I was sent to Upstate New York on a work trip. The good news is that I was fortunate enough to get a free day to go visit Niagara Falls. The bad news is that it was early March and still very cold and wet outside.
This is the place I started – the Orin Lehman Visitor Center just off the parking lot. Since this is my first visit here I thought this would be a good starting place.
One of the first items you see is the plaque above honoring the 100 year anniversary of America’s oldest state park. I was a little surprised that it was a state park rather than a National Park.
There were many exhibits in the Visitor Center about the region. This one caught my eye as it shows the many different parks along the river system. Niagara Falls (upper left corner) is only one of many which I was not aware of.
The center also had a movie theater. I chose not to see the movie on this visit as it was $12 to see it.
The above picture shows the back of the Visitor Center as you leave to go view the falls. There are a variety of places to see including the famous Maid of the Mist.
The Niagara River is something to see all by itself. It spreads out across a wide area and ends up going over one of the three falls that make up the Niagara Falls system. That is Goat Island across this part of the river.
As you can see it was a pretty wet and cold day when I visited. The roar of the river and the water going over the falls fills the air just like the mist that rises from the falling water.
On our next visit I want to go to the Canadian side to get some better views of the falls. As you can see they have lots of buildings that offer some glorious views including the Skylon Tower off to the right.
To get a good view of the American Falls I headed for the Observation Tower that sticks out over the Niagara River Basin from the American side. This is by far the best viewing of the falls without going to Canada.
One of the benefits of going on a cold, off-season day was that a visit to the Observation Tower was free. Just watch your step as everything is cold and wet – including me.
From the deck of the Observation Tower you get a clear view of the Rainbow Bridge that will take you to Canada if you wish.
While the Rainbow Bridge is nice, the best view by far is that of the American Falls. The mist in the background is from the Canadian (or Horseshoe) Falls. On this cold day you get to see an icy bottom of the falls.
Having never been to Niagara Falls I was amazed at the variety of things to see and do here. I was also a bit surprised at the variety offered on the Canadian side versus the American side. Of course the falls face Canada so the views are a little better over there.
Definitely a place that we will be returning to someday. I would like to spend at least a day on each side and ride the Maid of the Mist. That will have to wait a while although we will return in the warmer months on a future visit.
For more information about this natural wonder check out these websites: