Maid of the Mist#1 in Best Things To Do in Niagara Falls
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The main reason to visit Niagara Falls is to see the falls and one of the most memorable ways to do just that is to sport a poncho and hop on a Maid of the Mist boat. These boats have been shuttling visitors to and from the base of the falls since the 1840s. Be prepared to get wet: the Maid of the Mist practically dunks you under the falls, but rain gear is provided and many say that this is one of the best ways to experience the splendor of Niagara Falls. In fact, it's one of the region's best guided tours.
Recent visitors said you can't leave Niagara Falls without taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist. Aside from the incredible views, reviewers were also pleased with the tour length (20 minutes) and the modest ticket price. Though you are provided with a poncho, you should plan to wear waterproof shoes and gear, according to travelers. To beat the crowds, some visitors suggest getting to the attraction first thing in the morning (trips begin at 9 a.m.).
The Maid of the Mist docks on the U.S. side of the falls; tours depart every 15 minutes. Tickets cost $18.25 for adults and $10.65 for kids 6 to 12. Schedules fluctuate depending on the season. For more information, check out the Maid of the Mist website.
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#2 Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & Butterfly Conservatory
To escape the thunderous falls and tourist crowds, take an afternoon and lose yourself in the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. If you like nature, the gardens are a must-see. This 100-acre space is home to dozens of meticulously maintained gardens – cared for by students at the on-site horticulture school – featuring thousands of species of plants. During the summer, guided horse-and-carriage tours allow you to explore the gardens in style. The gardens are also home to the Butterfly Conservatory, where several thousand butterflies flit and flutter among brightly colored flowers.
Recent visitors said a visit to the gardens and the butterfly conservatory provided a nice respite from the kitchsy atmosphere around the falls. Reviewers cautioned that the butterfly conservatory can get crowded, but noted that the gardens were quiet. Travelers also recommended bringing your camera, as the conservatory offers plenty of photo ops.
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