A visit to Niagara Falls, USA is an incredible educational experience; Niagara Falls offers an abundance of history, a stunning natural landscape, hands-on science exploration and many opportunities for physical exercise and exploration. Keep reading to find out why Niagara Falls USA should be your next educational travel destination!
Thank you to Niagara Falls, USA for hosting me on this amazing adventure! As always, all opinions are my own 🙂
*Affiliate links ahead…Don’t worry, I’ll use the money for something practical, like wine…. or a pony!
The beauty of Niagara Falls is nothing short of majestic. Straddling the international border between the USA & Canada, Niagara Falls attracts 30 million visitors every year.
A visit to Niagara Falls will inspire a sense of awe and wonder in your children that will be hard to match anywhere else.
Not only are the Falls a bucket-list destination; a trip to the Falls offers years of history, lessons in modern inventions and an opportunity to connect with nature in an authentic and ………. way
Including education in your travel plans is a way to make a trip to a destination more engaging and will help connect them with everything they take in on their vacation. Alfred Mercier once said, “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”
If you are heading to New York to experience everything the Falls has to offer, this complete educational guide will help you uncover all the educational opportunities you can find at Niagara Falls, USA.
- Niagara Falls borders New York, USA and Ontario, Canada.
- 3 waterfalls make up Niagara Falls; Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
- The Niagara Falls was created by glacier activity approximately 10,000 years ago.
- The Falls produce large amounts of electricity and are a source of hydropower.
- Hydroelectric stations divert less water during the summer to ensure a spectacular flow of water for tourists during the busy season.
- It is illegal to go over the Niagara Falls, but some have tried.
- Due to the current rate of erosion, scientists estimate that Niagara Falls will be gone 50,000 years from now.
- In 1859, Jean-François “Blondin” Gravelet was the first to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls.
- The Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest in the United States (1885)
At Niagara Falls, USA you get an amazing opportunity to experience something you can’t anywhere else. It’s magnificent, giant and enchanting all at the same time. Your kids will be thrilled to learn all they can about the area and you’ll see their mind absorb information like never before. To experience an educational and memorable experience, check out these sought-after attractions.
Niagara Falls State Park
America’s oldest state park brings you closer to the splendor of the falls than you could ever imagine and boasts a beautiful 400 acres of lush landscape.
You can experience so many unique attractions at the park. You can take a boat ride on the iconic Maid of the Mist which has been operating since 1846
Become one with nature through the Cave of the Winds where you’ll enjoy an elevator ride to the base of Bridal Veil Falls and walk along the wooden walkways at the Niagara River; you’ll experience the elements of a tropical storm from the rushing Falls (don’t worry rain poncho and souvenir sandals are provided, plan on getting wet!).
Visit the Niagara Aquarium that is home to more than 1,000 species of salt and freshwater creatures; you’ll see sharks, penguins, seals, fish and more at this attraction. Included free with the discovery pass, the aquarium provides numerous ways to interact with the animals. You’ll see fun demonstrations, daily feedings and get hands-on sessions with sea lions and penguins.
Don’t forget to visit the Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center to learn all about the area, peruse the gift shop, grab a bite or check out the Niagara Adventure Theater.
The Niagara Scenic Trolley departs near here and is a must when visiting the park, you’ll learn all about the Falls from a guided and interactive tour perfectly suited for all ages. Trolley stops throughout the park make exploring easy and fun.
Make sure you come back at least once at night to see the falls lit up and the spectacular fireworks display that happens most nights at dusk. It’s an incredible experience.
Open 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, the state park allows you to experience the Niagara Falls in all of the four seasons. Consider purchasing a Discovery Pass for the most economical way to enjoy all of the attractions.
Great Documentaries about the falls:
Old Fort Niagara
Step back in time to the era of the 18th century. Old Fort Niagara offers a unique experience where you can take part in living history programs, visit original buildings from the 18th century and explore exhibits filled with historical artifacts including the original flag from the War of 1812. Take part in a guided tour and experience life on the Niagara Frontier during the 18th century where you’ll get a peek into the work and life of the soldiers of that time.
During the summer months the Fort comes alive with firing demos and reenactments, complete with costumes and drama; perfect whether your children are two or twenty.
Old Fort Niagara brings history alive and is a fascinating world of discovery for all ages. If you’re on a mission to make your visit to Niagara Falls, USA educational you have to take the time to visit the Fort. The views of Lake Ontario are stunning. You’ll truly get to travel back in time and experience something special here.
