Canada.

From vineyards and farmer’s markets to fruit stands and pumpkin patches, the fruit of the earth bursts forth from all corners of Niagara, and one of the area’s favorites, the peach, is celebrated every year during the month of August with a festival that marks another year’s delicious harvest.

Whether or not you love peaches, if you’re planning a family vacation to Niagara, set aside some time to revel in the harvest by taking in the fun at the Peach Festival.

The Peach in Niagara

The production and processing of Ontario peaches brings in millions of dollars in revenue each year, and it’s the Niagara Peninsula that’s responsible for producing the vast majority of the province’s peaches. The commercial growing of peaches has been an integral part of the agricultural wealth of the region since the early 19th century, which is why every August, there’s a weekend set aside to celebrate the farms and workers devoted to the work that makes everything peach-related in the area possible.

The Festival

image003Set in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this year’s Peach Festival will take place across two days, the weekend of August 9 and August 10, and the peach, in more incarnations than you can shake a stick at, will be the guest of honor. Fresh peaches, peach jam, peach ice cream, peach pies, peach cobblers, peach farmers, peach philosophers, and more will all descend on the city’s historic Queen Street.

On that Saturday, the shops will be open for sidewalk sales, and live entertainment will start early and last all weekend long from bands including: Ceol Cara, The Toronto All Star Band, the St. Catharines Pipe Band, The Local Fife and Drum, and David Hoy. Once evening hits and the live Salsa band begins to play, dancing will ensue, and attendees will be able to enjoy food from Signature Kitchens of Niagara-on-the-Lake, wine from the many excellent wineries in the region, and plenty of quality, local craft beer, as well.

On Sunday, the celebration moves from Queen Street to St. Vincent de Paul Church where the peach focus and fun will continue unabated. Sunday evening will find as many as 1,000 people joining together to enjoy an on-street meal in the Heritage District of Niagara-on-the-Lake. You can reserve a spot at the Shades of Summer Dinner, and eat a world-class meal complete with table service and wine with seven of your favorite dinner companions, or you can pre-order a gourmet picnic meal from the local Signature Kitchen eateries or bring your own food for an unforgettable peach of a night that will serve up more live music and dancing that won’t quit until 11 p.m.

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What to Look for at the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival

July 17, 2015 10:00 am

image001One of the highlights of the Niagara calendar each and every year is the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival that takes place each summer. Known locally as, “Canal Days,” the festival takes place each Civic Holiday across four days, and offers a wealth of activities, entertainment, and attractions as unique as the Tall Ships that grace the Port Colborne harbor. If you’ve never before experienced a celebration of Tall Ships and marine heritage in the midst of a small city before, you owe it to yourself to plan a trip to Niagara between July 31 and August 3 for Canal Days’ 37th annual celebration. Here are just some of the highlights of this year’s festival.

The Tall Ships

A Tall Ship is a sailing vessel with high masts, and during Canal Days, these large, traditional, and beautiful ships fill the St. Lawrence Seaway. There are plenty of different styles of Tall Ships, including: schooners, brigs, ketches, brigantines, sloops, barquentines, and full-rigged ships, and you’ll be able to see many of them and learn about them during Canal Days. Some of the ships will be made available for festival-goers to climb on board in order to experience what life on the sea would have felt like for seafaring people for hundreds of years as ships with sails were commonly used before steam engines entered the maritime picture.

The Activities

Scattered throughout Port Colborne are dozens of activities for young and old alike. Head to the HH Knoll Lakeview Park for Ontario’s biggest outdoor classic car show and take in the kite show that’s happening there as well. The children’s area is located at Seaway Park where kids can play games, participate in activities, visit Pony Paradise, and experience entertainment catered just for them. Head over to the Port Colborne Marine Museum, and learn about the history of the Canal.

Throughout the four-day celebration, artisans will be working — showcasing heritage trades and selling their wares at the museum, and other craftspeople will be set up along historic West Street and inside the indoor Craft Show. Head to the Roselawn Centre on Saturday and listen to live jazz all day long. Nightly concerts will be held at the Market Square Venue, and food and drink vendors will keep everyone hydrated and well-fed.

