Thanks to the fascinating array of educational attractions found in Niagara Falls, taking a family vacation no longer gives your children free rein to shut off their brains. With a wide range of historical sites, museums and nature reserves, Niagara Falls enables parents to show their kids that education and entertainment are not opposing forces. Parents who want to stimulate their children’s brains won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit the following locations.
Niagara Botanical Gardens
You can help your children develop an appreciation for beautiful plant life with a visit to the Niagara Botanical Gardens. This Niagara Falls mainstay features 99 acres of lush gardens that house professionally-grown azaleas, perennials and rhododendrons. In addition, the park’s rose garden is home to over 2,000 masterfully-maintained roses. Fans of at-home gardening are sure to appreciate the park’s impressive vegetable and herb plantings.
No visit to the Niagara Botanical Gardens is complete without a trip to the park’s world-famous butterfly conservatory, where guests can interact with thousands of tropical butterflies. For a fun treat when your feet are worn out from exploring, you can book one of the park’s affordable horse and carriage tours.
Old Fort Niagara
As one of the oldest military bases in North America, Old Fort Niagara has quite a bit of history behind it. Established in 1678, the fort was originally established by the French as a military stronghold during the French and Indian War. Nearly 100 years later, the fort fell under British control following the famous Battle of Fort Niagara. The fort changed hands once again in 1815 when the Treaty of Paris gave it to the U.S. following the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War. Since 1963, Fort Niagara has been maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.
No longer an active base, Old Fort Niagara now functions as a highly informative military museum. To create an air of authenticity, the museum hosts reenactments with actors playing the roles of French soldiers and Iroquois tribesmen during the French and Indian War. In light of their stellar performances, you’re liable to feel as if you’ve just stepped out of a time machine. Reading about history in textbooks seldom elicits feelings of excitement, but seeing history come alive before their eyes is sure to leave your children eager to learn more.
Children who are fascinated by wildlife will never want to leave Safari Niagara. This privately-owned nature park is home to over 700 species of animal, bird and reptile, so no matter what type of wildlife your kids like to observe, Safari Niagara probably has some. Visitors interested in getting up-close and personal with certain animals will enjoy visiting the park’s extensive petting zoo. Guests can also fish to their heart’s content at Safari Niagara’s catch-and-release fishing pond.
When touring Safari Niagara, visitors have two convenient options. If your family is interested in getting some exercise, you can take advantage of one of the park’s free guided walking tours. Families who want to kick back and relax can take a guided tram tour of the park for a small fee.
Cave of the Winds
If your kids are clamoring for an up-close view of Niagara Falls, pay a visit to Cave of the Winds. This enormous cave is located directly behind the fallsand provides visitors with a breathtaking view of one of the world’s foremost natural wonders. You’ll be so close to the falls that you’re guaranteed to get wet, so make sure to have a few rain-slickers in tow. As the attraction’s official website points out, rainbows are frequently visible from the cave, providing both parents and children with fantastic photo opportunities.
Learning can be fun — a fact proven by the educational attractions found in Niagara Falls. Parents looking for the perfect educational vacation destination would do well to book a trip to the falls.