Honestly, I can’t tell you how much we have been traveling lately, but I can tell you that if travel had a middle name lately it would be Dana, that’s right, me! We have been trekking up and down the East Coast over the last month, seeking out fun destinations, stops, lodging and attractions so why would this weekend be any different? As we left the warm tropical air of the Southern States and headed up East, wow was it frigid, but the fun was not going to stop! Our adventure today was leading us straight to the front steps and inside a fun Aquarium. This is my story of lavishly living travel out loud and my visit to the Aquarium of Niagara. Are you ready for shows that feature seals, penguins and much more, so very close to Niagara Falls?
It is only 22 bone-chilling degrees Fahrenheit today, the wind was brisk and just swept through anything you had on for warmth, so getting inside was a key part of staying warm. TheAquarium of Niagara is located at 701 Whirlpool Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14301. Make sure to program that address into your GPS so you are sure to find this fun family attraction that will offer a few hours of educational fun and entertainment to your family.
Having kids has really changed my sense of adventure because we are ALWAYS out and about and before I would be fine if I had a few down minutes! My boys are not about the shopping malls, rather they want to learn, see and experience and the Aquarium of Niagara delivers on all of this. This is a perfect few hour attraction that will provide not only a fun atmosphere but one where the kids might actually learn without realizing it!
There is a huge parking lot, with plenty of FREE parking, yes I said it, “FREE”. When you venture into the building, off the steps where you see me the admission booth is right there. We walked in and immediately began our tour. The building is circular and you will go around in a circle as you tour, which makes it virtually impossible to miss a path, a display, etc. Bathrooms are located on the bottom level, as is the gift shop.
The steps that lead upstairs are steeper for little kids, but there is also an elevator which can easily transport you up, which seemed to be the most used mode of transportation for those with strollers and children. At the top of the steps you will locate an observation deck, it was closed while were there, obviously there was a lot of snow(February). You can see outside all around the upstairs and it is beautiful, and I can only imagine that on a sunny day it must be gorgeous to look out and take photos.
Downstairs is where the glass-filled aquariums are most in number. The tanks have fish, eel, frogs, starfish, anemones, sharks, and more. There is an entire set up with mock sharks, named by species and even a wooden shark cage to stand in for photos. Kids will enjoy looking at the aquariums, even if they can not read the details, while adults will spend time reading and learning.
We never really knew what fish were in Lake Erie and after a summer of swimming there, I am guessing my boys are no longer going in the lake(lol), so much for educating the kids!
There is an open tank which has anemones, starfish and more in it, trellised with rocks and water, it is, “so cool” and “needed at school” said my one son. He stood there mesmerized for about 1/2 hour until I insisted he move on. Someone wanted to touch one of these and an employee told them, that they sting! I had no idea anemone could sting(sometimes you just wished you did not know things).
We were about to arrive at a true surprise, a show that was Sea World like in nature(no pun intended). As we ventured through the Aquarium, following it to the top, there were a lot of people around the railing and the aquarium was in the middle.
The show was about to begin. In the center of the Aquarium of Niagara building is a large aquarium. I don’t know how we did not notice it, but we had not been paying much attention to it, as we had been so very busy in the smaller tanks looking at everything, then suddenly there it was, an amazing show that captivates and entertains.
You can congregate around the top floor for shows that they offer frequently throughout the day as part of your paid admission. Initially when we ventured up, we just stopped where we were, thinking we had the best view, but we soon found out we needed to stand opposite the steps to actually see what was going on underneath. There is a stage where sea lions, and seals along with their instructors present a show. You can see from all over the round tank, however, the best view is opposite the stairs.
Once we got situated, I got some wonderful photos of seals and sea lions performing and learned a bit as well. The show is live, so anything could happen, as the trainers are working with their animals. The animals come out one at a time and perform and then are rewarded with their fish treats. The show we watched was about 15 minutes total, just enough to keep you entertained, and also just when a child’s attention span is about to peak, so perfect on the timing. Shows run all day, but they are with different animals, not just the seals and sea lion’s.
Here are a few fun facts we learned during the show:
- Sea lions have long front flippers and a rotating hip.
- Harbor Seals have excellent hearing, and use their rear flippers to move side to side.
- Harbor Seals actually bounce on land like a caterpillar and they are each unique with spotted coats.
As an added bonus, once we were done perusing the Aquarium of Niagara, there was a fun foot bridge that we traveled on to go and visit the Gorge.
The Gorge was closed during the winter but it is amazing to see during the summer. when you cross over the bridge, cars are below on a highway and of course my kids were waving and getting honked at, so lots of kid thrills to be had! We had a blast!
Would I recommend a visit to the Aquarium of Niagara? Yes, absolutely. If you are already in Niagara Falls, this is the perfect destination to really further accentuate the trip. Are you already parked at the Falls and enjoy walking? This is not more than a 1 mile or 11 minute walk and it is a sidewalk friendly area. You could easily maneuver from the falls to this destination and get it all in one day, no problem. Niagara Falls, USA has a lot of offer and this is a fun destination to add to your list.