Category Archives: Nature

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, 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.


Niagara Parks Tagged Monarch Butterfly Reaches Mexico

The annual migration of the Monarch Butterfly from southern Canada and the Northern United States to Mexico is one of nature’s most profound and mysterious phenomena. The scientific community still hasn’t quite figured out how these tiny, fragile creatures complete such an intimidating journey and arrive at their overwintering locations, but each year millions arrive just the same.

While tagging Monarchs to track their migration has failed to answer how they chart their course, it has provided some remarkable examples of their journey. Each September, the Niagara Parks Majestic Monarchs event gives visitors the chance to tag a Monarch for themselves before they embark on their journey. Experts help attach tiny stickers to the wings of these incredible creatures, each with its own unique tracking number. Then, everyone gathers to watch as they’re released!

This past spring one of our tagged butterflies was found at the Rosario Monarch Reserve in Mexico, over 4,000 km away!

The first documented tagging and tracking of Monarchs began with Canadian zoologist Frederick Urquhart in 1937, but it was nearly 40 years later in 1975 that was finally able to discover their final destination, leading to the discovery of dozens of sites in Mexico.

One of Urquhart’s most notable discoveries was that while a single Monarch makes the entire trip from the north to the wintering locations, the return trip consists of several generations of Monarchs. The butterflies tagged each year at the Majestic Monarch event are in effect a “super generation” with a longer life cycle, allowing them to reach their wintering destination and mate.

During the “We Are the Insects” exhibit, on February 6 through March 28 at the Butterfly Conservatory, the Monarch Teacher Network of Canada will be offering two workshops, Amazing Monarchs, Amazing Kids and Make Your Garden Monarch Friendly. Do not miss this unique opportunity to learn about these incredible creatures with 90-minute, in-depth, hands-on seminars on February 20 and March 12. Click here for additional information and workshop registration.