The Events

image003In addition to the activities listed above, Canal Days boasts a number of community events both of a competitive and collaborative nature. Run a 5K on Saturday morning. Join in a Sunday mountain bike race. Take a lighthouse tour throughout each of the festival’s four days. In addition, on Saturday, the International Kite show in HH Knoll Lakeview Park will showcase a number of impressive single line, quad line, and dual line kites, as well as ground exhibits and an “Aquarium in the Sky.” As dusk falls, the kites will all have lights added to them illuminating the sky in a way only seen during Canal Days. Kite lovers are encouraged to bring flashlights in order to stay safe while getting around the park.

Whether you love the sea and the ships that sail on it, or you’re just curious about this premier festival, set aside some time to take in this year’s Canal Days for a maritime experience you can only have in Niagara.

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Get Up Close and Personal With Niagara’s Famous Icewine With These 3 Tasting Opportunities

July 9, 2015 10:00 am

image001Icewine in Niagara is as prized and lauded as the Falls for which the region is named, and it’s no wonder: It was icewine that first drew the attention of the international wine community to the reality that the Niagara Peninsula was making some exceptional strides in the fermented grape department. Painstakingly made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine, the frozen grapes are picked by hand and immediately pressed to release their contents: a thick, golden liquid that is packed with naturally occurring sugars and complex acidity. An understandably small yield, the juice is then processed and fermented. The result? Delicious.

For many people visiting Niagara, it’s not the Falls but the wine country and the many events and festivals that occur there throughout the year that form the reasons to visit. If you’re an oenophile seeking a Niagara experience, and you’d love to learn more about the area’s signature elixir, here are a few ways you can get up close and personal with icewine.

The Ice House Winery

Completely devoted to what Canadians call, “liquid gold,” The Ice House Winery is the only winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake that dedicates all its efforts to producing icewine, and to date, they’ve won three International Monde Selection Grand Gold Medals. Drop in any day of the week from 11 a.m. to dusk, and sample five different icewines, including the Ice House N’Ice Slushie, three premium and award-winning icewines, and a N’Icewine cocktail, for just $15. The tasting also includes information about the winery, insights into the process of making the icewine, and appetizers.

The Inniskillin Icewine Tasting Bar

Inniskillin is the winery that started the Niagara Peninsula’s love affair with making exceptional wines. Started in 1974, when the winery applied for a winemaking license, it was the first one issued once Prohibition ended — that’s how little people were clamoring to make wine. In 1984, Inniskillin successfully produced their first icewine, and in 1991, their icewine won Grand Prix d’Honneur at the international wine and spirits expo, Vinexpo, officially putting Inniskillin and Niagara on the world’s winemaking map.

Today, Inniskillin still makes great icewine, and at their Tasting Bar, you can compare different varieties and vintages, while learning about the process and history of the winery. Flights of icewine are between $15 and $20 each.

Wayne Gretzky Estates Tasting Room

image003Yes, Wayne Gretzky has a winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and you can taste and purchase from among a handful of critically acclaimed icewines. Whether you prefer the deep, complex sweetness of a Cabernet Franc icewine — the 2010 is a double Gold Medal winner — or a fruity, floral Vidal icewine — the 2012 vintage is a Gold Medal winner — the Wayne Gretzky Estates winery has a selection sure to please any palette. The tasting room is open all year round, with slightly reduced hours in the evenings during the fall and winter months.

Experience icewine in a totally new way by tasting it in the “wild” at some of Niagara’s finest wineries where expert and knowledgeable staff can enlighten your mind as the icewine delights your palette.

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What’s Happening Around Niagara for the XVII Pan Am Games

July 3, 2015 10:00 am

image001The 2015 XVII Pan Games are an international competition featuring numerous sports and world-class athletes, and Toronto is hosting them between July 7 and July 26. Over 6,000 athletes from over 40 different countries will compete against one another in 36 sports. This particular Pan Am Games is notable and unusual for a number of reasons, including the fact that the Niagara region will be the setting for a number of different events.

For the first time in history, a record 45 percent of the athletes participating in the Pan Am Games are expected to be women. It’s the highest percentage of women to ever participate in a multiple sport, international event. Also, the XVII Pan Am Games will have the largest number of athletes in a multiple sport event to ever take place in Canada — even more than the 2010 Winter Olympics. Finally, these Pan Am Games will also be the first entirely carbon neutral games of their kind, which is no small feat considering the scale of people, events, and tasks involved.

