life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, July 30, 2010

Niagara Falls Trip Report Part II

Saturday -- another very full day. we got out our passports and drove across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada. you can have a very full Niagara Falls experience without crossing the border, but visiting Canada was a very nice treat. we took a drive up the Niagara River to Lake Ontario -- past all the vineyards -- and visted Fort George. DBF is a history teacher and we love old forts. this one was different from what we've seen before, because it was a British fort (not an American fort), and key in the defense of Canada in the War of 1812.

on the way back to town we stopped scenic overlooks, the floral clock (it's a working clock made out of flowers, it's quite large and beautiful).

our next activity -- the whirlpool aero cars. there's a bend in the Niagara River, downriver from the falls, and a whirlpool forms in the bend. on the American side there's a scenic overlook, but on the Canadian side there are cable cars that actually take you over the river. we saw the whirlpool jet boats on the river and thought about taking a ride -- you can board from either the Canadian or American side -- but we ran out of time.

back in town, our next stop was the Skylon Tower. the observation deck offers incredible views of both sets of falls. in the base of the tower is an old-fashioned video arcade with many games, but we didn't have the time or interest to stay and play. there's also a theater offering a 3D/4D movie about the legends of the falls, etc.. DBF hasn't been to WDW since 1987 and didn't realize I'm a veteran of many 4D movies. he thought I'd be startled, but feeling my seat move and getting sprayed with water didn't phase me at all.

next we decided to see the falls. relied on the GPS in my phone, which got us a bit lost, but eventually found our way to the visitor's center above Horsehoe Falls. our luck changed at this point -- until now the weather had been sunny and hot, but that afternoon was cloudy with on-and-off showers. so we didn't get to see the rainbow in the mist over the Horseshoe Falls. sigh. we got tickets for Journey Under the Falls -- another plastic yellow rain poncho. this was a bit anticlimatic after Cave of the Winds, but still fun. you go down to a tunnel where you can walk out onto an observation deck and see the Horseshoe Falls up close and personal, and then you can take the tunnel behind the falls and look at the falls through portals. You WILL get wet, but not nearly as wet as when you visit Cave of the Winds.

next up, we drove over to Clifton Hill and road the Sky Wheel. it's a huge ferris wheel with incredible views of the city and the river.

Clifton Hill is a fun area -- haunted houses, the Ripley's Museum, video arcades. we briefly thought about eating at the Rainforest Cafe but decided to walk back to Fallsview and eat in Margaritaville instead. after all, I am a Parrotthead.

and the place lived up to expectations. the reason to eat here is atmosphere -- the tiki bar is open! tiki gods, torchlight, thatched-roof "huts". there's a seaplane hanging from the ceiling (Jimmy Buffett pilots a seaplane for his own enjoyment when he's not singing on tour). and there's a huge blender near the main video screen and a huge bottle of tequila hanging from the ceiling. there was live music -- it was Saturday night after all. but when the performer went on break, the loudspeakers suddenly blairs the familiar sounds of "Margaritaville" as the tequila bottle was lowered from the ceiling and the blender began to fill. it's a real singalong. and yes, I did have my cheeseburger in paradise.


The Rainbow Bridge:

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An interesting prisoner:

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