The children shrieked with delight as the catamaran approached the first set of falls. The gentle spray turned to a deluge and the flimsy, plastic, ponchos did little to keep them dry. With over 3,000 tons of water flowing over the falls each second, being so close is intense and powerful. It’s clear why Niagara Falls is one of the most visited attractions in the world. Be it adventurous families, honeymooners, or just those with wanderlust, Niagara Falls is one to check off of the bucket list.
The Niagara Falls are estimated to be 12,000 years old and were formed when the melted glacial water that created the Great Lakes sought an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. Erosion from the powerful Niagara River created three falls out of one. Interestingly, the falls have receded 7 miles due to an average erosion of three feet each year. It wasn’t until a dam was built in the 1950’s that the flow was controlled.
The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are located in the United States and the Horseshoe Falls are in Canada. The most spectacular views can be found from the Canadian side, so that is where we went. To experience the highlights with minimal effort on our part, we opted to take an organized tour of the falls and surrounding area. With a quick shuttle across the U.S.- Canadian border, and no passport stamp much to the dismay of my children, we hopped aboard the Hornblower Cruise. Be prepared to be herded through a seemingly endless line of frustrated tourists and also to get wet! The wait is worth it though, since a boat tour is the best way to get up close and personal with the falls. Months later, my children are still talking about it. This was an experience my family won’t soon forget.
A fun fact: The Niagara Falls have always attracted wacky thrill seekers. There are countless stories of attempts to ride barrels, boats, and even a jet ski (that guy died) over the falls. In 2012, world renowned aerialist Nik Wallende successfully walked a tightrope across the falls, from the U.S.A. to Canada. After 25 harrowing minutes of balancing on a two inch wire, he reached Canada and was immediately asked to present his passport. Jokingly, he told the waiting customs officials that he had forgotten it and would need to go back.
Click for more stories of Niagara Daredevils.