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Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is called a unique natural attraction. During daylight hours, the sun’s rays form numerous rainbows in the water cascades. And in the dark period an impressive picture is created by artificial lighting – numerous projectors. Therefore, tourists who come to Canada (Ontario) or the United States (New York) are recommended to look at the wonder of the world at night and day. Only then will it be possible to understand what the cascade connecting the North American Lakes is famous for.

History of Niagara Falls and why it is so called

Niagara Falls from above
A view of Niagara Falls from above.

The history of the attraction goes back several centuries. The first detailed description can be found in Louis Hennepin, a Belgian missionary who visited the site in 1677. However, as early as 1604 it was described with admiration by Samuel de Champlain, a traveler from France.

According to archaeologists and geologists, the waterfall was formed 12,000 years ago, when the glaciers began to melt due to a warmer climate.

Rushing water currents swept away the soft sandy soil until they exposed a cliff with rocky rocks. To this day, tiny particles of basalt and granite flush from them, giving the water a cold greenish hue.

Each year the cascade rises 0.3 m upstream. Scientists believe that in 50 thousand years it will reach Lake Erie, and the wonder of the world will cease to exist.

In the Iroquois language, the waterfall is called “The Rattling Water” or “The Big Noise. But in some scientific sources another translation is “dividing in half. Perhaps this interpretation is due to location, the Falls are between America and Canada.

Information about Niagara Falls

This is several cascades of falling water, combined into a single complex. “Horseshoe” is located in Canada; “American” and “Fata Bride” are considered U.S. territory. “Rattling Water” is located on the very border of the territories of both countries.

Dimensions of the waterfall

The highest point of the rocky cliff rises 58 meters above the water level. The total width of the fault is 1155 m. The American part is much smaller than the Canadian part – 363 m against 792 m. The volume of falling water is 2 million 271 thousand liters/sec.

Geographic features

The waterfall is located between the Great Lakes – Erie and Ontario. The northern half belongs to Canada. The coordinates of the landmark:

  • latitude – 43.0781;
  • longitude – 79.0758.

On either side of the gorge is the town of Niagara Falls.

Possible disasters in the territory

The largest rock fall occurred in 1954. After the collapse, the height of the cliff decreased by 30 m, and 170,000 tons of stone fell into the river.

There were no casualties. Geologists, who monitor the condition of the continent’s most famous landmark around the clock, noticed the first cracks and set up a 24-hour watch. Thanks to the filming, tourists can now get acquainted with one of the biggest natural disasters.

Where are the cascades of Niagara Falls

Upstate New York is not popular with tourists. Niagara is the only major attraction in the area. The largest city with Buffalo Airport is located 32 km from the Falls. But even after realizing where the waterfall is and that there are not many interesting natural sites nearby, tourists do not give up tickets, but are interested in how to get to it quickly.

It is visited by 30 million people a year from all parts of the world.

Horseshoe Falls

The largest cascade of the complex was named for its shape. The height of the precipice, from which 85% of the total volume of water falls at a speed of 5720 m³/s is 53 m, width – 790 m. The best views are from the observation deck “Horseshoe”, although you can see only 21 m of the precipice with the falling stream. The rest of the waterfall is covered by a stone ridge.

The waterfall has a horseshoe shape
Horseshoe Falls.

American Falls

Cascade is downstream. The foot is completely cluttered with large boulders. The cliff is 323 m wide and 21 m high.

It is separated from the “Horseshoe” Goat Island with a well-developed infrastructure – there are tourist complexes, souvenir stores and parkland.

The Fata waterfall

This smallest waterfall is also owned by the United States. It is relatively narrow – only 17 m, low – 24 m. It is separated from the rest of the complex by Luna Island.

Photos of Niagara Falls

Spectacular shots can be taken from observation decks – most of them are on the border of Canada and bridges built downstream and upstream. The water extravaganza during the day is a mass of water with the reflection of numerous rainbows. At night, the impression is reinforced by fabulous illumination – thanks to spotlights you can capture the dancing multicolored streams.

