Ice, water and family fun in Niagara Falls, Ont.
NO MATTER THE SEASON, the Horseshoe ( right), American and Bridal Veil falls are the attraction in the city named after the world-famous water features. But winter ups the awe-factor ante. Spray from the falls transforms lamp posts, trees and buildings along the adjacent Niagara Parkway into ice sculptures. Experience the natural art gallery with a stroll from the Floral Showhouse (home to collections of orchids, succulents and other tropical plants), past the Table Rock Welcome Centre (next to Horseshoe Falls and home to interpretive attractions that get you even closer to the raging water) to Rainbow Bridge. That route and other nearby streets are also home to the city’s Winter Festival of Lights. Between dusk and midnight from mid-november to the end of January, millions of tree and ground lights and more than 125 animated light displays create a sparkling spectacle amid the icy mist. niagaraparks.com, niagarafallstourism.com, wfol.com
IF THERE WERE such a thing as five-star resorts for kids, the Great Wolf Lodge would fit the bill. There are 14 of these ultimate hotel-meetsindoor waterpark mashups in North America, but just one Canadian location, in Niagara Falls ( left). True to its name, the resort plays up the lodge theme with natural decor, from a grand faux-stone fireplace and animated wildlife in the lobby (including wolves, bears and a big talking tree) to rustic log furnishings in the rooms. Of course, the waterpark is the real draw. It boasts nine waterslides (geared for a range of ages and adrenaline rushes), a wave pool, a lazy river, a kiddie pool and slides, and more. If the water doesn’t wear out your wee ones, there’s a variety of other kid-friendly activities on offer daily, from arts and crafts to a PJ dance party. greatwolflodge.com/niagara
KIDS OF ALL AGES can’t help but find fun in the Clifton Hill area, the touristy promenade near the centre of town, home to fun museums, waxworks and arcades. Get a bird’s-eye view of the action (as well as the falls and the surrounding area) from the Niagara Skywheel ( right), a 53.3-metre-high ferris wheel with enclosed and heated eight-passenger cars about halfway up the hill. Take selfies with your favourite celebs at Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks and Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars, learn about the world’s weirdest and wackiest at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Guinness World Records museums, and test your fearlessness at The House of Frankenstein. Chocolate lovers shouldn’t miss Hershey’s Chocolate World, a not-far-enough-to-burncalories walk around the corner on Falls Avenue that offers up packaged and freshmade treats from the famed candy maker. cliftonhill.com, ripleys.com/niagarafalls, houseoffrankenstein.ca, hersheyschocolateworldniagarafalls.com