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Did You Know About the Island Paradise of Niagara Falls?

skyblog7.jpegWhen you think of the islands near Niagara Falls, most likely your first thought is of Goat Island, the small island located between Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls. However, there is another island paradise in the Niagara River, one that offers plenty of scenic beauty and a chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Dufferin Islands are a group of manmade islands located about 2 kilometers from Horseshoe Falls in the Niagara River. Here the river waters flow more slowly and gently than in the rapids leading up to the falls, creating a more serene and relaxing environment for enjoying the natural beauty of the area. If you’ll be spending some time around Niagara Falls, you wouldn’t be wasting your time exploring this fascinating area.

The History of the Dufferin Islands

The Dufferin Islands were the once the site of one of the Niagara Falls area’s first tourist attractions. Near the islands, back in the 1820s, a natural spring released a flammable gas. A local businessman found a way to cap the spring, and then release the gas and ignite it for paying tourists. The Burning Spring drew visitors for several decades, until work to improve the Ontario Power Company changed the shape of the islands forever.

Today, after nearly 100 years, the Dufferin Islands are a natural, forested 10-acre park, with well-maintained walking trails throughout. Small footbridges and suspension bridges connect the small islands of the park. While you could easily spend a few hours exploring the paths and enjoying a picnic or barbecue in one of the open fields or in the shade of a tree, there is much more to do on the Dufferin Islands.

A Natural Paradise

skyblog8.jpegIf you’re interested in bird watching or fishing, then the Dufferin Islands is the place to visit. Over the past decade, there has been a great effort toward naturalizing the area. Toward that effort, the parks commission has introduced fish to the waters surrounding the islands and created a catch-and-release fishing program that allows visitors to drop a line in the park. In addition, throughout the park you’ll find bird feeders and bird boxes designed to attract a wide variety of bird species.

One of the most popular features of the Dufferin Islands had nothing to do with fish and fowl, though. Each year, from November through January, the islands form the backdrop for the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights. For this favorite tradition of visitors and locals alike, the island is dotted with a number of animated light displays. While the displays do close some of the park for a time, the islands do remain open throughout the winter.

One of the major reasons that the Dufferin Islands are so popular with locals and visitors alike is the fact that it’s completely free. All you need are some comfortable walking shoes, a picnic lunch and maybe a fishing pole and you have everything you need to join the millions of other visitors to Niagara Falls who have discovered the wonder of this unspoiled island paradise.

Greg Frewin: Unparalleled Performer or Actual Magician?

skylineblog20.jpegBy now, we’re sure you’ve heard of one of the most amazing experiences in Niagara Falls that takes place inside the Greg Frewin Theatre. The world-renowned magic extravaganza performed by master magician Greg Frewin evinces wonder in adults and children alike. But, like most of his kind, Greg Frewin seems to keep most of the details of his life close to his chest, surrounding himself with an air of mystery that make his illusions even more spine-tinglingly amazing.

If you are one of those audience members who simply must know how each and every trick is performed, here’s some information to get you started. Greg Frewin has led an astounding life full of magic and worthy of awe. Learn some facts about him to astound your friends and family during your next stay in Niagara.

Small but Powerful Beginnings

Greg Frewin is a natural born Canadian, and he grew up not far from Niagara Falls in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It’s impossible to say what exactly got him interested in magic in the first place; perhaps it was a natural tendency toward the unknown or a particularly pushy uncle. Nevertheless, Greg Frewin practiced his art from a young age, perfecting the smallest illusions quickly and moving onto more and more complex acts that astounded and amazed his friends and family. Undoubtedly, his peers were so impressed by his fantastic talents that they couldn’t help but wonder about his supernatural abilities.

International Awards — From Skill or Supernatural Powers?

Not long into his career as a professional illusionist, Greg Frewin began raking in awards for his unbelievable stunts. It certainly was not long until Greg Frewin was dubbed the first-ever Magician of the Year by the Canadian Association of Magicians. He won first place in the stage competitions of a plethora of contests, including:

  • The International Brotherhood of Magicians
  • The Society of American Magicians
  • Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques (FISM) or The International Federation of Magic Societies

Later, upon establishing himself in Niagara as one of the top attractions — through talent or trickery, no one can say — Greg Frewin and his Greg Frewin Theatre became the Attraction of the Year, named by the Niagara Falls Misty competition. Greg Frewin is the only magician to date to have won so many competitions and accumulated such clout amongst the magical community. It’s clear that Greg Frewin possesses real abilities, but whether or not these abilities are natural or otherwise is difficult for any regular human to ascertain.

