Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Niagara Falls - Day 2/3...

Day #2 in Niagara Falls was our only scheduled full day in Canada, so we knew that we were going to have to pack in a lot to get everything done before heading home the following day.

As much as we loved our hotel, the breakfast buffet was absolute chaos, as was the elevator situation in the hotel.  Thankfully we were on a lower floor (16) and had access to a separate elevator for floors L-18.  We heard rumors of 30+ minute waits to get an elevator in the morning from the upper floors.  When we arrived at breakfast, the line was wrapped around the entire floor.  Luckily, it moved at a fairly rapid rate.  We grabbed a quick breakfast and headed out to the bus stop in front of the hotel.  Georgia loved riding the WEGO bus to our first stop of the day... Hornblower cruises!

I highly recommend hitting up the cruises around mid-morning because there was absolutely no line.  We grabbed our ponchos and jumped on the next boat that pulled up.


Getting ready to head up river!


Waving hello to our American friends across the river touring the American falls


Dry to wet in just a matter of minutes


I can't say that I saw much once we got up close and personal with the Canadian falls.  We were soaked and you could barely talk to the person standing next to you over the roar of the falls.  I did my best to keep Georgia standing and pretty much smothered her with her poncho to keep the hood on her!  In short... we had a blast!  The boat ride is over pretty fast - 20 minutes later and you are back on dry land.






I forgot to mention that Tops the Dino not only made the trip to NY, but this little guy went international with us!!



Dino spotting in Canada


Even though we weren't booked for our White Water Walk until later in the afternoon, we decided to start heading that way in the hopes that we might score an earlier elevator time.  Again, the WEGO buses are fabulous - we jumped on the next bus and headed north.  Upon our arrival, they easily swapped our time and we got into the line to head down.  Amazingly enough, the tiny little elevator was hidden inside a small store along the river's edge.  I can see why they assign you times since only 10 or so people can fit in at a given time.  As old as that elevator appeared, the boardwalk seemed brand new and had an amazing view of the rapids once we emerged below.














We had packed some snacks and lunch for Georgia, so we decided to enjoy the views and have a little picnic riverside before heading back up.  As we waited for the elevators to head back up, we read all about the crazy stunts completed on the river back in the day - people swimming across, walking across on tightropes, people in barrels, etc.  You couldn't pay me to jump into that wild water!!

Although our Adventure Pass didn't include the Whirlpool Aero Car, we decided to check it out since it was just one more bus stop north of our location at the White Water Walk and we were making great time.  Again, we hopped on the bus and headed north and once again we managed to time everything perfectly and minutes later, we were zipping across the river... literally!  Due to a bend in the river, we never left Canada even though it appeared as though we crossed to the other side of the river.





We were so happy we took this little side excursion because it was an amazing way to see the river and the whirlpool below us.  The tour guide commented that the early afternoon was a good time to see the whirlpool because the water level is higher.  Apparently in the morning, water is diverted to the power plant and the water level drops significantly.









Frankly, I couldn't tell how high we were over the river until we returned back to the cliff and watched the next aero car head out on the line.  AHHHH!





We had one last excursion on our Adventure Pass, so we headed back to the Table Rock Centre to watch/experience "Niagara's Fury."  It's difficult to explain - part movie and part interactive experience.  Georgia was very into the cute animated movie, but was not the biggest fan of the second part, which included lots of loud noises, special effects, water spraying at us, etc.  She was also in desperate need of a nap!  So, we headed back to the hotel and we all relaxed for a few hours.  

We woke up to head to our dinner reservations at the Skylon Tower, a revolving restaurant with some fairly amazing views.  Unfortunately, the food was just okay and the wait for our food was quite lengthy (including Georgia's plain pasta noodles).  The price tags were also lengthy, including Georgia's plain pasta noodles.  I will say that the restaurant was receptive and did email me an apology when I emailed them a recap of our experience, including being charged full-price for Georgia's 3 course fixed meal which only included plain pasta noodles since the appetizer and dessert were not allergy safe and no alternatives were offered to us!  Heck, I would have eaten her salad and dessert for the price tag on it.



Thank goodness I had Tops in my purse because he entertained Georgia for the 30+ minutes we waited for her noodles







Since it was a gorgeous night, we took the long way back to the hotel and wandered around Niagara a bit.  We stumbled upon the casino and the gorgeous fountain out front.



My favorite picture from the trip!



Niagara casino
And with that, it was the end of another long day in Canada!  We really loved the city - it's gorgeous.  The weather was perfect for our little trip north - I can't imagine doing all these water/poncho experiences in the cold.  We already started making plans to return with other family who have never had the chance to visit.



Hotel lobby


We were up bright and early the next morning to grab breakfast again before packing up the car and saying goodbye to our hotel.



Finally grabbed a picture of the beautiful lobby ceiling on the way out of the hotel


Before our long drive back to Maryland, we took a short detour to Niagara on the Lake and immediately decided that we needed to return to visit that adorable little town.  We didn't even get out of the car, but I passed enough wineries to know that a return visit is absolutely needed!  If we had another day in Canada, we would have spent it here.

The longest part of our drive home was getting across the border.  We're not quite sure what happened to all the cars in front of us because we were fully prepared for a strip search of the car and ourselves.  However, we were waived through with barely a glance at our passports.  



Back to the USA


Unfortunately, the long drive through Pennsylvania took most of the day, but we arrived home safe and sound later that evening!  

It's always good to be home after a trip.






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