Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Niagara Fall, NY: Trolley, Niagara Gorge Discovery Center.

Once we finished the Cave of the Winds, we were quickly aboard the trolley to take us to the other end of the park. I had hoped to stop back at this end of the park as there is a good view of the Canadian Falls and we had discussed returning the following day with the dogs. Due to the weather, we didn't come back, but encourage those who do come to the park to make a trip at this end. Here is a picture of the map.
 The area is called Terrapin Point.  There is also a restaurant located there, I got a few pictures as we drove by.
You can see the mist from the falls to your left. I bet its a great view.
Top of the Falls restaurant. 
Some tourists. I always love when you see people of other nationalities at places like this, but it's even more exciting when you see different US cultures. It makes me feel more connected with them. Even the Amish or I am guessing that these folks are Mennonites as I didn't see a horse and buggy in the parking lot, are enjoying the beauty of the falls. 

Here is a quick shot of the falls as we pass by on the trolley. The trolley was great fun too. The trip which could easily taken about 10-20 minutes to walk, skipping the beginnings of the Niagara River actually takes you around the park and outside as the voice over offers information along the way.

 I snap pictures as we speed by.

These are pictures of the Niagara River as it begins its journey towards the falls. 
The water here looks relatively calm in comparison to closer to the falls, but the voice over warns us that even falling in near this part of the water was dangerous with the rapids. I wish we could have found the Dare Devil museum, so we could have found more information about those who made the trip over and those who did not. The voice noted that more people died in attempts over the falls then survived. Perhaps the most famous is Annie Taylor who was the first to make the attempt. She rode the falls in a barrel. (As a kid I always thought she went down with her head popping out like riding in a boat). She surely would not have survived had she done that, but she did survive riding in a barrel over the falls just the same. 
Annie did her amazing feet in 1901. Future "crazy" people like Annie called Dare Devils followed suite with different vessels, some made of rubber, metals, and submarine like contraptions. If you decided to take the trip, there is a large legal fee should you survive, and maybe even some jail time. I don't know the statistics, but there is always someone who either falls in or jumps in, most certain outcome for either is DEATH. If going over the falls wasn't enough of a scare, there were plenty of people to parachute, glide, or walk over the falls on a tightrope to keep the public's attention, and charge the adrenaline junkies soul.  Walking behind the falls as we had earlier that morning was as close to the falls as I would like to be, thank you very much. 

As we continue closer to our next destination, the water rapids increase, and we ride past the visitor center, the Maid of the Mist attraction, Rainbow Bridge and head towards the other end of the park. 
Rainbow Bridge is the connection to Canada from Niagara Falls, NY. Years ago, before passports, I walked over and back to get a view of both sides. Seven years ago the family stayed on the Canadian side for one of our vacations. It is a very different experience in Canada, which offers many more attractions. 
Clifton Hill (I think that is the name) is home to several tourist traps such as;  Wax museum's, several haunted themed attractions including Aliens, Ghosts and even serial killers. Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, and  extreme rides. Dinosaurs, mini-golf, a multitude of restaurants, the M&M factory and two casinos. (That is just some of the attractions they offer)

It was an enjoyable ride and we make it to our destination, The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and Aquarium stop. 

The Niagara Gorge is the tail end after the falls and continues into Lake Ontario. This little museum, offered a host of things geological. Sadly my family (and I) were less interested in rocks then the museum offers, but we made our way around this circular building, stopping first at the small theater to watch a movie about the falls and the first explorers. It was mildly interesting, so I will spare you most of the details only to note how amazing it must have been to come onto these waters over one hundreds years ago. 
The boys explore the interactive stations of the museum. 

A few facts about the falls in winter and the ice mountains.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the Gorge Discovery Center was the simulated elevator ride. 
This mock elevator, takes you down several thousand feet below the earths surface, stopping periodically to show you the rocks formed over the years. Each stop provides an interesting view surrounding you in the windows of shale, limestone, fossils, and granite. 
At one point the elevator gets stuck and the elevator shakes, the red bulb lights up. Were at a stand still and all communication is temporarily cut off. Of course we are saved with some sort of pulley that lifts us back up to safety. 
Once back on the surface, we exit the building and find ourselves back on the earth.
This is a perfect opportunity for the boys to play a little game of push and pull. 
Adjacent to the Gorge Discovery center is the Gorge Trails. 
I think it would make a nice hike, but my family is 100% against that idea.
So we are off to over the bridge to the Aquarium. 
This concludes this part of Niagara Falls and I will continue our visit on my next post. I hope to complete this trip before Friday and plan to do a Flashback of Niagara Falls on Friday.