Category Archives: Nature

3 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Weekend in Niagara Parks

Sweater weather has officially arrived in Southern Ontario and the leaves on the trees that line our 56km stretch along the Niagara River are sprinkled with hints of orange, yellow and red. Whether you’re coming home to Niagara to spend time with family and friends or looking to plan a weekend escape, here are 3 ways to celebrate the Thanksgiving long weekend in Niagara Parks:

 

1. Leave the cooking to us
Spend more time relaxing this weekend and visit one of our five Feast On certified restaurants along the Niagara Parkway. Feast On, a criteria-based program from the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, recognizes businesses committed to showcasing Ontario’s unique taste of place. By dining with Niagara Parks Culinary, you help to support the many growers, producers and craftspeople that make up the province’s strong food and agricultural sectors.

On Sunday, October 9, enjoy brunch at the picturesque Queenston Heights Restaurant. Enjoy our seasonal menu while overlooking wine country and the winding Niagara River. Reservations are recommended. Call (905) 262-4274 to reserve your spot.

If you’re looking for a traditional turkey dinner with sides of Spy Apple Sage Stuffing, Yukon Mashed Potatoes, and Harvest Pumpkin Pie with Chantilly Cream, look to Elements on the Falls. Enjoy a prix-fixe Thanksgiving Dinner at the brink of Horseshoe Falls from October 8 to 10 and don’t miss the falls fireworks on Friday, Sunday and Monday evening at 10:00pm. Reservations recommended. Call (905) 354-3631 to reserve your table.

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2. Discover some fall colour
A harvest-themed display featuring pumpkins, gourds and other fall décor is now in place at the Floral Showhouse alongside the annual Reiger Begonia Show. Wander through rows of coleus, ferns, and tropicals before heading outside to view our Life on Display exhibit.

After checking out the harvest displays at the Floral Showhouse, head north along the Niagara Parkway to visit White Water Walk and our 100-year-old Whirlpool Aero Car. Stroll along the wooden boardwalk at the edge of the Niagara River at White Water Walk then soar over the whirlpool and enjoy a panoramic view of the gorge aboard the Whirlpool Aero Car. Check out these vantage points before it’s too late – both of these attractions close for the season on November 6.

Plan your adventure and learn more about our passes here.

 

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3. Reconnect with nature
Niagara Parks features 15km of hiking footpaths through six different nature areas, one 56-km paved Niagara River Recreation Trail, and also maintains a section of the Bruce Trail.

Explore the north end of the Niagara Parkway and hike the rugged trails that wind through the Niagara Glen. Located deep in the Niagara Gorge, stairways lead to 4km of rugged paths that wind through this pristine pocket of Carolinian Forest, past prehistoric geological formations, wild flora and fauna. The Niagara Glen overlooks the rapid teal-coloured waters of the Niagara River and the Niagara River Whirlpool.

Niagara Parks also offers superior cycling for all ages on our 53km Niagara River Recreation Trail. As part of larger trail systems that includes the Trans Canada Trail, the Waterfront Trail, the Greater Niagara Circle Route and the Greenbelt Route, the Niagara River Recreational Trail borders the winding Niagara River and is divided into four picturesque sections. Pack a picnic and stop at any of the look-out spots along the river for lunch.

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Experience the Metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly

 

The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is one of nature’s most astounding miracles with this metamorphosis taking place within the chrysalis over the period of just a few weeks. Considering the incredible changes happening, this time frame is impressive to be sure. However even the most avid butterfly enthusiasts likely do not have the time or patience to observe in person each stage of the process through to the breathtaking final emergence. This is what makes the upcoming workshops presented by Niagara Parks and the Monarch Teaching Network of Canada such a unique opportunity!

The above video shows the emergence process as the monarch begins pushing its way out of the chrysalis. Once free the insect transfers fluid from its abdomen to its wings, thus expanding them, the twisting you see also aids in this transfer of fluid. Along with its wings the monarch must also maneuver the two separate pieces of its tongue and join them as one. With these tasks complete the butterfly then spends time allowing the wings to dry and harden before it can take flight.

The two day interactive workshop on April 13 and 14 will allow participants to see the metamorphosis of the monarch at each and every stage of its transformation, and this is just the beginning! Attendees will leave with both the resources and knowledge to rear their very own monarchs at home, including butterfly cages, milkweed and a comprehensive how-to manual. Lunch is also included for participants.

Register Today!

