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Niagara Falls: Things to Do with Family

Niagara Falls was mesmerizing, but your children kind of rushed through it, as kids are wont to do. The problem? Now you’re done seeing the falls and still have several more days in the area, but nothing on the itinerary. Uh-oh.

Don’t sweat it! As such a popular attraction, Niagara Falls has activities galore on the New York and Canadian sides (especially the latter). You can find plenty to do in the area for several days, even a week.

Here are some family-centric activities and attractions families shouldn’t miss. 

Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Canada

Butterfly Conservatory

A visit to the Butterfly Conservatory is the ideal way to wind down after an adrenaline-pumping tour of Niagara Falls. The Niagara Parks Commission manages this 99-acre butterfly house located fewer than six miles from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

The conservatory is nestled within the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture and has operated since late 1996. It features a glass dome where more than 2,000 butterflies flutter freely across 11,000 square feet. The area is climate-controlled and also boasts beautiful foliage.

The Butterfly Conservatory brings in 3,000 new butterflies per month, so there’s always a reason to come back.

When you’re done witnessing the majesty of the fluttery friends, check out the auditorium (with a capacity for 200 people) and the gift shop to commemorate your fun day in Niagara Falls.

Niagara SkyWheel

The Niagara SkyWheel boasts some of the best views of Niagara Falls from Ontario. Better yet, it’s a blast to ride!

That’s because the SkyWheel is an oversized Ferris wheel. Part of Clifton Hill, an amusement zone in Ontario, the SkyWheel has remained its star attraction since it opened in 2006. The wheel ride takes you up 175 feet at its tallest peak, with overarching views of Niagara Falls.

Each gondola attached to the Ferris wheel is enclosed and has temperature control. You can turn on the air conditioning if visiting Niagara Falls in the summer or run the heat on a chilly evening. And yes, you can ride this Ferris wheel day and night. The SkyWheel is also open all year long.

The ride lasts between 8 and 12 minutes.

» MORE: Ferris Wheel at Niagara Falls – When to Ride, and For How Much (Plus What Else to Do in the Area)

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

Visit the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark for an all-in-one vacation experience in Niagara Falls. It’s a three-acre water park connected to a resort. If you already have prior accommodations, you can visit the water park by day and retreat to your hotel when you’re ready to call it a day.

This indoor water park has received nods from TripAdvisor, winning its Travelers’ Choice Award for Amusement Parks & Water Parks in Canada for six years running.

Across 125,000 square feet, the kids can play all day on six-story waterslides, including an extreme racing slide, The Canadian Plunge, and Toob Tower.

The Sunnyside Pool & Patio is a great place for making a splash, and Fallsview Beach is all the balmy beach atmosphere but without the sand. Tiny Tots Splash Park is designed just for the young ones, while The Tidal Wave is a pool for older kids. It features cresting waves four feet tall!

The Beach House is an interactive play structure and the home of the Niagara Tipping Bucket, which releases more than 1,000 gallons of water each time it spills on unsuspecting guests.

» MORE: The Best Indoor Water Parks in Niagara Falls

A jungle-themed playhouse is for after toweling off if the kids still have more energy to burn. Dining is available courtesy of The Beach Club, an onsite restaurant.

Journey Behind the Falls

It’s time to venture deeper into Niagara Falls than you’ve ever been before when you take a Journey Behind the Falls. This Ontario attraction by Table Rock Centre is one of the premier experiences in the area.

You will explore new sides of the famous Horseshoe Falls as you cross tunnels and observation platforms to venture 151 feet behind this large waterfall. The tunnel mouth opens up to the rushing water of the fall, which pulses heavily.

Since the cave is moderately eroded, you can’t get as close as you once could, but trust me when I say you’ll get close enough! 

Bird Kingdom

Take a walk on the wild side when your family visits the Bird Kingdom during your time in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This indoor aviary with free-flying birds is the largest of its kind on the planet, so it’s unsurprising it’s a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2023 award winner.

The rainforest setting has multiple pathways to explore, housing hundreds of unique, exotic bird species. Keep your eyes peeled, as you will witness more than feathered friends at Bird Kingdom. Many animal species are represented in habitats as near to their own as it gets.

» MORE: Fun Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Ontario

If you have room in your family vacation budget, Bird Kingdom offers some truly unique experiences, including tours and lorikeet feedings. These will make the kids’ vacation experience for sure!

White Water Walk

Put on your walking shoes and bust out the stroller, as the White Water Walk is a self-guided tour of the Class 6 waters of the Niagara River. Experience the whitewater rapids from a safe distance as you walk a quarter-mile from start to finish.

Niagara Glen Nature Reserve

Fall in love with the natural beauty of Canada at the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve, conveniently located near the Niagara Whirlpool and Niagara Gorge.

Containing Carolinian forest–and one of the only locations in Southern Ontario that does–the park includes hiking trails, gorge and whirlpool overlooks, rock climbing, and breathtaking beauty as far as the eye can see.

» MORE: Things to Do in Niagara Falls for Free

The Niagara Glen Nature Reserve is free to enter and open daily, weather allowing.

Great Canadian Midway

Acquiring almost as much acclaim as the Niagara SkyWheel is the Great Canadian Midway in Clifton Hill. This 70,000-square-foot attraction features the Ghost Blasters Dark Ride, the Cosmic Coaster Motion Simulator, and a ginormous arcade.