Old Fort Niagara Teacher Resources can be found here and this Pre-Visit Booklet is the perfect way to get your kids excited about your visit!
Niagara Power Vista
This is, hands down, one of my favorite educational attractions in the country. I don’t know anywhere else where you can experience the geology of Niagara, witness an argument between two electricity titans (Edison and Tesla) design your own dam and power grid, operate a power grid during a storm, and walk through a turbine.
Packed full of hands-on experiments and lessons about electricity and power, this experience at the Niagara Power Vista Center is on the don’t-miss list for the Niagara area. Best part? It’s completely FREE!
Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and Hiking Trails
Located at the Niagara Falls State Park the discovery center showcases both the local and natural history of the Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge. You’ll experience hands-on interactive displays, a 180° multi-screen theater, fossils and geological formations including a towering rock climbing wall.
Off the beaten path, the Niagara Gorge is the gateway to some of the very best hiking (and biking) trails in the region. Hikers are required to avoid entering the water and must stay on marked trails but they are plenty. From easy trails for the inexperienced to the most challenging, the Gorge offers a hiking experience to suit every need. Most popular trails include the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike, Upper Great Gorge Hike, Devil’s Hole Rapids and Giant Rock, and the most challenging yet exhilarating Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike. Guided hiking tours are available a few months out of the year.
Before hiking, do your research on the area and trail, wear appropriate clothing and firm footwear and have plenty of water on hand. Kids under the age of 8 years old should not attempt the challenging Whirlpool Rapids.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Located approximately 30 minutes from Niagara Falls, USA the Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to visit in the spring when everything blooms. Entering the outside garden reminds me of walking into a fairy tale.
These lovely gardens consist of plants, herbs, flowers, and succulents from around the world. They are housed in a 1890s greenhouse with a stunning Victorian glass dome. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
An adorable gift shop offers flower shaped umbrellas, homemade jewelry pieces by local designers, handmade postcards and more.
Small and quaint, the Botanical Gardens is a wonderful place for taking photos, you can also explore the beautiful artwork displayed in the Arcangel Gallery or take a guided tour and learn about the different species of plants and preservation.
The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is host to many events and you should check out the calendar and call ahead for tours and information. This is a wonderful change of scenery from the Falls and a gorgeous place to take in the sights.
Erie Canal Discovery Center (30 minutes from Niagara)
Located inside an 1843 “canal stone” building, next to the historic “Flight of Five” and Locks 34 & 35, the Erie Canal Discovery Center is a fascinating and fun place to learn about the creation of the canal and locks in the 19th Century.
Interactive displays throughout the center let visitors try their hand at moving a boat through locks, hear from people who worked on the canal and built Lockport, explore the task of cutting through the bedrock, and test their knowledge of the canal.
Once you have explored the Discovery Center, head up to the canal and see the Locks in action and learn more about the history of Lockport at the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride.
The Lockport Cave & Underground Boat ride offers the public an exciting 70-minute guided tour through America’s past where you will explore the historic and newly rehabilitated “Flight of Five” Erie Canal Locks 67-71, constructed in 1838. You will also view ruins from the industrial revolution and see various geological formations and artifacts left behind in the underground caves by the men who built the tunnel in the early days of the Erie Canal.
Next, you will embark on one of the most unique and frankly kind of eerie (hehe, see what I did there?) underground boat ride along the Erie Canal and experience a fascinating trip through the 1600 foot water power tunnel blasted out of solid rock. Definitely an unforgettable experience.
Here are some great teacher resources on the Erie Canal
Erie Canalway Teacher Resources from The National Heritage Corridor
Group Strategy Activity from History.org
New York State Canal System Activity Book
Herschell Carrousel Factory
A truly one of a kind museum, the Herschell Carrousel Factory is one of the last existing complexes in the United States which housed the production of wooden carousels. The museum’s main mission is to help visitors experience the places, people, stories and artifacts associated with the production of carousels, band organs and amusement devices.
Inside you will find original band organs, carousel horse and a fully functioning carrousel that your whole family can ride. In the summer, there is an outdoor amusement area featuring four refurbished kiddie rides from the factory’s postwar baby boom era.
Niagara Falls, USA is truly a magnificent place to visit. The sights that you see during your visit are unforgettable and you will create memories for your kids here that you won’t experience anywhere else. If you get the opportunity to visit you MUST, the Niagara Falls will leave a memorable and lasting impact for years to come.
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