6 things to do in Niagara Falls over March Break

 

March Break is fast approaching, and while the kids are excited to sleep in and leave the homework behind, parents may be looking for ideas to keep them entertained on their week-long break from school. For a fun-filled getaway close to home, Niagara Parks offers attractions for all ages. Whether you’re exploring the area as a day trip or want to stay for a night or two, here are 6 exciting things to do in Niagara Falls over March Break.

 

1. Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury, and the Butterfly Conservatory

If you have yet to take the kids to these classic Niagara Falls attractions, March Break is the perfect time to do it. The Wonder Pass makes it easy, providing admission into the three attractions plus two days of WEGO transportation (the hop-on hop-off bus system) and $100 in bonus coupons. The Wonder Pass provides great value, saving you over 55% on the attractions, making them affordable for families. Explore the tunnels behind the Horseshoe Falls, discover the story of the Falls with a 4D experience and moving platform, and visit the 2,000 beautiful butterflies in the indoor rainforest to shake off the cold.

 

2. We Are The Insects at the Butterfly Conservatory

Trade the cold weather for a visit to the magical rainforest at the Butterfly Conservatory. Until March 28, visitors to Niagara Parks can see the We Are The Insects exhibit in the Butterfly Conservatory – it’s included with regular admission or the Wonder Pass. This travelling exhibition is brought to Niagara by the Montreal Insectarium. Visitors can spot insects like the praying mantis, flower beetles, cockroaches, and scorpions plus learn why insects are important to our eco-system and how they adapt and thrive in different environments. For the science lover, there are hands-on workshops for adults and kids!

 

3. Spring Show at the Floral Showhouse

While you’re visiting the area, stop by the Floral Showhouse for a gorgeous display of orchids, succulents, and exotic tropical plants.  Spot tropical songbirds, meander the paths, and relax in the serene Artists Garden.  With eight shows per year, the Spring Show runs until Easter and may be a nice, peaceful stop for the nature-lovers in your family before continuing on to more lively Niagara Parks attractions.

 

4. St. Patrick’s Day Dining at Elements on the Falls

If you thought simply having a break from school was lucky, spend Thursday March 17 in Niagara Parks and make your March Break vacation even more exciting. Mom and Dad can indulge in the three course prix fixe menu at Elements on the Falls for $35 per person while the kids enjoy a bite and marvel at the view of the Horseshoe Falls. (The special menu includes shamrock salad, Guinness-braised corned beef brisket, and Irish Cream bundt cake!) For an added bonus, visit after dark to see the Falls illuminated green for Tourism Ireland’s “Global Greening” campaign on St. Patrick’s Day!

 

5. Matinees inside a National Historic Site

Ever imagine enjoying a movie where battles were once fought? Niagara Parks is presenting films inside Old Fort Erie for just $5 per person. Enjoy one of these kid-friendly favourites:

March 14 – Happy Feet, 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.

March 15 – SpongeBob SquarePants, 10 a.m.

March 15 – The Sandlot, 1 p.m.

March 16 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 10 a.m.

March 16 – The LEGO Movie, 1 p.m.

March 17 – Shaun the Sheep, 10 a.m.

March 17 – How to Train Your Dragon,1 p.m.

March 18 – Ice Age, 10 a.m.

March 18 – Ice Age: The Meltdown, 1 p.m.

 

6. Nature

Discover the beauty of nature during your March Break in Niagara Falls. Hiking is a fun way to get your exercise in and spend time with the family. From 4km of paths at the Niagara Glen to the 50km of trails from Old Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake, there are so many opportunities to get outside and feel refreshed. Visit the Botanical Gardens to admire the beautifully maintained gardens or Oakes Garden Theatre for a panoramic view of the Falls. For a bit of history mixed in with nature, Queenston Heights is home to Brock and Laura Secord Monuments plus tennis courts and a playground. Don’t miss Queen Victoria Park, the main greenspace beside the Falls, steps from Clifton Hill.

 

Remember, children under 5 years old are free at all Niagara Parks attractions! No matter how you choose to spend your March Break in Niagara Falls, the important part is that you’re spending quality time with your family (and maybe you’ll have a little bit of time left over for studies).

 

Amanda Stancati is a travel blogger at tripcentral.ca, a Canadian travel agency with more than 100 travel agents who specialize in the destinations you’re interesting in visiting. They can help you find Niagara hotels and day trips as well as vacation packages, cruises, tours, flights, and more.