» MORE: Things to Do in Niagara Falls with Toddlers

The complex is alive with neon lights, tickets released from games, prizes on the walls, and the sounds of electronic games. Continue to the upper level, and you’ll find dark rides and Boston Pizza.

Queen Victoria Park

A small slice of paradise in Ontario’s Niagara Falls, Queen Victoria Park originally opened in 1888 and is considered the tourist area’s centerpiece.

The floral displays here are out of this world, but what you’ll see varies by season. The roses and daffodils are some of the most renowned, but any grouping of flowers is charming.

Around the holidays, when flowers are less plentiful, the Festival of Lights runs through here, illuminating the park.

You and the family can see Horseshoe Falls from this vantage point and even American Falls on the US side of Niagara Falls.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

Enchanting visitors and residents alike since 1936, the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is full of fun. It’s nearly 100 acres of gorgeous floral, plant, and landscaping displays. The gardens showcase the latest seasonal plants, especially around the Welcome Plaza.

This central hub, overseen by the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, has more than 80,000 plants transplanted from the nearby greenhouse.

Niagara Falls History Museum

Get to know the amazing history of Ontario’s Niagara Falls by spending a few hours of your day at the Niagara Falls History Museum. Established by Thomas Barnett in 1827, the museum is the oldest in Canada.

The exhibits rotate but always offer something fascinating worth learning about.

Marineland of Canada

Marineland is a favorite attraction of kids everywhere. Part of the attraction is an aquarium, with aquatic animals spaced apart in themed exhibit areas like Penguin Palace or Arctic Cove. Marineland also has an outdoor zoo with land mammals.

The best part is the rides, with thrilling twists, stunning drops, and exciting turns for the whole family. The rides include plenty of kiddie attractions they can ride alone or with Mom and Dad, plus thrill rides for older, braver kids and teens.

Great Wolf Lodge

The only Canadian Great Wolf Lodge (as of this writing), the Niagara Falls indoor water park is a resort and arcade the kids will beg to visit.

The indoor water park has rides and slides for kids of all ages, including the toddler-friendly Chipmunk Cove, Otter Lake with water basketball and other fun, dual tube slides like Bobcat or Grizzly Falls, and the thrilling Niagara Rapids Run.

The kiddos can also ride the oversized slide known as the Wooly Mammoth, the spiraling Canada Vortex, the straight drop that is the Wolf Tail, or the lazy river called Crystal River.

» MORE: 11 Great Wolf Lodge Resorts That Lead the Pack

The fun doesn’t stop there! Dry off and enjoy attractions like bowling, VR and immersive games, mini golf, the Northern Lights Arcade, and the Great Wolf Stuffing Station, where kids can create their own plush friend.  

Niagara’s Fury

Experience the wrath of Niagara Falls at the aptly named Niagara’s Fury. Unlike many other attractions near the falls, this one doesn’t get you wet. Well, mostly. It’s a 4D motion ride with some misting and a severe drop in temperature.

You’ll feel like you’re experiencing Horseshoe Falls in a whole new way without ever leaving your seat.

Whirlpool Aero Car

Another great way to experience the beauty and majesty of the Niagara River is via the Whirlpool Aero Car. You can expect the heart-rushing thrills of the Class 6 whitewater rapids but without any risk of being too close.

If anything, you’ll be further from the Niagara River than ever as you cross the Niagara Gorge from more than 3,000 feet up.

» MORE: Can I Get Into Niagara Falls Without a Passport?

WildPlay Niagara Falls Zipline to the Falls

By far, the WildPlay Zipline to the Falls experience is one of the coolest ways to see Niagara Falls. Kids and adults alike can glide down a zipline with ensconcing views of the cascading waterfalls.

Do the kids still want to do more? The WildPlay Whirlpool Adventure Course includes three obstacle courses, with jumping, ziplining, and climbing circuits. Kids’ courses for children between five and 12 are suitable for little ones.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Niagara Falls, New York

Aquarium of Niagara

The American side of Niagara Falls has its own aquarium, the Aquarium of Niagara. Children can experience a wide array of mystifying creatures, including jellyfish, Humboldt penguins, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles.

The kiddos can also learn about conservation, which is always important.

Cave of the Winds

A favorite family attraction, Cave of the Winds is a walkable tour of a cave near Bridal Veil Falls that’s 30 feet deep and 130 feet tall. The cave is within Niagara Falls State Park and is a great bookend for your special day.

» MORE: Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls State Park (US Side)

The World Changed Here pavilion is an excellent spot for learning more about the area’s history while you wait for your turn to explore the cave.

Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World

The Grand Island Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World is a seasonal water park and theme park in one.

The range of rides here does not disappoint, as Niagara Amusement Park has its own roller coaster called the Silver Comet. The Amazing Flying Machine is also for older kids, but most of the rides here are kiddie rides, from Planes ‘N Copters to Ships Ahoy, the Auto Carousel, and Whirly Swings.

The Splash World water park features tunnel and tube slides like Surf Hill, Dragsters Drench, Double Dare Falls, and Cannonbowl. A ¼-mile lazy river and Dinosaur Pool are also available for making a day of it.