Current Performance — Judge for Yourself

skylineblog21.jpegThough there isn’t any evidence (yet!) Greg Frewin attended some magical school, it’s clear that he’s been devoted to the magical arts for most of his life. The only way for you to find out whether Greg Frewin is a certain sorcerer or practiced performer is to visit his theatre for yourself.

The show occurs nightly, so during your trip you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see (and re-see) the illusions to riddle out their inner workings. You’ll be treated to dinner as you feast your eyes on Greg Frewin’s magic, though the delicious food might just be a distraction to those hoping to pinpoint the source of the magician’s power.

Are you brave enough to experience the magic for yourself? Are you willing to believe?

Why Kids Love Birthdays in Niagara Falls

skylineblog10.jpegThere’s no ifs, ands or buts about it — birthdays are some of the most important days of the year, especially when you’re a kid. Every year is a major achievement for children, who have gained another year of real-world experience to help them learn and grow into active, happy adults. If you don’t celebrate your child appropriately on his or her birthday, it’s likely he or she won’t understand the significance of the day and their past year’s achievements.

If you are proud of your kid and want to show them, plan a big birthday celebration for them in Niagara Falls. Niagara is the most family-friendly vacation location you’ll find, with dozens of attractions perfect for grown-ups and growing bodies alike. Here are a few of the best places to organize your child’s next birthday to show them you really care.

Fallsview Indoor Water Park

Niagara’s premiere indoor water park is one of the most fun places in the area. Chock full of slides, pools and play areas to entertain even the most erratic of little minds, the water park has something for everyone. The park has extra special birthday packages to make organizing the trip easier and more fun for your kids as well as lighter on the wallet for you.

What’s more, if you are planning a smaller affair, your fabulous hotel has great deals on tickets to the park (not to mention discounts for little ones who are dining and sleeping in Niagara Falls) which is not even a stone’s throw away from your comfortable room or suite.

Marineland

Skylineblog11.jpegIf you think your child is a bit of a marine biologist — or perhaps he or she just loves animals of any shape — he or she would love a birthday organized at Niagara Falls’ world-renowned Marineland. This place is a combination amusement park and marine zoo, with tons of exhibits with whales, dolphins and other sea creatures as well as thrilling attractions for kids of all ages.

You can catch a show with trained dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions or jump on board the Sky Screamer to fly hundreds of feet in the air. There are even opportunities to get up-close and personal with the animals to learn about their diet and behavior! Birthday parties at Marineland are sure to impress.

Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill is last word in family fun. It is the hub of Niagara Falls attractions, and any visit to Niagara Falls is not complete without it. Clifton Hill boasts some of Niagara’s most prestigious attractions, like the gargantuan Niagara Skywheel and the must-see Dinosaur Adventure. Kids and adults alike will love the Canadian Midway, where perhaps hundreds of arcade games blink and beep with the promise of fantastic prizes.

It’s easy to spend a whole day and night just on Clifton Hill, exploring the myriad food options and partaking in the thrilling attractions. Birthday packages make planning simple, and they can be fully customized to fit your party as well as the preferences of your child.

Make sure your child knows how special he or she is. A trip to Niagara Falls is a treat for any occasion, but birthdays in Niagara are simply unforgettable.

Are You Wild Enough for Niagara’s White Water Walk?

skyblog5.jpegThere is no denying that the majestic waterfalls are the star of the show here in Niagara, and most visitors are eager to see the falls from every possible vantage point. While the public parks, boat cruises and behind the falls tours each offer their own unique perspectives, there is one more point of view you shouldn’t overlook: From the stretch of whitewater along the Great Gorge, the section of the Niagara River leading up to the falls.

Niagara’s White Water Walk, located about 4 kilometers north of Horseshoe Falls, on the WEGO bus route, is an opportunity to view the rushing water from a slightly less crowded and more natural setting than closer to town. Here, the water rushes past at about 48 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour) as it makes its way toward the falls. The extreme speed of the water, combined with the narrowness and depth of the Gorge, create some of the most intense rapids anywhere in North America.

Whirlpool Rapids, Whitewater and Waves

In eastern North America, whitewater rapids are measured on a scale on 1 to 6, with 1 describing fairly calm and flat water, and class 6 reserved for rapids that have high waves, steep drops and dangerous obstructions. In most cases, class 6 rapids are considered impassable — and the Whirlpool Rapids of the Niagara River along the White Water Walk are rated a class 6 at all times. At any given moment, the waves here are about 3-5 meters tall; after severe storms and in the early spring, the waves can be much higher.