For the visitor to the Niagara region, then, the Pan Am Games mark something special, and while all the usual draws will still be in place — the waterfalls, the stunning and world-renowned wine country, the excellent shopping, and the second-to-none entertainment — the Pan Am events being held in Niagara provide just one more reason why booking a stay in Niagara this July would make for an unforgettable and once-in-a-lifetime vacation opportunity.

Canoe/Kayak Slalom and Sprint

image003Held at the Welland Flatwater Centre between July 11 and July 19, these head-to-head competitions feature some amazing rowing and paddling. The sprinting events take place in flat, calm water, while the slalom events feature whitewater through which the canoer(s) and kayaker(s) must paddle or row while maneuvering a course of gates that can’t be skipped or hit, since missing one or making contact with one results in a time penalty.

Canoe Sprint and Slalom events feature both singles and doubles competition, wherein competitors must paddle while kneeling. The Sprint course covers three distances: 200 meters, 500 meters, and 1,000 meters. The Kayak Sprint requires competitors to paddle from a sitting position over the same three distances, but it features four-person events, as well as singles and doubles. The Kayak Slalom follows the same whitewater course but only features competitors as singles or doubles.


Held on Henley Island at the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Centre on Martindale Pond, located in St. Catharines, the Rowing events run from July 11 through July 15, and they feature a multitude of rowing disciplines across 14 men’s and 14 women’s competitions. A total of 42 medals will be awarded for rowing during the Pan Am Games. Rowing events will include:

  • Single Sculls
  • Double Sculls
  • Lightweight Single Sculls (women only)
  • Coxless Pair
  • Lightweight Double Sculls (men only)
  • And more!

Plan a trip to Niagara during the middle of July to experience the world’s greatest canoers, kayakers, and rowers in direct competition with one another. It’s just one more reason Niagara is a fantastic place to come away to.

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Why You Should Spend the Afternoon in Niagara Falls’ Bird Kingdom

June 24, 2015 10:00 am

image001Of the six basic groups of animals, birds are the clear commanders of the skies even though insects and bats also take to their wings on a regular basis. There are somewhere between 200 billion and 400 billion birds in the world, and that number is comprised of roughly 10,000 different species, some of which, like the house sparrow, number over 3 billion.

While not everyone would say a perfect day includes a bird identification book and a pair of binoculars, to the true bird lover, little more is needed. For the rest of us, however, we may need a more controlled and customized experience.

Niagara Falls’ Bird Kingdom is a unique and fascinating place where kids and adults can learn about, see, hear, and experience birds from around the world in an environment unlike any other. Whether or not you’ve ever been fascinated by our feathered friends, while vacationing in Niagara Falls you must visit the world’s largest indoor aviary. Here is some of what you can expect to encounter at Bird Kingdom.


The building in which Bird Kingdom is located actually boasts some pretty amazing history, which sets the stage for encountering Bird Kingdom well. Built in 1907, it originally housed the Spirella Corset Factory and was the first poured-concrete building in all of Canada. In 1958, the Niagara Falls Museum and its collection of Egyptian artifacts moved into the building. National Geographic later discovered that the museum actually had the mummified remains of King Ramesses I, the Biblical pharaoh Moses encounters in the book of Exodus. Upon that revelation, the mummy was returned sound and safe to Egypt. Today, Bird Kingdom’s Old Museum section includes photos and information about the factory and the museum, so you can learn more about its history in greater details upon your visit.

What You’ll See There

image003Set up to mimic an adventure set in another time, Bird Kingdom starts at the Old Museum before taking you and your family or friends to Explorer’s Base Camp where you can hold parrots and other exotic birds and animals. From Base Camp, you’ll walk past an exceptional view of the Niagara River Gorge as smaller birds sweep and swoop all around you. Next up is the Night Jungle, where owls, reptiles, bats, and other nocturnal creatures move about in darkness.

Then, any little ones in your party can hunt for archaeological treasures in the Kids Archaeology Dig. Finally, you’ll end up in Discover the Kingdom, where you’ll enter the world’s largest indoor, free-flying aviary. 400 different species of bird in every color and hue imaginable fly, sing, squawk, and play throughout the multiple-tiered rainforest environment. The path in Discover the Kingdom takes you behind a 40 foot-high waterfall and winds you through birds all the way down to the rainforest floor. As you travel, you can interact with and feed birds at Lorikeet Landing. You can also stop and get a drink at the Joglo house—the only original Javanese house in all of North America.

Bird Kingdom is open every day between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. For an unusual experience that can only be had in Niagara, it’s well worth a visit.

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