Niagara Falls is one of my favorite places to visit with my family, not only because the New York side is so close to where we live but because the area is so toddler-friendly.
You can easily load the kiddos into a stroller and take them for a magnificent day filled with fantastic sights.
In this article, I will reveal my favorite spots to go with the family when we visit Niagara Falls. This list is full of all sorts of activities on the New York and Canadian sides so that no matter where your toddler’s interest lies, you can delight them on your next family vacation.
Ontario’s Butterfly Conservatory is a must for any budding entomologist. This butterfly house is only 5.6 miles away from Niagara Falls if you head north.
It’s part of the 99-acre Niagara Parks School of Horticulture and is run by the Niagara Parks Commission.
Operating since 1996, the Butterfly Conservatory has more than 2,000 beautiful butterflies set free throughout the attraction. The tropical butterflies come in every color and represent more than 40 species.
An 11,000-square-foot conservatory dome made of glass features almost 600 feet of paths leading to a greenhouse where you can see unique plant species. The Butterfly Conservatory also includes an auditorium room for 200 with a theater.
The butterflies come from all over the world, including Australia, the Philippines, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.
Are you interested in getting the butterflies to land on you to make your toddler’s day ultra-special? There are a few tricks you can try.
Wear a scent, such as cologne or perfume. Walk slowly and wear bright colors.
Kids of all ages can appreciate a more immersive look into the gorgeous Niagara Falls on an unguided tour such as Journey Behind the Falls.
This Ontario attraction begins on an observation platform. You’ll travel along tunnels all the way to the bottom of Horseshoe Falls, going down more than 120 feet.
Those tunnels are more than 100 years old, and one cave entrance has a large enough mouth that you can see Horseshoe Falls cascading down.
I recommend wearing raincoats, ponchos, and other rain gear for a visit to Journey Behind the Falls, as you will not leave this attraction dry.
Speaking of attractions where you won’t leave dry, the next Niagara Falls activity I recommend for families with toddlers is a day at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark.
This Ontario water park opened in 2006 and features over 200,000 gallons of water. Its proximity to Clifton Hill (which I’ll discuss more shortly) makes it a favorite.
Fallsview is more than 125,000 square feet and has rides of varying thrill levels. I recommend Fallsview Beach for toddlers, a faux beach that is always warm with an enclosed, dome-shaped glass roof that lets the sunlight in.
Carry the kids into the water or sit with them as they enjoy the water’s edge. The best part of this faux beach? No sand!
The Tiny Tots Splash Park includes kid-appropriate slides, water streams, soakers, and mushroom water pods I’m sure your toddlers will have a blast using. Let the kids watch the Niagara Tipping Bucket as it releases 1,000 gallons of water.
When your little ones get tired, rent a private cabana so they can rest.
Fallsview is more than an indoor water park; it’s also a resort. Hershey’s Chocolate World is 7,000 square feet and the only of its kind in the world. You can surely pick up a sweet souvenir for the entire family (and maybe some extended family or friends back home).
When you want to nosh on something more substantial, try the Hard Rock Café or the unique Fallsview Restaurant, which features a yummy menu and breathtaking views of Niagara Falls.
You can also pick up healthy meals at Freshii, a quick bite at the Terrace Food Court, and breakfast foods at Perkins. Rainforest Café has just the vibe that young kids love, with animatronic animals around every corner.
Plan a longer-term stay with four hotels connected to the indoor water park near Niagara Falls. Your options are the Crowne Plaza Fallsview, Clifton Victoria Inn, Sheraton Fallsview, and Skyline Hotel & Waterpark.
The Whirlpool Aero Car is one of the coolest ways to get around Ontario’s Niagara Falls side. This cable car suspended over the Niagara River’s Class 6 rapids takes you 3,500 feet up. It briefly reaches the United States side of Niagara Falls, but don’t worry – you don’t need a passport.
The Whirlpool Aero Car isn’t a thrill ride. It goes at a leisurely pace, carrying up to 35 passengers for a ride that averages 10 minutes.
Fun fact: the Whirlpool Aero Car is nicknamed the Spanish Aero Car because Leonardo Torres Quevedo designed it in 1916. The cable car received upgrades three times: twice in the 1960s and once in the 1980s.
A wonderful complement to a day at the Butterfly Conservatory is visiting the Bird Kingdom, an Ontario attraction open since 2003. There is no larger free-flying indoor bird aviary than this one, as it’s 45,000 square feet.
See more than 350 bird species from places like Africa, South America, and Australia. Just a smattering of the species you can hope to witness are the zebra dove, umbrella cockatoo, silver pheasant, scarlet ibis, double yellow-headed Amazon, and collared dove.
Explore areas such as the Small Bird Aviary with 50 bird types, the 45,000-square-foot Main Aviary, the Night Jungle with nocturnal creatures, and the Javanese House.
By the way, despite the name, Bird Kingdom houses more than feathered friends. You and the toddlers can also enjoy witnessing amphibians, reptiles, and mammals such as axolotls, bearded dragons, Egyptian fruit bats, fire-bellied toads, red-eared sliders, and sugar gliders.
The nonprofit Aquarium of Niagara is about more than fun but also conservation. A New York staple since 1965, the aquarium showcases rescued nautical creatures, with well over 120 species on display.
Some of the animals you and your toddlers can see are jellyfish, Humboldt penguins, gray seals, harbor seals, California sea lions, poison dart frogs, and Florida softshell turtles.
Upgrade your toddler’s aquarium trip with visitor experiences. Children will adore a seal or penguin encounter. You can also arrange for a darling photo with your toddler and a California sea lion (who will remain behind glass).