What makes the Whirlpool Rapids unique is that the waves are not caused by the water rushing over rocks and boulders, like other rapids, In fact, experts believe that the river floor in this section of the Niagara is actually quite flat and smooth, thanks to the force of the water rushing past. Instead, the narrowing of the gorge causes the rapids: Here, the river narrows to just about 5 meters across, and the depth drops suddenly from 15 feet in the rapids to 61 meters at the falls. The result is rapids unlike any other in North America.

The water isn’t the only attraction here at the Whitewater Walk. From the boardwalk and observation areas, you can see the 410 million year history of the Niagara Gorge in the layers of rock on the walls.

Visiting White Water Walk

skyblog6.jpegThe easiest way to get to White Water Walk is to take the WEGO shuttle from your hotel. At the walk, you’ll take an elevator down to the boardwalk, which extends about 1,000 feet along the water. At two points along the boardwalk, you can take steps down to observation decks closer to the river. Unlike some of the other waterside experiences in Niagara, you can view the power of the river without wearing a raincoat or worrying about your camera; while you might feel a few drops of water here and there, it’s nothing like the constant mist of the tours behind the falls or the cruises to the base of the falls.

Visiting the White Water Walk offers another view of Niagara Falls, providing a glimpse of where the water begins its journey over the falls. It’s worth carving out a few hours of your itinerary to experience this natural wonder.

Why You Should Consider a Retro Honeymoon in Niagara Falls

Just a few generations ago, Niagara Falls was one of the top honeymoon destinations for couples all over the world. Modern couples might overlook the Niagara Falls region in favor of more exotic destinations, but the area still has plenty to offer for a couple who wants to combine outdoor adventure with romance, fine dining and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Niagara’s Honeymoon History

SkyBlog3.jpegLong before the luxury hotels and casinos, the waterparks and the wineries, Niagara Falls was a sleepy town that focused on the waterfalls. Locals touted the mists from the falls as a means to enhance romance — some even claimed that the mist had aphrodisiacal powers and increased the likelihood that a woman could get pregnant.

It wasn’t until the early 1800s when Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Jerome visited the area on his honeymoon after traveling all the way from New Orleans that it became fashionable to visit. The popularity only grew when Theodosia Burr, the daughter of US. Vice President Aaron Burr, visited the region after her marriage to Joseph Alston. From then on, Niagara Falls was the place for the most fashionable members of society to visit on a wedding trip. Burr and Alston visited the area after being invited by Joseph Brant, a political leader and chief of the Mohawk tribe; in many ways, her honeymoon was a political gesture as much as a romantic one. Regardless, when the trip was announced in the New York society pages, suddenly Niagara Falls was on the map as a posh honeymoon destination.

Honeymooners Today

skyblog4.jpegThese days, honeymooners have a wide array of romantic options when it comes to planning the ultimate romantic getaway. Of course, most hotels offer romance or honeymoon packages, complete with luxurious suites and add-ons like couple’s massages, wine and champagne, dinner vouchers and other experiences. Outside of the hotel, couples can enjoy a romantic sunset cruise with cocktails in the shadow of the falls, take in the view from Skylon Tower or explore the quaint streets and shops of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

However, the first stop for any newly betrothed couple should be the Niagara Falls Canada Convention and Visitors Bureau. Here, the happy couple can collect an official certificate, signed by the mayor of Niagara Falls, noting that they honeymooned in the area. Not only is the certificate a keepsake of your trip, it also entitles the bride to free admission at a number of area attractions. Visitors to the American side of the falls can collect a similar certificate from the visitors’ bureau there.

Of course, it’s possible to have both your wedding and your honeymoon in Niagara Falls, as several companies offer wedding packages that include officiants, photographers and more. Americans can be married on either side of the falls, but both the province of Ontario and the State of New York require couples who intend to be married to secure a marriage license at least 24 hours in advance of the ceremony. It’s best to work with a professional wedding planner to help you manage those details and ensure your wedding is recognized legally.

When it comes to romance, Niagara Falls has always been in fashion. If you’re looking for a place to get away for a few days after your wedding, consider coming here — you won’t be disappointed.