Frosts partially freeze the water cascades. Photos can’t even convey the impression of a winter fairy tale. It is not the streams of falling water that freeze, but the water dust that forms the bizarrely shaped icicles. But in 2018. Niagara has frozen over completely.

Niagara Falls Attractions

To come for the sake of one multi-stage cascade with falling water is considered by many tourists as an unjustified waste. Guests can visit the museum, walk through the Queen Victoria Park, take pictures against the background of rare plants.

Niagara Butterfly Conservatory

Home to more than 2,000 species of exotic moths and butterflies, it is 9 km from Niagara Falls. It can be visited all year round, except at Christmas.

Butterfly Conservatory near Niagara Falls
Butterfly Conservatory.

Many specimens are exported from tropical countries – Mexico, El Salvador, the Philippines. But some rare inhabitants are grown directly in the conservatory, in the quarantine greenhouse.

During the tour you can observe all the cycles of insect development. It takes about 1.5 hours for a detailed examination. Tickets are $16 for adults and $10.25 CAD for children.

Queen Victoria Park

It’s a great place to relax and take pictures. It is especially beautiful in spring, when hundreds of tulips, magnolias, daffodils and other spring flowers bloom at the same time. The area is open, so only plants from Canada and North America are collected here.

Queen Victoria Park is considered the center of the Niagara Falls recreation area. Here are the best viewing platforms, from where you can admire the cascade complex of Niagara.

And in winter, there are annual festivals of lights.

Niagara Greenhouse

If in the open air in the park area tourists admire plants familiar to this part of the world, in the greenhouse they can get acquainted with visitors from the tropics. The total area of the exhibition halls – more than 1 thousand square meters. Rare heat-loving plants are blooming there, filling the air with their fragrances. And when you go outside, you find yourself in a botanical garden with magnolia alleys and lots of fountains.

Attractions at Niagara Falls

Entrance to the park with entertainment complexes is free. But to dip your hand into the greenish water, take a boat ride and find out where the Niagara flows out, you have to buy tickets for a tour. Unaccompanied tourists are not allowed to ride.

This is not the usual swings, merry-go-rounds or roller coasters. All the activities are connected with the local attraction, Niagara Falls.

Before the tour, tourists are offered waterproof raincoats and shoes. The air near the streams of falling water is saturated with water dust.

On the Canadian side

To get closer to the waterfall, you must go over the Rainbow Bridge. It was named for the many rainbows formed by the tiny splashes that constantly reflect the sun’s rays. Here offer to approach the wall of water by boat or visit the viewing platforms – from this side is fully visible complex of 3 cascades, shrouded in a cloud of boiling spray.

After seeing the falls, you can visit the attractions of the city of Niagara Falls: Ferris wheel, roller coaster, room of horrors. Children will enjoy “golf with dinosaurs,” and adults will enjoy spending time at the casino.

Attractions in Niagara Falls near Niagara Falls
Attractions in Niagara Falls.

On the American side

The most interesting excursion is a ride on a ship called Maid of the Mist. He sails up to the foot of the Horseshoe Cascade. Visitors to the Cave of the Winds are no less impressed. There is such a fog that it feels like you are already submerged in foamy water. The grotto, where tourists are brought, is located directly under the waterfall, where because of the noise of the water you can not hear your own words.

All the entertainment associated with the Falls on the American side:

  1. Riding in small boats that come so close to the waterfall that you can see the rock with the tumbling streams of water.
  2. View a film in which you can experience a waterfall in all seasons, see a mid-twentieth-century rockfall.
  3. Trolleybus ride, during which they offer to admire the panorama of waterfalls and the surrounding nature.

The cheapest tour is at the Tower Observatory observation deck. From there you can see all parts of the waterfall and Queen Victoria Park.

The overview part, which allows you to calm down and dry off, is a tour of the Nikola Tesla Monument. The guide tells about the inventor’s achievements in the field of electrical engineering and radio electronics. Behind the monument is the entrance to the world’s first hydroelectric power plant.

