5 Fun Things to Do in Niagara That Have Nothing to Do with Waterfalls
Everybody knows that when you travel to Niagara Falls, the most important stop on your itinerary is taking the time to see and experience all that beautiful and impressive water. Whether you view the falls from a chartered helicopter, sail right up close and personal on a Maid of the Mist boat tour or simply gaze in awe at the massive display from an observation deck, rubbernecking at the falls is a given.
But what else is there to do in the Niagara area? Turns out the area is so flush with fun, entertainment and educational opportunities, that a trip to the region without the falls would still provide plenty of good times. From dinosaur mini golf to Old Fort Niagara, here are five fun things to do in the Niagara Falls area that have nothing to do with waterfalls.
The Niagara region is well-known for its exceptional wines and Inniskillin Winery — located in Niagara-on-the-Lake — is one of the area’s best, known internationally for its exquisite icewine. Icewine is made from grapes that are left on the vine to freeze over the winter, which intensifies their flavor and sweetness. Take the free, guided tour, and learn about the delicate ins and outs of icewine making at the vineyard.
Afterwards, enjoy a sample of their wine at the Tasting Bar, and if you’re smitten, buy a bottle or two to take back home. For oenophiles and the uninitiated both, Inniskillin Winery is a great way to spend the day.
Old Fort Niagara
Old Fort Niagara is a history buff’s dream come true. The longest operational fort in North America, it’s located on the United States’ side of the falls and was originally built in the 17th century. Over the course of hundreds of years, it was utilized by the French, the British and the Americans. The fort has seen action throughout numerous wars, including the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.
These days, the fort is a spectacular museum in one of the most beautiful sections of western New York. Visitors can experience underground gunpowder rooms, army barracks and centuries-old cannons. The on-site visitor’s center can help guide the truly enamored into even greater detail. The fort is open all-year round, and it features numerous special events throughout the year.
Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises
How does an expertly narrated two-hour cruise on the Erie Canal sound? According to the History Channel and AAA, the Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruise is a remarkably informative and fascinating experience. Travel under lift bridges, and experience what it’s like to be raised and lowered 50 feet in locks 34 and 35. Just 30 minutes away from Niagara Falls, this tour is a unique experience that combines history, engineering and the stunning beauty of the region into one grand experience.
Josephine’s Vegetables and Dinosaur Mini Golf
It’s not every day you can visit a large vegetable stand in a beautiful part of the world and enjoy a game of mini golf attended by dinosaurs. Josephine’s Vegetables and Dinosaur Mini Golf is one of the more unique offerings in the region that’s sure to please kids and adults, so long as neither take themselves too seriously.
Located on the same property, this herbicide-free farm grows 65 different vegetables while entertaining the masses with an impressive array of dinosaurs throughout its seven mini golf courses that cover 63 holes. There is even a 22-foot by 18-foot dragon skull that anyone can walk through. The vegetable stand and the mini golf are open every day from May 1 through September.
Niagara Falls History Museum
Another entertaining stop for the lover of history and culture, the Niagara Falls History Museum is located in the city of Niagara Falls and features a wealth of exhibits and artifacts from days gone by. Visitors can try on a replica uniform from the War of 1812, while they hold an old musket that would have been used by one of the young soldiers. You can also practice walking a tightrope across the falls to see what it would have been like to be one of the few daredevils who attempted that feat.
The museum recently underwent a massive $12 million renovation that expanded its space to allow for even more hands-on exhibits, making the overall experience even more rich and memorable. Located close to the site of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, this museum is a great experience for anyone with an interest in the region’s story.
Take a trip to beautiful Niagara Falls, and see why the region’s other offerings are nearly as good a reason to visit the area as the stunning waterfall that bear its name.
Photo Credits: Anthony Sokolik & Kathryn Yengel