Last weekend we decided to take full advantage of the long Family Day weekend, and do something completely unusual and random. We realized that our children had not yet seen even one of Canada’s 7 Natural Wonders, so we opted to take them to the closest one: Niagara Falls.
After church on Sunday, we piled into the van, hit the Mickey D’s, and took off on our mostly impromptu road trip.
Our first stop was the Hampton Inn, a great little hotel with amazing breakfasts and great staff. After checking in, we headed out to see the Falls. We parked as close as we could to the Falls, and then spent about 45 mintues walking before we reached Table Rock for our kids’ first look. The boys were particularly taken with the speed of the water and with how close we were to the drop. We walked over to Clifton Hill and took the kids to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. They loved the atmosphere, but the food was … well, food. Not terribly exciting, except of course, for our Volcano dessert.
We headed back along River Road after dinner, just in time to see the spotlights turn on to light up the Falls for the evening. The kids thought everything was in 3D because of the lighting (not realizing the redundancy involved).
After a swim in the hotel pool, we called it a successfully full day.
The next morning, we packed up and headed down for breakfast. Andy claimed a waffle maker and made about 6 giant waffles for us, while we ate omelettes, sausages, cereal, hot chocolate, coffee, fruit, pastries and juice. Hampton Inn has to have one of THE best continental breakfasts I’ve ever seen.
First on our agenda after breakfast was the Bird Kingdom. A very cool place that was almost too much to take. The place was packed for Family Day, and we were glad that we made it the first stop of the day. The boys spent some time feeding the Lorikeets with Andy (Ezri tried, but the birds got a little too close for comfort). Noah got a few war wounds in the process, but they all had a great time regardless.
After that was lunch at the Flying Saucer Restaurant. Great food for a greasy spoon, and the kids loved the Alien themed menu, which was a mock-up of a newspaper detailing the origins of the restaurant.
After lunch we headed to the Butterfly Conservatory, only to find our directions were wrong. After a bit of an adventure getting there, and then eating ice cream at the Butterfly Cafe, we decided to forgo the actual conservatory (it was packed) and head straight to Niagara Glen, a network of trails that take you right down into the gorge. This was my favourite part of the trip, since it was free (always a plus), it was outdoors, and it was a real experience with the river and the gorge. The scenery was beautiful, and in several places, stone stairs had been set into the hills to facilitate the descent. The boys loved it too, since they could run to the edge of rocks that were perched perilously overhanging the trail, and give their mother a heart attack.
We almost made it down to the water, but I got a little too adult-like and didn’t want to take the kids down the last little part of the trail that went down to the water — especially since it was steeper than any part of the trail had been so far.
Back up at the top of the gorge, Ben and I searched for quite awhile for the “Face Carved In The Rock”, but couldn’t see it at all.
After this little expedition, we headed back to the van for the ride home, having had an amazing Mid-Winter Mini-Adventure!