Niagara Falls is one of the more popular places to visit in Ontario, and it’s no wonder why – it’s one of the most famous waterfalls in the world! The Falls themselves are undeniably the big attraction, but after you’ve viewed the waterfalls, there are plenty of other things to do in Niagara Falls with kids.
From tourist attractions to historical sites to the many parks and trails in the area, as well as free things to do in the city and nearby in the Niagara region, there’s something for everyone in the family.
Whether you’re staying for a few days or just crossing the border to see the falls from the Canadian side, here are some of the best things to do in Niagara Falls with kids.
Fun Facts about Niagara Falls
- Niagara Falls is actually a group of three waterfalls on the border between Canada and the United States. The largest of the waterfalls is Horseshoe Falls, which is also known as the Canadian Falls and it’s the most powerful waterfall in North America.
- Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls are the other two waterfalls, which are in Niagara Falls State Park in the United States.
- At the end of the last ice age, the melting glaciers created the Great Lakes and the Niagara Escarpment. The Niagara River connects two of these Great Lakes and where the river passes over the Niagara Escarpment, it becomes the waterfalls that are known as Niagara Falls.
- Niagara Falls is often said to be the 8th Wonder of the World and while it isn’t officially, it has been declared one of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America.
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Best Things to Do in Niagara Falls with Kids
Many of the attractions in Niagara Falls Canada are located in and around the Fallsview Tourist area, if not at the Falls themselves. At the Falls, the Table Rock Welcome Centre has plenty of information tickets for many attractions and tours can be purchased here.
See the Falls
No trip to Niagara is complete without seeing the main attraction! During the day, the falls are an impressive sight to see, but be sure to visit at night too – they’re illuminated every single night of the year.
There’s also a spectacular fireworks display every night from mid-May to mid-October.
Journey Behind the Falls
Want to get a little closer to the Falls?
Put on a yellow poncho and head down an elevator to “journey behind the falls”.
View the falls from behind at two different portals and then head out to the observation decks at the foot of the falls where you’ll get an up-close view of the falls.
It’s definitely an impressive experience but be warned – you will get wet!
Whirlpool Aero Car
While the Falls are the main attraction, the Niagara Whirlpool and Rapids are just as impressive.
One of the best ways to see the whirlpool, which is the world’s largest whirlpool, is to take the Whirlpool Aero Car.
The antique cable car takes you 3,500 feet above the Niagara Gorge, where you’ll have incredible views of the Niagara Whirlpool and rapids below.
Explore Clifton Hill
Only a block from the falls, Clifton Hill is the street where you’ll find many of the tourist attractions in Niagara Falls.
With plenty of restaurants, fun houses, arcades, wax museums, haunted houses and the huge Niagara Skywheel, it’s a must-see for families who are looking to experience some of the most popular things to do in Niagara Falls with kids.
You’ll also find Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the Great Canadian Midway. Prices for attractions, including the Clifton Hill Fun Pass, can be found here.
Ride the Niagara Skywheel
One of the popular attractions on Clifton Hill is the Niagara Skywheel.
Climate controlled gondolas take you 175 feet above the falls for a spectacular view, day or night!
Rides last from 8 to 12 minutes and give some fantastic views of the falls and surrounding area.
Here you’ll have incredible views of both side of the falls, as well as the skylines of Buffalo and Toronto.
Ride to the top and take in the view from the Observation Deck or visit the Revolving Dining Room for a unique dining experience.
Visit the Hershey Store
If you’re a fan of chocolate, you need to visit the Hershey Store! There are plenty of options on offer from fudge and chocolates to stuffed hershey kisses and other merchandise.
Featuring over 2,000 butterflies, the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is one of the largest glass-enclosed butterfly conservatories in North America.
Wander through the pathways surrounded by tropical plants and watch the butterflies feed on the flowers and feeding trays. It’s one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls with kids!
Bird Kingdom is home to hundreds of tropical birds, including parrots and flamingos but you’ll also find bats, owls, turtles, frogs and even snakes.
Wander along the path that takes you from the top level of the rainforest, behind a waterfall and down to the jungle floor.
Kids will love to stop and feed the lorikeet birds, which is included in the admission price.
Drive the Niagara Parkway
The Niagara Parkway is a scenic drive that follows the Niagara River for 55km, from Fort Erie to the quaint town Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Along the way, you’ll pass Niagara Falls and all the activities there, the Whirlpool Aero Car, Botanical Gardens and the Butterfly Conservatory.
It’s a pretty drive and a great way to visit all the family attractions in Niagara Falls Canada.
Visit the Floral Showhouse
Just a short walk from the Falls, the Floral Showhouse is a wonderful place to visit year-round.
In the summer, the gardens make for a great place to wander or take a break from the busy activities around the Falls.
In the winter, the indoor Showhouse is an excellent spot to warm up and enjoy the floral shows that change with the seasons. Prices and hours can be found here.
White Water Walk
Walk along the boardwalk and see the whitewater rapids up close. There are several viewing platforms off the boardwalk that allow you to get a little closer to the edge of the river.
The White Water Walk is 4km from the Falls, but it’s on the WEGO bus route or there is free parking available if you are driving.
Take a Helicopter Tour
See the Falls from above on a helicopter tour!