The Amazing Feats at Niagara Falls

Blog1pic.jpegEvery few years, we hear about yet another daredevil (or wannabe daredevil) who attempts to go over Niagara Falls in some unconventional manner. In most cases, they are stopped — it is illegal to attempt any type of stunt over the falls, with a maximum fine of $10,000 if you’re caught — but a few people have been successful, some as recently as a few years ago.

Nik Wallenda

In June 2012, Nik Wallenda, a descendant of the legendary Wallenda family of performers, crossed the entire 1,800 foot span of the Niagara gorge on a 5 centimeter tightrope. The stunt was televised for several million viewers, but it didn’t happen on a whim. Wallenda’s feat required extensive permits from both the Canadian and American governments, as well as an array of safety equipment to prevent a plunge to certain death in the event that things went wrong. Fortunately, nothing went awry, but the Niagara Park Commission announced that it would be years before any additional stunts are approved.

Annie Edson Taylor

More than 100 years before Nik Wallenda stunned audiences with his trick, Annie Edson Taylor became the first person on record to survive a trip over the falls. Taylor climbed into a pickle barrel with nothing more than a pillow, and then plunged over the precipice. She was rescued on the American side a few moments later with nothing more than a small cut on her head. However, the experience wasn’t entirely positive: Taylor spent the remaining 20 years of her life warning others against attempting the same feat.

Dave Munday

Skydiving instructor Dave Munday certainly didn’t heed Annie Edson Taylor’s warning: Munday holds the distinction of being brave (crazy?) enough to go over the falls twice. His first attempt was in 1985, when he made the trip in a silver and red metal barrel. Despite that stunt earning him a $1,500 fine, he was back it again in 1996. On the second trip, he made the plunge in a retrofitted diving bell. Unfortunately, the landing knocked him unconscious and he had to be rescued by the Maid of the Mist ferry full of visitors to Niagara Falls.

Jesse Sharp

Blogpic2Jesse Sharp had to know that his plan to go over Niagara Falls in a kayak without a helmet, life jacket or anything but a 3.6-meter kayak wasn’t particularly well-planned. Yet that’s exactly what he did in June 1990 — and as expected, he didn’t survive the trip. His kayak eventually resurfaced, but his body never did.

Visitors can learn more about both successful and not-so-successful trips over the falls at the Daredevil Museum of Niagara Falls, on the Canadian of the falls. At the museum, you can see photos and artifacts from various trips over the falls, including some of the contraptions that various daredevils have used in their attempts.

Stunts involving Niagara Falls are few and far between, especially given how common they were in the 1800s. Most of today’s visitors will not have the opportunity to see a wild stunt — which may be a good thing — but you can learn about them and imagine what it’s like through museums and exhibits around the area.

Where to Catch the Best Shows This Summer In Niagara

NFHorseshoeMC3Niagara Falls offers a city filled with arts and incredible live shows. Catch them at these great venues that have been home to Niagara’s art and theatre scene for years.

Greg Frewin Theatre: See master illusionist Greg Frewin take on the world of magic at one of his famous shows. His illusions will captivate you and the appearance of his tigers makes for an unforgettable experience. Sit back in your chair and be prepared for a show of a lifetime!

Shaw Festival: This modern theatre takes on classic plays right in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Grab a glass of wine before the show and get prepared to see some of Canada’s best performers hit the stage. The festival holds 10-12 plays annually, which gives you several opportunities to see some of your favourites!

Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show: Embrace the Canadian in you by visiting the Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show. The musical includes some of your favourite characters throughout Canada’s history and an evening full of laughter and fun. Enjoy a family style meal at Niagara Falls’ attraction of the year!

IMAX Theatre: Check out the adventurous films that play at the IMAX theatre for a memorable experience. See the falls in glorious IMAX during the Niagara: Miracles, Myth & Magic film that delves into the history of the waterfalls. Close to many of the other attractions and hotels means you won’t have to go far to catch this one.

For the art and show enthusiasts coming to Niagara Falls, put a stop at one of these locations on your itinerary!

Make Your Trip Budget Friendly with These Upcoming Events in Niagara

NFhistoryMuseumVisiting Niagara Falls for a vacation doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to have fun. The region offers tons of budget friendly events that are great for the entire family to enjoy.

Check out some of these upcoming events!

Free Yoga: Free yoga is running at 9:30 a.m. at Outlet Collection in Niagara for the rest of July. Those who would like to take part are encouraged to bring a mat and all their yoga supplies. The best part about yoga at the Outlet Collection is that you can go shopping right after the session has finished!