How to get there

There is still a debate between the two countries as to which country the tourist attraction belongs to the most. Canada insists that if it has a wider panorama from its observation decks, then it has more rights to the falls. The U.S. believes that since the river’s headwaters are on its northern territory, it means this natural wonder should belong to New York State.

However, the disputes do not prevent tourists from coming from all over the continent and explore the complex cascades “Rattling Water” at once from both sides.

From Canada

First you have to go to Toronto, and from there by train, bus, or private transport to Niagara Falls. Interestingly, there are towns with that name on each side – a large Canadian one, with entertainment venues, and a small one on the U.S. side.

From the U.S.

The easiest way to get to Niagara is from New York City. There are regular buses from there.

Hotel accommodations and tours are better booked in advance. But if there is an opportunity to arrive in private transport, it is advisable to use it. In time, the bus trip takes 8 hours.

What is the best way to get to rest on the road – to go by rail. You must first arrive in Buffalo and then take the electric train. In two hours you will be at the waterfall.

From Ontario.

First there is the trip to the city of Niagara Falls. Travelers gather at the Ontario Coach Terminal bus terminal. Then we transfer to a small bus that takes us directly to the giant waterfall itself.

Excursions to Niagara Falls
Excursions to the waterfall – the main attraction for tourists.

One-day tours of Niagara Falls

In addition to a guided visit to the Cave of the Winds and a trip to the steep cliff, along which the water flows down, tourists are offered routes:

  1. Boat rides that include a tour of three waterfalls at once.
  2. A bird’s-eye view of Niagara – a helicopter tour.
  3. Visiting islands disconnecting precipices with falling water.
  4. A walk through the caves.
  5. A tour of Niagara Falls State Park.

Hotels near Niagara Falls

Most often tourists book rooms in hotels of the city:

Title Distance to the waterfall, km
Radisson Hotel & Suites Fallsview 0,3
The Tower Hotel 0,3
Niagara Falls Marriott on the Falls 0,4
Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa 0,3
Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls 0,3
Sheraton Fallsview Hotel 1,4
Rodeway Inn Fallsview 0,5

All hotels have the option of asking for a room with a view of the river.

Interesting facts and legends about Niagara Falls

When going on an excursion to Niagara, you should bring a change of clothes. It’s impossible to be there without getting wet. Raincoats and rubber sandals, which are issued before the tour, do not save. Already at 100 m from the cascade, the air is streaked with water dust.

You are allowed to go up to the observation deck on your own. But it is better to conduct a tour with a guide, who can show you where you can best see the complex of cascades, and share interesting facts about the natural landmark:

  1. The heavier the rainfall, the more water the waterfall spews. The maximum “pumping” volume is 5.7 thousand l/sec.
  2. Despite the noise and rumble, the cascade complex is inferior in size to other natural attractions. For example, the height of the Venezuelan Angel is 1,054 meters.
  3. The Canadian authorities have long used the energy of falling water – there are several hydroelectric power plants at the foot of the cliff.
  4. Niagara Falls is one of the youngest. It was in its place only 6,000 years ago. The upstream progression of the river took place over the course of 5,000 years.
  5. Attempts to jump down a cliff are suppressed. The stunt ban was specifically lifted only once, in 2012, when an acrobat asked permission to walk the cable stretched between the Canadian and American banks of Niagara. Then the ban was returned. And information about unsuccessful attempts to cross the river is not disclosed.
  6. Complete freezing was observed in 1848 and 1912.
  7. “The veil of the bride” came to be called the smallest waterfall because there is a high ridge at the top of the precipice, constantly enveloped in fine water spray. Its shape is reminiscent of a newlywed’s jewelry.
  8. Fish that are blown off with the water currents remain viable. It’s interesting to watch them, frozen for a moment, float down the river again.

In 1901. Annie Taylor, 63, descended a cliff in torrents of water in a barrel and swam across the river. Despite the danger, they are still trying to repeat her act. But even with full equipment is not worth trying to conquer the raging waters. If you try to descend the cliff, you have to pay a fine of $10,000 and spend several days in the police station.

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