Just a few of our favourite things in Niagara Falls and beyond!
Even though autumn also means back to school, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the fun.
Autumn in Niagara is a beautiful time of year. The weather is mild, so it’s a great time to be outdoors and enjoying everything the area has to offer before winter settles in for another round.
Botanical Gardens Bloom In Autumn
There is much to see and enjoy at the Botanical Gardens in autumn. The almost 100 acres are filled with perennial gardens that are beautifully maintained and a joy to tour, kids in tow. Access to the gardens is free (parking is $5) and they are open year round, from dawn to dusk.
If the azaleas and herb gardens aren’t really your thing, the Botanical Gardens also house the Butterfly Conservatory, which is a great visit for kids and the not so young. 2000 tropical butterflies fly throughout the conservatory, and the optimum shot is when they land on your children’s heads, so keep the camera handy!
On a cooler autumn day, the tropical rainforest environment of the conservatory will be a welcome warm up, and it’s open daily except for Christmas Day.
Vineyard Tours Are In Full Swing
In fact, the Niagara Wine Festival takes places every year in autumn. You can go and do several tours and tastings, as well as take in concerts and parades, shop at artisanal shows, and taste some local cuisine. The festival is one big celebration of the year’s harvest and the bounty that it brings to the area, and one of the real pleasures of living in Southern Ontario.
There are over twenty vineyards just in the area around Niagara Falls—within about 20 minutes drive—so there are a lot of options for taking in a tour and learning about the effort that goes into how wine is made. It’s a fun experience for all ages, although Sherry and I prefer to do these tours sans kids.
TIP: The Ice House, which features ice wines and how they’re made, has become famous for their Ice Wine Slushies! A welcome cold drink when you’re touring, and they make a non-alcoholic version for the kids or non-drinkers.
Bike Riding From Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara And Back Again
The Greater Niagara Bike Circle is 140 kms of connected bike paths, including the Waterfront Trail, the Niagara River Recreation Trail, the Friendship Trail and the Welland Canals Parkway Trail. Mostly paved and safely separated from vehicular traffic, this is an ideal way to see the area and get a little exercise in the bargain.
To see the best parts of the Niagara River, spend your time on the paved 53 kms of the NIagara River Recreation Trail. It starts at Fort George, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and ends at the north end of Fort Erie, but in between is the most scenic route along the Canadian side of the river that you can ever hope for, with plenty of places to stop and take in the view and get in a few pictures too.
Much of the path is even although there are hills around Brock Monument to be aware of. I think you’ll want to make sure your kids know how to bike alongside traffic (although not in traffic!) if you’re going to bring them along.
A Little Dinosaur Adventure Mini Golf Anyone?
Cap off a trip to the area with a little fun for everyone in Clifton Hill. Even if spooky thrills and cheesy games aren’t your normal, you can enjoy the largest mini golf course in Canada! Who could say no to that?
It’s 70,000 square feet of playing space—two 18 hole courses—complete with over 50 life size, realistic looking dinosaurs, and an excellent digital sound system that pumps out jungle and nature sounds.
You’ll feel like you’re walking the earth from a hundred million years ago, with a 50 foot high volcano dominating the lush jungle landscape. My two sons absolutely love this mini golf course and, I admit, I don’t mind it myself, which is good since the boys insist we play minigolf as often as possible and Sherry never tires of the photo opps!
There are so many great attractions and sites to see in the Niagara Falls area that have nothing to do with the Falls themselves, so don’t miss out. Take a trip and see for yourself! We might see you on the bike path!