When traveling with kids, two words can make any vacation more fun: amusement park!
After you and the young ones finish exploring Niagara Falls to your heart’s content, the high-octane thrills can continue with amusement parks in the vicinity.
You don’t even have to venture an hour outside of Niagara Falls to find plenty of ways to extend your trip and make the kids smile.
The following collection of amusement parks is located on either the New York or Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
1. Clifton Hill
Ontario’s Clifton Hill is a block away from the Horseshoe Falls near the Niagara River. You’ll hardly have to make a beeline to this park, which is so much more than amusement rides.
Clifton Hill’s claim to fame is the Niagara SkyWheel, the ginormous coaster that ascends 175 feet over Niagara Falls. It’s the biggest observation wheel in Canada and showcases stunning views of Niagara Parks, the Niagara River, and American and Horseshoe Falls.
You can ride the SkyWheel any time of the year. The gondolas have air conditioning or heating and are enclosed for optimal temperature control.
You can also ride day or night. I recommend the nighttime rides if you can, as they’re extraordinarily special when the Falls light up.
The average duration of the ride is between eight and 12 minutes, so you and the kids will get plenty of time to enjoy the sights together. You can also snap photos if you’d like.
The SkyWheel has a separate entry free from the other attractions in the park.
The other rides at Clifton Hill are:
- Cosmic Coaster: This motion ride reaches 2 Gs of speed with light effects, moving seats, and stereoscopic images. Strap on your 3D glasses and prepare for an exciting, immersive ride.
- Ghost Blasters: A spooky ride suitable all year long, Ghost Blasters takes you to Bleakstone Manner. You and your family must do battle with goblins, ghosts, and skeletons with a laser gun while riding in a moving car.
- Carnival Chaos: This hyperide can fit four players in a cart and five carts total. Go against a demonic clown in seven interactive screens that take you across scenes like swing rides and roller coasters.
- Zombie Attack: Enter the Dark Ride Theater to experience Zombie Attack, an XD dark ride with 36 seats. You and your family must save the planet from zombies in this precise-targeting game.
When you step off the SkyWheel, your time at Clifton Hill is just beginning. Here are some other activities you and the family can partake in.
Niagara Speedway is a go-kart racing experience that takes you up four stories, then down helical spirals aplenty!
The sporty vehicles are equipped with four-stroke Honda engines capable of achieving 9 HP. They’re fast enough that older kids won’t be bored but not so fast that parents have to stress about the young ones.
Keep the kiddos busy for an afternoon at Dinosaur Adventure Golf, a 70,000-square-foot, 36-hole golf course featuring 50 dinosaur sculptures, some of which stand more than 30 feet tall. Jungle sounds surround you as you play to give the experience a prehistoric vibe.
See who can hit a strike first at the Strike Game Zone, a bowling center with LED illumination. You can opt for bumper rails for the kiddos or beginner bowlers. The Strike Game Zone also features racing simulators and arcade games.
The Great Canadian Midway is an expansive arcade that’s 70,000 square feet. Choose from more than 300 rides, including Ghost Blasters, Cosmic Coaster, skeeball, and plenty of other games. Try to win some prizes!
Don’t go home hungry. Clifton Hill features Boston Pizza, Kelsey’s Niagara, and Tim Hortons. Kelsey’s is a roadhouse that’s perfect for family dining.
Niagara Amusement Park & Splash World in Grand Island, New York, is an amusement park and water park in one.
You can buy tickets for both parks during the summer, as the park frequently runs promotions. That will undoubtedly make the kids’ vacation!
Focusing on the non-water park attractions, Niagara Amusement Park offers a bit of something for everyone.
The family rides include Dodg’em Bumper Cars, Iron Horse Train, Grande Carousel, and the Gunslinger. The Iron Horse Train is quaint and relaxing enough for young kids to appreciate. Older kids should enjoy The Gunslinger, as it spins you two ways.
I love the selection of kiddy rides here. The young ones can ride the Hot Rod Cruisin’ car ride, soar in balloon cars, spin on some swings, or rock on the Ships Ahoy ride.