RCMP Officer Meet and Greet: Get a chance to meet a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer this summer at Table Rock Centre. Ask the officers questions and take pictures with the heroes of Canada!

Montebello Park Summer Concert Series: For the rest of summer enjoy free live music at Montebello Park in nearby St. Catharines. Grab your family, some chairs, snacks and enjoy music from your favourite local artists at the park.

Corvette, Classic and Hot Rod Show: Take advantage of free admission to this annual car show and check out some of your favourite classic and hot rod cars. Kids can stay busy playing in the Children’s Centre, which is filled with fun activities throughout the day.

@ The Museum Thursday Nights: The Niagara Falls History Museum is hosting events all throughout summer and September with free admission for the whole family. Activities include family craft-making, educational programs, free live music and art demonstrations.

If you need something to do this summer in Niagara Falls check out some of these upcoming events that include free admission and of course many memories!

How to Get Around Niagara Falls

WEGO2Niagara Falls has tons of attractions to offer but what are the best ways to get from point A to point B? It’s easy! From public transportation to bike rentals there are multiple ways you can get around in the city with little effort!

WEGO: The WEGO busses offer an easy option for tourists to visit the top attractions around the city. Visitors of the city can use this service year-round for a convenient option that has several routes running throughout the city and its most popular districts.

Car: If you want to get around the city using your car, Niagara Falls offers tons of parking options that are affordable and easily accessible. Most parking lots are in the middle of downtown, which allows you to be close to the action. Many of the attractions also have parking lots, including the casinos and hotels.

Walking: Walking around Niagara Falls is easy with most attractions located close to the Falls. If you’re looking for a scenic walk, the Niagara Parkway offers a close view of the Falls that is connected to many of the city’s main arteries including Clifton Hill. Many shopping centers, gift shops, dining options, casinos and attractions are just a short walk from the hotels.

Biking: The paved trails that surround the Falls allows visitors to indulge in a beautiful natural landscape while making it possible to travel to different attractions. This active option is great for summer vacations and bike rentals make it so you don’t have to bring your own with you. If you’re looking for a longer bike ride consider heading to Niagara-on-the-Lake and biking to a few of the closely clustered wineries in the area.

Cabs: If you need to get somewhere in a hurry and you don’t want to get behind the wheel, a cab is a great option. Here are a few taxicab phone numbers you can add to your phone in case you need a lift in a hurry:

Niagara Falls Taxi Ltd. – (905) 357-4000

50-Taxi – (905) 358-3232

Elite Taxi Ltd. – (905) 356-9990

Helicopter: If you’re looking for a unique option try going by helicopter! You won’t be able to get from point A to point B but this attraction Niagara Helicopters gives a fascinating view of the city from high above.

The city offers several transportation options that will get you where you need to go this summer so you can focus on having fun and not worrying about how you’ll be getting around.

Enjoy A Summer Waterpark and Room Package

WP_2With direct access to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark you won’t have to go far to have a fun filled day in Niagara Falls. The Waterpark Package offers an exciting adventure with your family to the largest indoor waterpark in North America.

Enjoy three acres of fun including 16 waterslides, a splash park, indoor and outdoor sun deck, play areas and delicious dining options. Stay at our luxurious hotel with amenities for the whole family and enjoy with a short walk to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark.

Waterpark Package Includes:

  • One of Two Nights Accommodations
  • Four Fallsview Indoor Waterpark Passes

Don’t let the fun stop there, with direct access to attractions at Falls Avenue Resort, its easy to enjoy Adventure City, Hershey Chocolate World and much more.

For dining options the hotel is linked to the Perkins Family Restaurant where you can grab breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant offers all sorts of food options that will satisfy the entire family. For adults looking to have fun, make your way to Casino Niagara just a few steps from the hotel. With 45 gaming tables, 1,700 slot machines and Yuk Yuk’s comedy club, your evening will be filled with entertainment.

The hotel strives itself on being a perfect location for the entire family to enjoy Niagara Falls. Kids Stay and Eat Free at Skyline Inn when you purchase an entrée. Choose from Planet Hollywood or Perkins Restaurant and the kid’s will receive their meal free of charge. After dinner make your way to the hotel lobby for Family Movie Night. Bring your pajamas, snacks and blankets and watch some of your favourite family classics on the big screen.

The perfect destination for the entire family and a package that won’t disappoint is all found at Skyline Inn. Make Niagara Falls your next family vacation for a fun filled getaway.