Niagara Falls/Welland Recap

Old Aug 7th, 2006, 06:53 AM
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Niagara Falls/Welland Recap

We're back!I know that MY experience can in no means be a guarantee of how the trip would be for anyone else but I hope you can go and enjoy it as we did!

GOAT ISLAND/USA SIDE- I HIGHLY recommend it! We stopped here before we crossed the border about 1pm Tuesday. Stayed until 6pm. One of the hilites. I thought Goat Island was going to be uneventful except for the COW. WRONG! WE did COW and got in right before a tour bus. Hardly had to wait. Very little line. Unbelievable how close you get. A must see in my book.
There is a little snack area with a beautiful scenic outlook of the falls area and rainbow bridge. You can then walk a few steps to Luna Island and get a closer look.
BEST BARGAIN- Get trolley tickets at the Park Ranger booth in front of the COW ticket area.
Cheap tickets (2/adults, 1/child) and you can get on and off the trolley all day. It goes all around the island -- Don't miss Terapin Point and 3 sisters Islands.. all on trolley stops. Trolley even returns you to your parking lot. You'll be grateful-by the time you get off and see the sight another trolley is back to pick you up! Very regular. Around 5pm my husband thought about going on MOM- didn't think about taking it on USA side..we kept seeing MOM boats going down the river...one would always be half full and the other packed. Couldn't understand why until we got to MOM...We walked right on in-no line Tues. 5pm. Walked onto the boat. Our boat was 1/3 full and we looked over at Canadian side and their boat was FULL plus there was a waiting line. Same experience except if you go on the USA side there is a fantastic overlook (looks like a high half a bridge that stops in the middle of the river) that is accessible with MOM tickets (right where you board MOM before descend to boat). Canada didn't have one. Also..to the immediate left of the MOM entrance is a nice shady/lush park right up against the huge river rapids. WOW

CANADA:
Hi-lites: Table Rock Area/Queen Victoria Park. Main Niagara Falls overlook area. Next to food court, currency exchange, and JBTF entrance.
JBTF- Wonderful! Portals behind falls and observation decks.

Whirlpool Jet Boats- FUN!!! You get wet but there are changing rooms. If you book an online registration for a 10am ride you get $10 off per person. Otherwise you can find online coupons or coupons around niagara for $5 off per person. It was fantastic! Nice scenic drive to Niagara on the Lake. Beautiful area -stopped along drive to see Floral Clock. Also there is a really nice souvenir /snack shop along this drive with large "Canada" figures outside (Leaf, Mounties,Niagara scene, etc.) that is great for picture taking.

We didn't do any golfing but we couldn't believe how many golf courses there were in the area! Just a heads up if anyone is interested.

Clifton Hill is a huge tourist area. Looks like a boardwalk jammed with a jumble of sights and food. Can be crazy. but something to do. Walked from here at night to see the falls illuminated. Beautiful!

IMAX/Daredevil museum:
Nothing extraordinary but i appreciated the "history" of niagara. A nice break. Fun to see all the various barrells used to go over. That was interesting.

PARKING:
We parked one night at the casino for free and another night behind the "Big Anthony" restaurant on the strip for $5/day. Also parked next to the Imax for $5/day. Not bad. Could walk to where we wanted to go from there. Didn't even need the people mover. My neighbor told me that was undependable and a pain to wait for. I didn't have to deal with it but a lot of people use it so who knows?

WELLAND CANAL-
This was SO INTERESTING! we arrived around 11am or so on Thursday. A HUGE freighter was in the lock and another one was arriving around 12. We walked around the visitor center etc. and then got to watch the one boat leave and the other boat come in. Have a "vertical" bridge where the whole bridge lifts up instead of a draw bridge scenario. Cool. The one freighter came in and we got to watch it sink in a matter of minutes. VERY cool! It was neat to watch the lockes in action-from Lake ontario to Lake Erie i believe. We really liked it.

