Planning A Dream Road Trip: Spotlight On Niagara Falls

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

*If you're just finding this road trip series, start here to see all of the places we'll hit up on the trip.

I decided to skip the week on my hometown Rochester, NY since we will really just be hanging out with family that we don't get to see that often for those couple of days.  We'll probably spend about 2 days there and then drive the hour and a half up to Niagara Falls for the last stop on our trip!

However, in order to save money though, I think we'll be taking the MegaBus from Buffalo to Niagara Falls and ditching out rental car here before we leave.  It's only a couple bucks per person (literally anywhere from $1 to $15 depending on the day/time) for the bus ride and Niagara has plenty of hop on- hop off tourist buses in the area to get around.  When it's time to leave, we'll take the MegaBus back to the Buffalo, NY airport for our flight home.  MegaBus seems to be a great way to save money when we won't need our rental car in the beginning and end of the trip.

My husband and I have been to Niagara before, but this will be my son's first time!  There is so much that I want to do there and luckily, this is one of the cities where it makes a lot of sense for us to get their version of a city pass.  It's called the Adventure Pass and it has literally everything we want to do so it's a  no brainer that we'll get this to save money.

The Adventure Pass costs $54.95/adults $36.95/ kids aged 6-12, and kids under 5 are free.  It includes a cruise down by the falls, the Journey behind the Falls, white water walk, Niagara's Fury, 2 days of the hop on hop off bus transportation (called WEGO), and more discounts on local shops,etc.  Below I'll list what the prices would be without the pass so you can see the difference or if you just wanted to pick and choose the activities that work best for your family.

Who can go to Niagara Falls and not take the Hornblower Cruise boat tour to get super close to the falls??  Well, apparently I can, lol.  I've been to Niagara many times having grown up so close to there, but have never taken the boat tour!  I'm excited to finally do it.  Supposedly the noise of the falls are thunderous and you can feel the power being so close to them.  And you'll certainly get wet on this tour!  They will give you ponchos to wear.  I can't wait to see my son's face..he will be in awe and so excited!

In "Journey Behind The Falls", you take an elevator down 150 ft and when you come out, you are pretty much at the basin of the falls and can go about 1/3 of the way behind them.  Did you know that one fifth of the world's fresh water is housed in Niagara Falls?  I didn't.  That's got to be an amazing feeling being so close to that amount of water falling from 13 stories up and feeling so tiny in comparison.  There are upper and lower observation decks here that you can  walk around.  Cost without pass- $16.75/adult $10.95/children aged 6-12.

Another thing I didn't know they had is something called the White Water Walk.  I wouldn't have known of half of these attractions if I wasn't looking at their Adventure Pass.  The Walk is pretty much a boardwalk along the edge of the river itself-not the Falls.  You go down another elevator, walk through a tunnel, and come out here:

Couple on boardwalk looking at Whirlpool rapids

The water travels at about 30mph through here which is enough to make it a Class 6 Whirlpool Rapids, apparently.  I don't know how high these classes go, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that's some fast moving water.  ($11.95/adults, $7.80/children without pass.)  They also have a Whirlpool Aero Car which looks really cool!  It's a cable car that goes over the rushing waters of the Niagara River.  Um, I'm a little scared to be suspended over this "river" in just a cable car, however it's been around since 1916, so I guess it should be good.  (hopefully it's been updated since then, lol).  Even though it's scary, it's definitely something I want to do!  It can hold up to 35 people each trip.  This isn't included in the Adventure Pass and costs $13,95/adults and $9.10 for kids 6-12.

                                 Whirlpool Aero Car halfway over the Whirlpool

If that's not enough awesome in one trip, they also have something called Niagara's Fury.  It's one of those 4-D movie/ride type things.  Have you been on one?  I've done some at Epcot before, but from the looks of it...Epcot was tame in comparison to feeling like you've gone through these massive Falls.  When you enter this "theater" they hand you ponchos...umm, ok, I'm starting to think you might get a little wet.  Let's see what that looks like, shall we?

This looks AMAZING.  What you can't see, is that besides getting wet, and seeing/feeling like you're in the river-- the temperature in the room also drops, water will bubble and spray all around you, snow falls from the ceiling, and oh yeah, the platform that you're standing on moves.  I can't wait to do this, and I'm sure my son will love the unique experience.

Besides all that fun that we'll squeeze into 2 days, I'm sure we'll also look at the Falls at night and see them lit up with the light show, Niagara Illuminations.  It happens every day of the year when it starts to get dark and lasts late into the evening.  It would be really cool to have a hotel that overlooked the falls.  They also do fireworks over the falls in the summer time on Friday and Sunday nights at 10pm.  I'm not sure if we'll be there on the weekend, but that would be nice to see as well.


 I've really only been to Niagara during the winter time when it's always freakin cold.  So it'll be nice to experience the city while not bundled and hurrying around.

After our 2 days here, our road trip will be over.  We'll take the MegaBus back to the Buffalo Airport and catch our flight home.  I can't wait to share what our time in each of the cities was like and relive the trip that I'm sure I'll be sad is over.  Oh well.....that's when you plan another adventure!

Have you been to any of these attractions in Niagara Falls?  What was your experience like?

Check out the other cities in our upcoming road trip!

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