Falling for Niagara

As torrential downpours seemed to be sweeping the nation, I was not about to sit back and let weather.com’s dreary forecasts rule out every spring break vacation I could come up with.  In a desperate effort to avoid an undesirable “staycation,” I found Canada pulling through for me yet again.  An exceptionally abnormal forecast of 65 and sunny led me and my dad to Toronto two days later.  Crisis averted.
We spent the first day walking around the city (more on that in a future post), and drove an hour to Niagara Falls the second day.    
And what a beautiful day it was.
Seriously, though, we were so lucky.  Flowers were blooming, birds were chirping, water was…falling.
I looked last week, and the weather at the Falls was a consistent 36 degrees with chances for snow… which explains why, in the middle of March, most of the big attractions were:
 
And even though all of the super cool, touristy stuff was closed, like the Maid of the Mist boat tours that take you up close and personal and the jet boat tours that take you through the rapids, we still had plenty to do… well, kind of.  But the biggest perks of going in the off season were discounts and ZERO crowds.  And you know what that means… No people in my scenic pictures!  I love nothing more.  
One of the coolest things we did was a tour “behind the Falls.”  If you really want to get a feeling for the power of the 17.25 million gallons of water that pour over the ledge every minute (34.5 million per minute in the summer), this is a must-see. 
We took an elevator down to that round platform you can see in the above picture to find this lovely panorama:
Isn’t it fascinating that in the dead of winter, this all freezes over?
There are also tunnels that lead to little openings right behind the water where you can get an outrageous understanding of the Falls’ power.   
(My first blog video… awww!  Also, no need to watch much of this.)
After lunch, we took an elevator ride to the top of the Skylon Tower, which you can see in the picture below, to get a bird’s-eye view of the area from 800 feet above the pool.  
This tourist trap offers you a tempting combo deal:  the view, obviously worth it, and the “Legend of the Falls 4D Movie.”  If you take anything away from this blog, ever, it’s this:  When visiting Niagara Falls, STAY FAR, FAR AWAY FROM 4D MOVIES.  I was skeptical to begin with, but my dad was unpleasantly excited about it, and we had a lot of time to kill.  Unfortunately, it was the equivalent of putting $16 in the toilet, flushing and then watching, through tacky, ill-fitting glasses, your precious money swirl on down the drain for 20 minutes.  I could have eaten at Chipotle two and a half times with that money.  The only thing that kept us from falling asleep was the random and unnecessary shakes of our chairs and awkward moments when our faces were doused with water.     
After the “movie,” if you can even call it that, we still had six hours to kill before the light show began that evening.
So, we made our way over to a cheesy little area full of even more tourist traps to choose from.  
Oh, hey, King Kong!  Looking goood.

This part of town offered a very wide variety of wax museums and souvenir shops.  Needless to say, we kept our money and kept on walking, still feeling slightly bitter about the first trick we fell for. 
But if given the opportunity, I would recommend the view from the Canadian side.  I’m not sure how much you can honestly see from the American side… and they definitely don’t have any 4D movies or wax museums of infamous outlaws over there.
Seeing first-hand how forceful the water is, it absolutely blows my mind that people have gone over the Falls and survived. 
After becoming time-killing pros, the lights finally came on and our last perspective was to be had.
My pictures hardly do it justice, but the lights on the water were so captivating.  As I snapped picture after picture, I couldn’t help feel so incredibly small and insignificant.  Don’t panic!  I have great self-esteem.  Niagara Falls is just that mighty.
And, at last, Niagara Falls has been scratched off my  Traveling List of Buckets.