Fly above the falls as well as the whirlpool and rapids, see the Rainbow Bridge, Skylon Tower and other spots in Niagara Falls. On a clear day, you can even see the Toronto skyline!
Ride the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour
Another fun way to experience Niagara River is to take the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour.
Zip through the Niagara Gorge and experience the Niagara Whirlpool and rapids on this 45 minute tour.
There are two different tours available – one you will stay dry while the other you will get completely soaked, although splash gear is provided, a change of clothes is recommended.
Kids must be at least 40” tall to participate on the Dry Tour, and 44” for the Wet Jet tour.
There’s plenty of other tours in Niagara Falls too!
Things to Do in Niagara Falls with Kids: Parks and Trails
Queen Victoria Park
A great spot to view Niagara Falls, Queen Victoria Park is also a great place to rest and take a break. Wander through the rose garden or relax on one of the benches.
Thousands of flowers bloom in the park throughout the year and in the winter, you’ll find a Winter Wonderland during the Winter Festival of Lights.
Located on the Niagara Parkway just a short drive from the Falls, these beautiful gardens are a great way to take a break from the busy-ness of the Falls area.
The gardens are almost 90 years old and the rose garden is one of North America’s largest. The Botanical Gardens are free to visit but there is a fee to park.
Niagara River Recreation Trail
This paved path stretches for 53km along the Canadian side of the Niagara River, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie.
It’s a great trail to cycle, jog or walk and distances are marked every half kilometre.
For those interested in the history of the area, there are over 100 monuments and plaques along the trail.
If you enjoy hiking, the Niagara Glen is not to be missed.
Deep in the Niagara Gorge, there are 4km of trails and paths that wind through forest and overlook the Niagara Whirlpool and rapids. The colour of the water is unbelievable!
**Proper footwear is necessary for this trail!
Dufferin Islands are a set of small islands that are connected by bridges and walkways.
It’s a popular picnic spot in the summer months and in the winter, Dufferin Islands is home to the Winter Festival of Lights where animated light displays are placed around the islands.
Admission is free; metered parking is available, although you can also walk from the Falls.
Things to Do Near Niagara Falls
The site of a famous battle during the War of 1812, Queenston heights played an important role throughout the war.
The Brock Monument and Laura Secord Monument are found here, as well as hiking trails, picnic areas and a kids splash pad.
This is also where you’ll find the start of the Bruce Trail, which is more than 900km and runs from Niagara to Tobermory along the Niagara Escarpment.
This quaint town is a short drive from Niagara Falls and offers a completely different experience than the Falls.
Stroll the downtown area, shop in boutique stores, try some olive oil tasting, stop for ice cream at Cows or have high tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel.
There’s also Queen’s Royal Park by the water where you’ll find a small beach for plenty of family fun, as well as canoe and kayak rentals.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is also known for its wineries – as is the whole Niagara region – so be sure to take a drive and visit a winery.
Many wineries offer kid-friendly tours, although they can only view, not participate in the tasting!
A list of local wineries and breweries can be found here.
The Niagara Wine Festival occurs in the fall and there are plenty of tours, tastings, concerts and other events.
If you’re visiting in January, the Niagara Icewine Festival is one of the best things to do in Southern Ontario in the Winter.
For those that want to get some shopping in, the Outlet Collection at Niagara is Canada’s largest open-air outlet mall, with more than 100 stores and restaurants. There is plenty of free parking.
Where to Stay in Niagara Falls
There are plenty of options for accommodations in Niagara Falls, and most are only a short walk from the falls and the attractions downtown.
One of the best places to stay is Sheraton Fallsview Hotel, which is a family-friendly hotel with great views of the falls.
It’s connected to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, which has 16 different waterslides, a huge wave pool and a splash area for young kids.
Day passes to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark can also be purchased separately if you are staying at another accommodation.
Niagara Falls has a ton of hotels, and most are very close to the main attractions.
How to Get to Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is 1.5 hours by car from Toronto and 30 minutes from Buffalo, New York.
From the U.S., take I-190N and cross into Canada via the Rainbow Bridge. Passports will be required to enter Canada.
From Toronto, it’s an easy drive along the shores of Lake Ontario. Take the QEW South and then follow the signs to Niagara Falls.
GO Transit also offers service to Niagara Falls from Toronto daily in the summer, and weekdays throughout the rest of the year. Details can be found here.
In Niagara Falls, the WEGO bus connects accommodations to tourist areas. Fares, routes and schedules can be found here.
FAQ’s: Visiting Niagara Falls, Ontario
When’s the best month to visit Niagara Falls?
While you can visit anytime of the year, summer is the best time to visit Niagara Falls.
In June, the weather will be warm and there won’t be the crowds of people like there will be in July and August.
September is also a good month to visit, although it will be cool in the evenings.
During the summer, there are fireworks displays nightly from mid-May to mid-October.
How long should I spend in Niagara Falls?
There are enough things to do in Niagara Falls with kids, that you could easily spend two to three days just exploring the main attractions.
But if you have more time to spend in the area, you could easily spend a few days to a week exploring Niagara Falls as well as the Niagara region.
Or venture a little further and explore Hamilton, the Waterfall Capital of the World. Hamilton is only 40 minutes from Niagara Falls.
For more ideas on family travel in Ontario, be sure to check out these posts: