Over a dozen people have voluntarily gone over the Niagara Falls in everything from barrels to jet skis — and quite a few actually made it out alive! There is something very magnetic about these majestic falls that draw in not only daredevils but also millions of visitors each year. The Niagara Falls may not be the tallest waterfall in the world but it is definitely an intimidating show of nature’s power.
The Niagara Falls are actually composed of three falls, two on the American side and one on the Canadian side, known as the Horseshoe Falls. The roaring flow of water sends up a tower of mist into the air that feels particularly refreshing on a hot day as you walk along the panoramic promenade. At night, the cascade of water is lit up by multicoloured spotlights and during the summer they often put on fireworks shows.
I have visited the falls a couple times with my family and I have always come out of the experience soaking wet. There is a short boat tour that takes visitors past the American Falls and straight to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. At the beginning of the tour, we each received a plastic poncho to keep us dry on the boat ride. Covered head to toe in blue plastic we all shuffled aboard the ship, “Maid of the Mist”, packing in tight like penguins crowding on a single ice float. Whenever the boat swayed, everyone just swayed with it together. The ship draws up rather close to the falls, allowing people a good couple minutes to soak in the spectacular sight.
After the boat ride we headed over to “Behind the Falls”, a tunnel excursion that takes you behind the Horseshoe Falls where you can gaze out of an open rock cavern at the water thundering past. The walk over to the behind-the-scenes tour from the boat ride is just enough time to dry off in the heat of a summer day. For this second excursion they gave us a whole new set of plastic ponchos, this time in yellow. The colour changes nothing when it comes to getting wet.
The tunnel that goes through the cliff comes out onto a platform at the base of the falls, where you can stand literally only a couple meters away from the rushing water. Here, whether you wear the poncho or not, you are guaranteed a good cold shower. The spray coming off the rocks is everywhere and being on the platform is like dancing around in the summer rain. In a word, exhilarating.
There is a huge touristic industry built up around the falls — restaurants, amusement parks, casinos and just about anything else you can think of can be found here. Niagara Falls, the city, is a little like a miniature Las Vegas (but with less strippers and more family fun). All the extra toppings aside however, the waterfalls are the real draw. Their sheer natural beauty is awe inspiring no matter how many times you see them. If you didn’t get at least a little wet while visiting the Niagara Falls then you didn’t really have the full experience. Next time, stand a little closer!