Niagara Falls is a popular natural wonder that captures the imagination. As the second largest waterfall in the world and used in several major movies, most people have at least seen pictures of the awe-inspiring thunderous water cascading over the Falls. From the Daredevils that once threw themselves over the Falls in barrels, to the excitement of being sprayed by the powerful water, there is an undeniable adventure that Niagara Falls State Park exudes. Here’s how to get the most out of your visit there:

Step 1 – Plot your Day

Start your visit with a stop in the Niagara Falls Visitor Center to pick up maps and tour information to help guide you through the park. This is the perfect time to pick up any postcards or souvenirs in the Prospect Point Gift Shop (located on the lower level of the Visitors Center) to help remember your trip to Niagara. Before you leave, grab a beverage or quick bite to eat at the snack bar and then you’re ready to enjoy the park to its fullest.

Step 2 – Get really, really wet

You can’t visit Niagara Falls State Park without getting up close and personal with the Falls.

There are a couple of ways to do this: First, you can get out on the water on The Maid of the Mist, the most well-known and quintessential Niagara Falls experience (tip: wear the blue plastic poncho they give you to minimize getting completely drenched). Then, get your thrills on the Cave of the Winds Tour. Beginning with an elevator ride 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge, you are then led along a series of decks and boardwalks until you are just a few feet from the torrents of Bridal Falls. By purchasing the Discovery Pass, you are granted access to all the must-do activities within the Park, including those mentioned above.

Step 3 – Hike to the Overlook Gorge

Niagara Falls State Park was developed with both hiking and an appreciation for the outdoors in mind. With several easy trails for hiking off the Niagara Falls Discovery Center, this is a great way to enjoy the expansive Park and see the Falls from another angle. If you really want the full outdoor experience, pack a picnic and enjoy in a secluded spot of your own overlooking the Falls.

Step 4 – Discover the Daredevils

Can you imagine being brave enough to throw yourself over the Falls in a barrel? Or walking across on a tightrope? Check out the Niagara Legends of Adventure Theatre, where you can catch a movie about those individuals crazy enough to do just that while exploring the thrilling history of the Falls. While those activities are off limits to visitors today, the adventurous spirit undoubtedly lives on at the Park.

Step 5 – Eat Over the Falls

At the Top of the Falls Restaurant, you get an amazing panoramic view of Horseshoe Falls while enjoying classic American cuisine with an Italian influence (think burgers, wings, pasta dishes, salads). There’s a menu for the little ones, too!

Step 6 – Explore the Aquarium

Whether you’ve got shark-loving preschoolers or penguin crazy preteens, the Aquarium of Niagara will make everyone happy. There are more than 1,500 aquatic animals to observe there as well as regular sessions where you can watch the penguins, sea lions, seals, and even the sharks getting fed!

Step 7 – See the Falls at Night

While most people visit the Falls during the day, the Park is open 24 hours a day and feels completely different with so few visitors around. There is also a nightly fireworks show above the Falls during the summer months. The fireworks cast a beautiful glow on the water and it looks like the colors are dancing across the water.

Ready to plan your trip to Niagara Falls State Park? Learn more now!