Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & Butterfly Conservatory

#2 in Best Things To Do in Niagara Falls
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Key Info

2565 Niagara Parkway

Price & Hours

Botanical Gardens: free; Butterfly Conservator...
Hours vary by season

Details

Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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.

The Botanical Gardens are located on the Ontario side just north of the falls; the butterfly conservatory is located on the grounds of the gardens. The Botanical Gardens are open every day from sunrise to sunset and admission is free (though you will have to pay for parking), while the Butterfly Conservatory charges an entry fee of CA$15 (about $12) for adults and CA$9.75 (about $8) for kids 6 to 12. The Butterfly Conservatory's hours of operation vary depending on the season. For more information, check out the conservatory's website.

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#1 Maid of the Mist

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.).

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