World ? North America ? Canada ? Ontario ? Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls: Introduction

You simply cannot come this far and not see the falls, which are the seventh natural wonder of the world. The most exciting way to do that is from the decks of the Maid of the Mist, 5920 River Rd. (tel. 905/358-5781; www.maidofthemist.com). The sturdy boat takes you right in -- through the turbulent waters around the American Falls; past the Rock of Ages; and to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls, where 34.5 million imperial gallons of water tumble over the 54m-high (176-ft.) cataract each minute. You'll get wet, and your glasses will mist, but that won't detract from the thrill. Boats leave from the dock on the parkway just down from the Rainbow Bridge. Trips operate daily from mid-May to mid-October. Fares are C$14 (US$13/ţ6.30) for adults and C$8.60 (US$8.20/ţ3.90) for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under.

Go down under the falls using the elevator at Table Rock House, which drops you 46m (151 ft.) through solid rock to the tunnels and viewing portals of the Journey Behind the Falls (tel. 905/354-1551). You'll receive -- and appreciate -- a rain poncho. Admission is C$10 (US$9.50/ţ4.50) for adults, C$6 (US$5.70/ţ2.70) for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under.

You can ride the external glass-fronted elevators 159m (522 ft.) to the top of the Skylon Tower Observation Deck, 5200 Robinson St. (tel. 905/356-2651; www.skylon.com). The observation deck is open daily from 8am to midnight from June to Labour Day; hours vary in other seasons, so call ahead. Adults pay C$12 (US$11/ţ5.40), children 12 and under C$6 (US$5.70/ţ2.70).

For a different view of Niagara Falls, stop by the IMAX Theater, 6170 Buchanan Ave. (tel. 905/358-3611; www.imaxniagara.com). You can view the raging, swirling waters in Niagara: Miracles, Myths, and Magic, shown on a six-story-high screen. Admission is C$12 (US$11/ţ5.40) for adults and students, C$9.50 (US$9.05/ţ4.30) for seniors, C$8.50 (US$8.10/ţ3.85) for children 4 to 12. I consider this a lot of money to pay for a movie that is only 45 minutes long. Still, I'm an IMAX fan, and, I have to admit, the film looks great; also, if you see a second feature, it will cost only C$6 (US$5.70/ţ2.70) per person.

The falls are also exciting in winter, when the ice bridge and other formations are quite remarkable.

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