A behind-the-scenes aquarium tour is fun for the whole family and educational. You can even have the kiddos participate in a stingray or shark feeding (with trainer supervision) or get to understand what the job of an aquarium trainer entails with the Trainer for a Day experience.
Clifton Hill is an excellent spot for toddlers, but the Niagara SkyWheel deserves its own mention. This 175-foot Ferris wheel in Ontario by Ronald Bussink Professional Rides is an R60 Giant Wheel provided by Chance Morgan.
The SkyWheel boasts more than 40 enclosed cars for up to nine passengers per car. The ride, which has enchanted Niagara Park visitors since 2006, features temperature control in the form of air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.
Your slowly spinning ride will afford you glimpses of American Falls, the Niagara River, and Horseshoe Falls from hundreds of feet up. An average trip around the SkyWheel lasts between 12 and 15 minutes.
The SkyWheel is available almost no matter the weather, so you can bank on it when planning an adventure to Niagara Falls. Its slow-moving pace should allow even jittery toddlers to ride with ease. That it’s enclosed also helps!
When you depart from the SkyWheel, your day of fun doesn’t have to end. Clifton Hill features six attractions in one, and with a Fun Pass, you and your family can experience more of the excitement this amusement park has in store for you.
Maybe your toddlers aren’t old enough to drive on the Niagara Speedway go-karts yet, but they can sit with you, Mom or Dad, as you drive them around a race course that’s 2,000 linear feet of fun.
The concrete course ascends four stories via helical spirals, then descends down a dual-tiered ramp into a spiral. Drive a kart equipped with a four-stroke Honda motor capable of achieving 9 HP and speeds of almost 20 miles per hour.
Dinosaur Adventure Golf is mini golf with a twist. The golf course is inhabited by larger-than-life dinosaurs! This 36-hole features faux volcanoes that release real steam, including one volcano that’s 50 feet tall.
Across 70,000 square feet, you and the kiddos will see 50 dinosaurs, plenty of which tower 30 feet. They’ll seem as tall as the moon to your toddlers. Accompanying the visuals are state-of-the-art sound systems pumping in the noises of the jungle.
You also cannot miss the Great Canadian Midway, a 70,000-square-foot boardwalk with dark rides, coaster motion simulators, and more than 300 games.
Toddlers might be too young for some of the rides here, but they’ll enjoy classics like skeeball and Strike! Rock N Bowl.
After concluding a fun trip to Niagara Falls, continue enjoying Ontario’s nature at Queen Victoria Park near Horseshoe and American Falls.
The park features more than greenspace. You can also find restaurants, landmarks, and attractions in the area.
Take the kiddos through floral displays such as a rose garden or a rock garden, then rest at any of the benches throughout the park.
When you’re finished strolling through, don’t miss Kingsbridge Park, Dufferin Islands, or the Oakes Garden Theatre, which you can reach via the Niagara River Recreational Trail or the Niagara Parkway.
Are you seeking more aquatic fun for your toddlers? Ontario’s Marineland, also known as Marineland of Canada Inc., is part aquarium, part zoo, and part amusement park. Yes, you read that right: amusement park.
See an educational, informative presentation at King Waldorf Stadium, then move on to Arctic Cove, where beluga whales swim.
Friendship Cove offers a viewing area to see deep into the water. Penguin Palace and Polar Splash are other must-visit spots.
What about the rides? There’s something for every family member at Marineland. I recommend the slow-moving, rotational Boat Carousel, Magic Experience, Ocean Odyssey, and Tivoli Wheel for toddlers.
Get to where you’re going throughout the park via the Marineland Express, an in-park train that takes you across the park.
You can also dine at the family picnic areas or at The Hungry Bear Restaurant, which makes kid-friendly food like pretzels, nachos, pizza, chicken strips, hot dogs, and fries.
Learn about what makes Niagara Falls so incredibly special on a ride aboard the Niagara Scenic Trolley through the Niagara Falls State Park in New York. These trolleys use natural gas that’s better for our planet and preserve the beauty of Niagara Falls.
As you and the kiddos ride, you’ll learn tips for making the most of your trip to the Falls, unique facts, and anecdotes about the area’s history. You’ll also get trip recommendations to make planning your itinerary easy.
The Niagara Scenic Trolley runs at limited times throughout the year, usually between July and late November on Thursdays through Sundays. However, check availability before planning your tour.
Fun awaits no matter the season at Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park and resort.
The Niagara Falls resort is the only one in this franchise in Canada as of this writing. It features a 100,000-square-foot water park that never ascends beyond or below 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Besides the perfect temperatures, families will love the toddler-friendly attractions. Fort Mackenzie, a four-story interactive water fort, includes a tipping bucket.
Rainbow Lake is a wave pool with a zero-depth entrance. However, the pool reaches a max depth of five feet, so supervise your young ones as they play. Crystal River is the park’s lazy river that shouldn’t be missed.
Towel off and continue exploring the resort at the Great Wolf Adventure Park.
The Niagara Falls location features the MagiQuest adventure experience, Hologate Virtual Reality games, Ten Paw Alley kid-friendly bowling, the Northern Lights Arcade with games and prizes, Wacky Wilderness Mini Golf, and the Great Wolf Stuffing Station for making a furry friend.
Your toddler will love the themed suites. I recommended the KidKamp Suite for families of up to six people.
The suite includes a full bathroom, one queen-sized bed, one full sleeper sofa, bunk beds, and a patio or balcony. The entire room has a cute tent and camping theme.
Feeling hungry? Great Wolf Lodge offers dining options aplenty, from grilled food at Barnwood to Northwoods Pizza, Camp Critter, the Antler Shanty, Bear Claw Café, and sweets at Canoe Coffee.