Having wheelchair accessible issues? There is no reason to miss one of the most truly awesome sights in Canada!
One of the great things about living in Southern Ontario is the range of amazing places to visit and day trip, just an hour or two away from home.
Niagara Falls is one of these places and if you haven’t been, it’s worth a trip! If you’re lucky enough live in around Niagara, even better.
The rush and roar of the 6 million cubic feet of water cresting the Falls every minute is a sight to see. That’s about a million bathtubs of water, every minute, if you need a point of reference. The visiting centre is certainly wheelchair accessible, but if you live near the falls, I’m betting that you’ve been there a hundred times before (although it’s true that it never gets old!)
Luckily, in addition to the Falls themselves, there are a lot of things to see and do that are wheelchair accessible in the Niagara Region.
On The Way To The Falls, Stop In At The Royal Botanical Gardens In Burlington.
The indoor displays are open year-round and there are ongoing educational programs and special events for the kids that adults will find fascinating too. Speakers, concerts in the gardens and more are all part of your admission!
The outside displays and paths open in late April or early May, depending on the weather.
Once the growing season is in full swing, kids of all ages will really enjoy both the scented garden and veggie village. There’s even a cafe for a little refreshment along the way.
Both the grounds and indoor areas are wheelchair accessible and the RBG’s policy on accessibility extends so far as to provide complimentary wheelchairs, if you need one. After all, the grounds are fairly extensive and it’s definitely possible to underestimate how much walking you’re going to be doing.
Float Around The Butterfly Conservatory
Located in the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, the Butterfly Conservatory is a gorgeous winged adventure. Over 2000 tropical butterflies call this place home, ranging over 45 species.
As you go along the paved pathways of the rainforest-like conservatory, butterflies will flit and fly overhead, sometimes landing on you, obviously deciding that you make a good resting spot. Make sure you have your camera handy…
Just as a point of interest, the Butterfly Conservatory won the 2007 March of Dimes “Breaking the Barrier” Award for Accessibility. It’s a point of pride for the Niagara Parks system to try and make their spaces accessible to one and all, so everyone can enjoy these tremendous sites.
If you like all things winged, the Bird Kingdom is another fully accessible and awesome spot to visit. The birds are free flying in this expansive indoor location, with several aviaries to explore, including parrots and exotic animals and reptiles. Plan to spend a good hour or more touring the various sections and get ready to feed the Rainbow Lorikeets! (My kids loved them and didn’t want to leave.)
Get Close To Rapids Without Getting (Too) Wet
Class 6 rapids aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, at least in a boat, but you can experience the rush and roar of the water up close and personal at the White Water Walk. The boardwalk that takes visitors along the water’s edge is accessible by elevator, though there are two lower viewing decks that are only accessible via stairs. Nonetheless, the main walkway is spectacular and worth a stop.
The last time we were there my wife took my sons to the lower decks, but I was happy to remain dry (ish) on the main walkway.
The Hornblower Niagara Cruises are a great -wheelchair accessible- way to see the Falls from down below them! The state of the art and fully accessible catamaran cruisers take you as close to the thunder of the Falls as you can get without going for a swim!
You’ll get there along the Niagara River, past the American Falls and right into the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. With daytime, evening and dinner cruises available, there are a myriad of ways you can enjoy this spectacular experience.
One note: The cruises don’t actually rent wheelchairs so if you need one, make sure you bring your own.
Sip Some Wine At Jordan Station
After all that adventure, you may need a quiet drink!
Niagara’s wine country, and the escarpment that makes it possible to grow excellent grapes, is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
The escarpment also makes the Falls possible, so the wonder of this world is all interrelated.
As you leave the Niagara Falls area, make time to stop and take in the sight of a beautiful winery, such as Harbour Estates Winery. The estate permits self-guided tours through the vineyards, with a view of Jordan Harbour.
NOTE: The website says that the self-guided tour may be tough if you have a manual wheelchair, so keep this in mind.
As they say: “Come for the wine… Stay for the view.” That’s a great motto: visit them, sample some excellent VQA Cabernet Sauvignon and then tour the grounds a little. A perfect end to a day of tripping.
Do you have favourite places to see and things to do in the Niagara Area? Share them with us! We’d love to add to our list!
To read out blog on wheelchair day trips in Hamilton, continue here
For a list my favourite wheelchair accessible restaurants in Hamilton, continue here
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