Sunday, July 29, 2007

Live From Niagara... Almost

View from our hotel room
We were supposed to stay an extra day, but after yesterday's activities at the African Lion safari, we decided to come home since we were almost 1/2 way back anyway & because Niagara was expensive as Hell. Hence the "almost" from Niagara. I was planning to blog this morning, but I figured we'd still be in Canada. As it is, I'm in my back room watching the kids play Mario Kart. That said, the trip was fantastic. We arrive in Niagara Thursday afternoon & checked into the hotel from which we had a great view of the American Falls. Thurs. night, we drove around a bit to show the kids the area & then got dinner at an over-priced Italian place... the first of many over-priced meals this weekend. I took the kids swimming & then got to bed in order to rest up for the following day. On Fri., after an over-priced shit-ass breakfast buffet, we found a sweet, sweet day pass for 45 bucks a person that got us into 4 attractions plus allowed us to ride the bus all day long.
Attraction 1: The Maid of the Mist
I did this when I was my son's age & then again when I was 12, & I'm glad I got to take my kids on it now. My son was a bit scared as we got close to the falls, but he claims to have loved it & my daughter loved every second of it. She stood by the edge of the boat w/ my dad & had a great time. it was a bit cloudy Fri. morning & rained for a while, but as we were on a boat below the falls, we were getting wet anyway so it didn't really matter.

The Maid of the Mist

Attraction 2: Journey Behind the Falls
I did this w/ my ex when we passed through Niagara on our honeymoon, but I didn't remember it that well. An elevator takes you down into a series of tunnels behind the falls where you can watch the water fall from the inside. It's not as cool as it sounds though since all you can see is spray & mist... like being inside of a cloud. There's an observation deck next to the falls that's pretty cool though. Afterwards, we got another over-priced meal & had to wait in line behind some french Canadian 70s porn star. Why do so many French/Italian/Spanish dudes love the chest hair/gold chain/moustache look? I don't get it. The guy spent 10 minutes changing his order & discussing the options w/ his brother while we waited behind him for an order of veggie California rolls.

Observation deck at the bottom

Attraction 3: White Water Walk
After lunch, we took an elevator down down to the bottom of the gorge for a walk along the rapids. This s where, in Superman II, Lois jumps into the river to prove Clark is Superman. He is able to use his heat vision to burn a branch off of a tree which falls into the water & she grabs to get to safety w/o her seeing he did it & in turn protecting his secret identity. We didn't have any adventures like that, but it was fantastic none-the-less. The water there is 25 feet deep & moving at 25 mph before ending up in the whirlpool that send the river off at a 90 degree angle. It's insane... & absolutely beautiful. When we took the elevator back up, it emptied us in the gift shop, just like the elevators from the other 2 things we'd done. They definitely know how to run a tourist trap.

The rapids... obviously

Attraction 4: The Butterfly Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
This wa cool, but it obviously didn't have anything to do w/ the falls. It's an enormous indoor tropical butterfly garden surrounded by beautiful outdoor gardens & pathways. It was interesting, but my son didn't like the butterflies fluttering around his head. One landed on my mom, which was pretty cool. Overall, though, I don't think i'd do that again. It may have been cooler though, had we not already done 3 other things. We were dragging by that point. This then concluded the 4 inclusive attractions, but not the day as a whole, as I had promissed the kids a trip up the "Street of Fun." I'll write about that and the African Lion Safari later though, as I have to get ready for soccer now.

My mom & a butterfly

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