One of my favorite rides in the park’s Kiddieland is the Niagara Helicopter Tours, as the kids can set the altitude (to a fixed degree). The Drop Zone is for the brave young ones who want moderate thrills.
Speaking of thrills, the park has ‘em in spades. The Amazing Flying Machine is a swing ride where you can set your own height, and the Silver Comet is an award-winning wooden roller coaster.
When you and the kids have ridden everything at Niagara Amusement Park several times over, don’t miss the live shows and entertainment the park has to offer. Daily admission tickets permit free entry to a show.
The weekend shows include Robbery on the Rails at the Iron Horse Train ride, a puppet show at the Kiddieland Puppet House, a Storybook show at Kiddieland Cottage, the Golden Nugget Saloon Show, and the Wild West Shootout in Western Town.
Keep everyone’s bellies full with these great dining options:
- Annies on Main (churros and coffee)
- Midway Munchies (sausage on a stick, tacos, nachos, and more)
- Western Town Caribbean Ice
- Golden Nugget Snacks (ice cream, pretzels, and popcorn)
- BBQ Barn (mac and cheese, BBQ platters, and turkey legs)
- Main Street Sweets & Treats
- Kiddieland Kafe (chicken fingers, tater tots, and sliders)
- Dippin Dots (ice cream)
- Carrubba’s Splash World Café (pizza, nachos, hot dogs, and chicken fingers)
Within 45 minutes of Niagara Falls from the New York side, Six Flags Darien Lake is a family-friendly theme park and water park.
The range of rides is as impressive as at any Six Flags park, and with plenty of dining and entertainment options, you can craft an unforgettable experience with your family at Niagara Falls.
What are you in the mood for? Six Flags Darien Lake has no shortage of rides!
Let’s start with the family rides. Some are a little more intense than at the other parks, such as the space-themed spinning Silver Bullet, the Scrambler, the Pirate (better known as the Buccaneer), or the tall swing ride the Lasso.
The younger kids will love the Moose on the Loose track ride, the Hornet’s Nest (you can control how much it spins), the Grand Prix Speedway, the Grand Carousel, and the Bear Valley Bumper Buggies.
Six Flags Darien Lake has kids’ rides, such as the swing ride Woody’s Whirlers, Wally’s Weather Balloons, the truck ride Tree Stump Turnpike, the kid-friendly bumper cars Raccoon Rally, and a kid coaster called Hoot ‘N’ Holler.
Other kiddy rides are the train ride Darien Lake Railway, the dinosaur-themed Critter Chase, the spinning Chucky’s Mud Buckets, and the submarine-themed Beaver Dam Explorer.
Do you have thrill-seekers in your family? Six Flags Darien Lake has plenty of coasters to entertain them. Dare to step on the Viper, Tantrum, Skycoaster, Rolling Thunder, Ride of Steel, Predator, or Mind Eraser.
Blast Off throws you 185 feet into the air on a tower, Boomerang can send you forward or backward, and the Sky Screamer takes you up into the clouds.
Six Flags is beloved for its live entertainment, so you can expect to find plenty of it when visiting Darien Lakes Park. The Darien Lake Amphitheatre is the place to be for live concerts and performances associated with the park.
You must purchase tickets separately from admission.
Whet your appetite across the park. Six Flags Darien Lake has no shortage of options, no matter what you’re in the mood for.
If you just want snacks or beverages, stop by Boardwalk Food, Campfire Grill, Coaster Candy, Main Gate Munchies, or Itty Bitty Beaver Bites with chicken strips, hot dogs, and cheeseburgers.
Eat Mexican cuisine at Tres Hombre’s Tacos, nosh on pizza at Prospector’s Pizza or Timber Ridge Pizza, or eat ice cream at Dippin’ Dots, Custard’s Last Stand, or Fountain Ice Cream Parlor.
You can find plenty of sweet stuff at Funnel Cakes or Fried Dough, sip coffee at Tim Horton’s, eat sandwiches at Subway, or try fries, chicken fingers, wraps, salads, or pizza at Shark Bites.