LION SAFARI:
We were running late and didn't get up until the afternoon so only had a few hours but we loved it. We drove our own car through the safari (yes the baboons got our window seal) but we all agreed it was so much more fun than if we took the bus. We could go at our own pace and take as many pictures as we wanted. Our son thought it was fantastic and will be something he remembers and that was the point. We laughed so hard. It was fun! We then got to see an elephant show which my husband said was the best he had ever seen. only 8 minutes but good. Interesting animals to look at. Play area for kids. Rode the little train and the boat around the animal areas. We loved it.
If you go..make sure to go early so you can take advantage of all there is to do with the shows and the play area, etc. We only got to be there a few hours but still enjoyed ourselves and it was worth the money.

That's it. We did Goat Island/Cave of the Winds-USA, Maid of the Mist-USA, Journey Behind the Falls, Table Rock, JEt boat, Welland Canal, Lion Safari. A packed 3 days but we couldn't have asked for a nicer vacation. No lines, great weather, wonderful-

Thanks for all you help and advice! I know the experience is different for everyone but we had a fantastic time!
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 09:16 AM
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Great report. Good to see someone with a positive attitute and sense of adventure.

I agree that the Welland Canal is quite an interesting place to visit. Always on our 'places to see' list when we bring friends down that way. Many people have no idea of what a busy waterway the Great Lakes area is -with a rich history of adventures and even a ghost ship or two.

cheers

Jerry
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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nice trip report. i live in the area so it's always interesting to hear how visitors enjoy their trip. Had the experience a few years ago to assist some boaters taking their pleasure craft thru the welland canal. It's a lot of work but even more interesting than just being a spectator.
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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So glad you had a fun time in Niagara!
Thought the portion of your post about the African Lion Safari might help other travellers so hope you don't mind that I pasted it onto that thread.
Thanks for the great trip report! T.
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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Glad to hear your trip was a success and that you didn't miss anything. The info on Goat Island is appreciated - I've got CotW on my schedule already and have been debating making time for the Islands, now I know to definitely do so.
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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thanks everybody!

toadtoes:
once you are on goat island and if you take the trolley around the island it should't take much time to see the "other" sights other than COW. luna island and 3 sisters islands are very SMALL and don't take a lot of time but they do give you a different view of either the river rapids (3 sisters--go all the way to the third island's edge and down to the base of the rocks) or the falls (you can walk to luna island from the snack area outside COW exit). terapin point is right at the top of the american falls. Of course if your time is limited than just focus on COW and terapin point- but if you have some time i would suggest taking a little to enjoy goat island as a whole. I also suggest taking MOM from the american side if interested. Have a wonderful trip!!
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Old Aug 8th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Haveag8day,

I get mesmerized by the water, so combining that with a photography addiction means I need to have plenty of time to spend watching and photographing the water. I'm quite looking forward to it. I think I can work a half day just for the islands and CotW.

My trip isn't until next year, so I have plenty of time to re-work my schedule. Funny, folks always ask me why I plan ahead like I do - this is why, so I can find out everything possible about a place and get the best trip planned.
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Old Aug 9th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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i agree. i just dropped off the film from the trip-yikes. oh well! as mentioned, to the immediate left of the Goat Island MOM entrance is a lush shaded green park right up against the rolling river rapids. (this is one of the trolley stops) they have park benches right at the edge and i wish i had had some time to just sit and watch and listen to the rapids. God's creation is unbelievable and i just found that rushing water mesmerizing. I would have enjoyed a good "sit and stare" session.
Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Sep 8th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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My husband and I are getting ready go to Michigan for my 40th class reunion. While there we plan to visit Niagara Falls. He has never been back there as he is from the pacific northwest. It has been a while for me. I want to know where it the best place to stay while there so we can park and walk, we want to see COW and MOM and goat island. We will only have 1 day. What do we do first? We are going October 7th, 2006. Thanks
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Old Sep 9th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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Ronda- drive in the AM to Goat Island state park and leave your car in the lot for $8... purchase a discount activities book at the park office for Maid and Cave of the Winds and do those right away... they are wet rides so prepare to dry after you're done... there are people movers and other activities in the book and you can pick and choose the rest of your day...

The hotels are your pick but on the US side is a Comfort Inn "the Pointe" right near the Falls and the Bridge or on the Canada Side the Sheraton Brock right across the Bridge...
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