Gallons and gallons of icy water may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a winter weekend trip – but whether you are traveling from nearby Toronto or Buffalo, there many compelling reasons why you should visit Niagara Falls this winter. Below are our top four favourites:
- An icy, crystal wonderland: The Falls are majestic any time of the year, but it is in winter that they REALLY shine. Though rare, there is the possibility of the falls partially freezing over, but also the spray covers everything nearby in a thin sheet of ice – trees, lights posts, handrails, even the most everyday objects become encased in crystals. For a really great view, go ice skating at the TD Rink at the Brink, right by the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. Located near the Table Rock Welcome Centre, the rink is open daily from December 21 to February 1st 12-10pm. Admission is $7, skate rentals $5.
- Get away from the crowds: Most tourists venture to Niagara Falls in the summer, so the winter is a great time to go to get a more up-close experience. No need try to squeeze your way through a crowd of people in order to catch a glimpse of the falls at any look-out. No huge line-ups at every attraction. No need to wait too long at restaurants or follow lines around the store at souvenir shops. There will be visitors, no doubt about it, but not nearly as many as during the summer months.
- Catch the bright lights: the falls are illuminated year-round, but the lights are most noticeable in winter, since the sun goes down earlier, and also because any ice or snow will reflect the lights even further. During the Winter Festival of Lights not only are the falls illuminated but there are a number of other light displays around the area as well. There are also fireworks at 9pm on Fridays in December and January, and nightly from Saturday December 21 to Saturday December 28 (except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
- Get tropical: Bring your bathing suit, because Niagara Falls also has three indoor water-parks on the Canadian side: Great Wolf Lodge, Fallsview Indoor Waterpark and Americana’s Waves Indoor Waterpark. Each has it’s own affiliated accommodations. Of the three, Fallsview is the largest (at 125,000 square feet), Americana is the smallest (at only 25,000 square feet), and Great-Wolf Lodge is the best known (and it spans over 100,000 square feet). And when you’re done swimming and splashing, visit the tropical rain forest at the nearby Bird Kingdom.
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