We spent a week in the Niagara Falls area of New York. The weather was hit and miss…a few days it was more like summer, but mostly it was cool, windy, and rainy.
Our RV park was only half an hour away from Buffalo…and since Jerl and the boys love wings so much…we had to have Buffalo Wings in Buffalo. We found Anchor Bar which claims to be the creator of the Buffalo chicken wings and we couldn’t pass up the chance to try the originals. I kind of wish we’d passed. The place was a dive and was super expensive. Our waitress…I’m pretty sure she was high on life (or something). My friend (hey Dawn!) suggested Duff’s Famous Wings. We gave them a try the next night. I didn’t get any photos…but it was a much better experience! The wings were great, the service was great and best of all…the place was clean!!
While we were in Buffalo, we took a small side trip to the Erie Basin Marina and Gardens so we could poke Erie Lake. We have to touch the water or I can’t put the sticker on our map.
I’m conflicted about the Junior Ranger book here. It’s the Niagara State Park, but there’s a National Park Junior Ranger booklet…but it’s for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. This is the first time in almost fifty badges that we’ve encounter a Junior Ranger booklet that required us to travel so far from the park and pay admission to several different places in order to complete the booklet. Sure, they give you the nifty lanyard…and they’re supposed to give you the pins as you visit the places (not every place gave us one)…but, this was the hardest, most involved booklet the boys have done. Now, having said my piece about all of that…the booklet pointed us to a few places we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Hence, the conflicted feelings…
Old Fort Niagara is a place you could easily spend an entire day exploring. We got there right before a storm blew in across Lake Ontario and toward the end of the day so we rushed our visit. The building above is the French Castle built in 1726.
Old Fort Niagara has a history that spans more than 300 years. The area was originally used by Native Americans. Most of the buildings are open and you can freely explore the grounds.
The site has been occupied by the French, British, and American forces through the years.
Old Fort Niagara was restored between 1926 and 1934. The rooms have been made to look like they might have during the time when Old Fort Niagara was in use. They fire off the canons and guns at certain times though out the day. Between the downpours of rain and the timing we missed it. We did hear it though. The boys just about came unglued the first time. They’d been chattering and joking around and when the canon fired they stopped and looked around. We chuckled. They chuckled…but continued to look around for threats. I wish I’d gotten a shot of all of their faces that first time.
We made our way to Lockport one afternoon to visit the Erie Canal Discovery Center. We shimmied in about half an hour before they closed.
There was a great little museum that explained the history, the building, and the local life of the Erie Canal.
Right across the street from the Discovery Center is the actual Erie Canal. We were able to walk up and down some of the locks and really get a good look at them.
We would have missed this place if it hadn’t been in the Junior Ranger booklet. The New York Power Vista is such a cool place!
When you walk in they issue you a Power Portal ID. You have to register it in their computer and then you head to the museum to earn points by completing tasks. When you’re done with everything you can print out your avatar and the amount of points (watts) you earned (generated).
Not everything earned you points. Some things were just for exploration and learning. We were geeking out here. We love experiments and places that let our inner nerd shine through.
Some of the displays were more high tech. The one above really made the boys problem solve and think out side the box while they put together everything they’d learned about electricity and circuits. I want to point out the adult lady watching Mr. Man. This wasn’t an easy activity. Several of the adults couldn’t figure it out.
The object of this exercise was to make a stable electrical grid. There were different pieces you could put on the digital table that would react with the other pieces as well as the environmental elements represented. Get it wrong and your grid blows up. Get it right and you get your points for this activity! We played with this one for a while. One of the coolest things about our nomadic lifestyle is the hands on learning. We don’t have to just read about things in books…
The New York Vista isn’t just a museum, it’s a working facility that produces clean energy.
Niagara Falls. Our first night in the area we went to see the falls lit up. It was our first time seeing the falls…and we were all extremely underwhelmed by the view. There were a few hundred people there all trying to cram into the one small area where you could actually see anything of the falls.
On our last day in the area we crossed the border into Ontario. We, of course, had to find a burger place. And I wanted to try poutine. We found a place called The Works. We were able to walk there from the American side of Niagara.
Guys, this place…it’s officially on our top ten. Everything we had was amazing. Everyone there was super nice. We’re already wanting to go back!!
I told you how underwhelmed we were with the view from the American side of Niagara…well, the view got incredibly better as we were walking across the bridge to the Canadian side of Niagara. The shot above is from the bridge.
All of my Canadian friends told me the view of the falls is better from the Canadian side. They were right. We’d walked over to Luna Island (that little smidge of land toward the right side of the picture above) a few days before. It was something all together different seeing it from the other side of the river.
There’s a wonderful park with nice walkways all along the river on the Canadian side of Niagara. This was our first good view of Horseshoe Falls. Each side of the river has their own touristy things. On the American side you’ve got The Maid of the Mist boats while on the Canadian side you’ve got The Hornblower boats. In the pic above you can see one of the Hornblower boats. The Maid of the Mist boats stop giving rides by 5PM but the Hornblower boats continue to give rides well after dark.
The rainbows changed shape, size, and number depending on where you were standing.
I know, I know…I usually save the flowers for the end…but I wanted to end with a surprise. These purple flowers were on both sides of the Niagara River. I couldn’t get enough of them!
There were some wildflowers here and there too on both sides of Niagara.
On the Canadian side you can walk right up to the side of Horseshoe Falls. The American side was under construction. We couldn’t get close at all.
Sometimes a picture doesn’t do it justice. We stood watching the water for a while. The water rushing by us so fast gave us a slight sense of vertigo.
We stopped in a Tim Horton’s while we waited for the sun to completely set. The temps dropped quickly outside so we welcomed the opportunity to get in out of the cold breeze and mist from the falls.
When it got closer to 10PM we made our way back to the Rainbow Bridge to watch the fireworks. We wanted to get out of the press of people and wanted to be a little farther away from the show so we could get some better pics.
There weren’t very many people on the bridge. We had our choice of places to stand…and the view was gorgeous!
We ooo-ed and ahhh-ed along with everyone else on the bridge.
Niagara Fireworks Finale
Because, who doesn’t love a good fireworks show?
See y’all down the road!