Over the summer we took a day trip to Niagara Falls. We went right before the 4th of July because usually any time after that the park is mobbed, no matter what day it is. After 9 years of working of there I thought I had it figured out, but we were wrong! It was still pretty crazy, even on a Wednesday afternoon!
The day trip had two parts, one because I really wanted to go back and see all my old co-workers and two because I figured Ada would really enjoy some of the activities there, since she loves the water so much!
We all took a half day from work and school, and left around noon. Usually the later in the day the crazier it gets, to take full advantage you should plan on getting into the Niagara Falls State Park right when it opens at 9am. Hit the majors like Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds right away!
Our first stop was the Niagara Falls USA Visitors Center, my old home! We spent a good hour there talking with everyone. I picked a good day because almost everyone was there and it was so nice to catch up again! It felt very weird to be in there again, to spend so much time somewhere and then just stop going one day is a strange feeling. Everything looked and felt the same except it wasn’t my desk anymore. I miss the team so much, but I couldn’t help feeling like I still made a good decision for my family to move on. It was so much fun promoting such an exciting destination for so many years, and to see it now and how far its come is exciting!
We left with cookies and cupcakes in hand (that kitchen was always stocked with goodies) and headed to the park. My plan was to try and do both the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds, then head somewhere for dinner. The lines were much longer then we expected and since it was nearing 2:30 by the time we headed out, we only had time for one thing. I chose the Cave of the Winds because it always has been my favorite thing!
The Maid of the Mist is a classic, its a famous stop that if you’ve never done it you should! But since we have, I decided the cave would be more fun for Ada. Of course she was tired of walking before we even got to the attraction, so she was piggy backing it early!
The line at the Cave of the Winds took us about 20 minutes to get sandals and then another 20 to get to the Elevators, (Tip: if you can, don’t stop to sit on the benches and put your sandals on, grab them and keep moving. There is usually time while you are standing in line to put that stuff on and you’ll get a jump on all those people who stopped).
Ada was a little hesitant at first about all that water. She stayed close by and when we got to the top she wanted nothing to do with it. I was so surprised that she was so nervous about it.
The very top of all the stairs is called the Hurricane Deck, we stepped to the side when we got to the top because we were in a lot of peoples way. I let her just stand by me and watch everyone for a few minutes and then all of a sudden she wanted to head in, and I mean ALL. THE. WAY. Something I wasn’t prepared to do and I didn’t really want to get that wet, but that’s the best part about having kids, they force you to do things sometimes that take even you out of your comfort zone! So we headed in and got wet, really wet, and it was SOOO much fun!
I love my little travel buddy so much! I’m so happy she was willing to step back, watch and then dive into something new. We had so much fun, even though it was literally the only thing we had time for.
I didn’t think the Trolley was that exciting, but she kept seeing the “Train” go by and wanted to ride it so bad, so we decided to take the “Train” back to our parking lot instead of walking. We had Discovery Passes, so it included rides on the Trolley all day, but its like $2 for a day pass if you didn’t have the full pass. Girlfriend was all kinds of tired after that, (she also missed nap time at school) so she was actually cool with sitting still for a little bit while we waited for the Trolley.
We had about a 4 minute car ride to the restaurant for dinner and she of course passed out! She never stays asleep once we arrive, so I carried her in with the hopes of her sleeping a little longer but that didn’t last. We went to dinner at Bella Vista Ristorante, inside the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. Its right on the waterfront and since it was only about 5:00pm it was still pretty empty. The view was incredible and the food is really good, lots of Italian dishes to chose from.
They do a lot of weddings there right on the waterfront, and have an amazing ball room that overlooks the water. After dinner, Ada gave me an insight into her future by pretending to be the “Wedding Girl” with daddy! At only 3 years old she has been to more weddings then I did at 20, so she knows what’s up! But I am not ready!
We had a super fun family day! Its always fun to be a tourist in your own backyard. The Niagara Falls State Park has so much to do, people tend to think that because there are only 4-5 attractions right there that its not enough to keep the family busy, but we spent one afternoon and did one attraction and dinner, it was more then enough for our family and we very easily could have come back and spent 2 or 3 days there trying to get everything in. Niagara Falls USA has so much to offer families, and with it being so close to my heart, I’ll be taking my family every year to remind us that we have a truly special gem right at our finger tips.