Niagara beyond the falls

After a day of exploring world famous waterfalls, we decided to venture further afield to discover Niagara beyond the falls. As I mentioned in the previous post, the Niagara Parks encompass not only the Niagara Falls themselves, but also 16 square kilometres of other attractions and parkland extending along the Niagara River. Here are some other activities to consider if you ever find yourself in the area and want a break from watching tumbling cascades of water.

Discover Clifton Hill’s Street of Fun.

Clifton Hill is an ultra-touristy promenade extending from River Road on the Niagara Parkway to Victoria Avenue. The area is filled with quirky attractions including a wax museum, several haunted houses, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum, the Speedway Go Kart track, numerous gift shops, and the Great Canadian Midway. With the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto cancelled this year, visiting the Midway here was a substitute for one of our favourite summer pastimes – going to the fair. We got funnel cake!

Escape to a tropical paradise at the Butterfly Conservatory.

Within the grounds of the Niagara Botanical Gardens, you will find the Butterfly Conservatory, a climate-controlled greenhouse that houses over 2000 butterflies. They make up over 45 different species and are allowed to fly freely around the 11,000 square feet conservatory.

In the emergence window, you can observe the butterflies build cocoons and later take flight.

We really enjoyed our visit here, wandering through the tropical vegetation and having butterflies flit around and even land on us a couple times.

Smell the roses at Niagara Botanical Gardens.

On the way out of the Butterfly Conservatory, we took a quick wander through the Botanical Gardens. These European-style gardens have been open since 1936, consisting of over 40 hectares of allees, roses, herbs, and vegetables. The rose garden alone features an impressive 2,400 roses. The grounds are probably more lush and colourful in the summer, but we were able to capture a few of the season’s last remaining blooms.

Admire powerful rapids on the White Water Walk.

This was my favourite activity of the day next to the Butterfly Conservatory. The White Water Walk is a short boardwalk trail that takes you along a stretch of the Niagara River’s Class 6 white water rapids. The views were intense and impressive; sure wouldn’t want to fall into that river! Cue banjo music from Deliverance.

Stroll along the Niagara Parkway.

Formerly known as Niagara Boulevard and historically as Niagara Road, the Niagara Parkway is the scenic road that begins at Fort Erie to the south and extends north through the tourist district of Niagara Falls. It ends at Fort George, southeast of the urban centre of Niagara-on-the-Lake. We took a short stroll on the Parkway on the way back to our hotel from the White Water Walk, but this would be a great drive as well. There are lovely views overlooking Niagara River, including the Niagara Glen – a top spot for hiking if you have the time and proper footwear.

And with that, you have my recap of our weekend at Niagara Falls. Next up: More thoughts on travelling during the time of Covid-19.