Friday, August 3, 2012

Canada Vacation: Niagara Falls

I suppose my vacation from my vacation is over.
I was exhausted but that's just because we had such a GREAT TIME!

First stop:  Niagara Falls

We flew into Buffalo, New York and drove a rental car into Canada.

I was hoping they would stamp our passports at the border crossing (I really wanted the kids to get their first stamp.) However, since we drove instead of flew to Canada we didn't get a stamp.  Bummer!

We chose to stay on the Canadian side of the Falls because it was a night and day difference.
The American side reminded me of a ghost town in Nevada
while the Canadian side shouted Vegas!!
(hello commercialization)

Regardless, the View was Amazing!
(American Falls on the left and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls on the right.)

We are so lucky to be here...

...and to share this experience with people from All Over The World.
We heard so many different languages and saw just about every color of skin.
I did my best to explain to Lauren and Tyler the headscarves worn by some women and the bindis worn by others and whatever else my children asked.
This was their first experience being immersed into such a diversified environment.
(it probably prepared them for a French-only speaking Quebec in their near future)

 I had originally (naively?) thought we would be able to hike around the Falls and explore all they had to offer at our leisure.

However, when we got there it seemed more like an amusement park.

Lots of lights, Ruby Tuesday, Ice-cream shops, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Arcades, Build-a-Bear, Econolodge, Boston Pizza, Haunted House rides, Rainforest Cafe, Miniature Golf, Bowling, Movies, shoulder-to-shoulder people, etc. etc.
What am I forgetting?  

Oh and a big SkyWheel too.
We rode that and it was awesome.
The falls and entire area were beautifully lit up at night.
($11 each for Matt and I and $7 each for L and T)

The next day we went exploring more.
We found we could discover the rapids down below the falls.  The entrance, just steps from our hotel.

We took an elevator down, down, down, down, and then walked along a board walk to check out the rapids at their level.
Right where we snapped our picture below, the family before us unluckily got drenched by a rogue (yet not unexpected) rapid.
($9.95 each for Matt and I and $6.50 each for the children)

 Later that afternoon we wanted to really check out the awesome Horseshoe Falls.
Our choices were to pay to watch a movie, pay to ride a boat (Maid of the Mist,)or pay to do the Journey Behind the Falls.

(mostly because the line for the Maid of the Mist boat ride was Ridiculously long)

($14.94 each for Matt and I and $9.95 each for Lauren and Tyler) 

 We took an elevator down to about the halfway point of the falls.
We were able to walk in a cave behind the falls and actually see the water rushing down in front of us.  The lighting wasn't very good so we didn't get a picture.
Here we are out on the walkway just at the side of the falls.  The spray was so intense that they provided parkas.

Although I was surprised and slightly disappointed by the commercialization of Niagara Falls, in all honesty, I can understand why. To view the power of Falls is a truly majestic, awe-inspiring. powerful and humbling experience.  The earth just gives way and the water cascades down.  It is so magnificent that people will come to see it with or without bells and whistles.  Might as well make money off those bells and whistles.

You need to see this for yourself!

(Maid of the Mist down below)

After two days exploring the Falls we moved on to 
We spent an enjoyable late afternoon playing on the shore of Lake Ontario before having dinner at Yianni's.
(Lake Ontario was my first great lake sighting and holy cow what a sight!  Don't let the green trees and land from just across the way fool you that's just the other side of the river flowing into the massive Lake Ontario.)

Stay tuned for the next part of our Canadian Vacation.
We start driving around Lake Ontario and see all there is to explore.
(like Ontario's Largest Natural Cavern)

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