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7 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls are among the most impressive and best known falls in the world. They lie in the extreme north-west of New York State. Here masses of water from Lake Erie plunge over an almost 200 ft drop to flow into Lake Ontario.They attract over 12 million visitors a year. The falls consist of three separate sections; Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the American Falls.

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1 Maid of the Mist

Maid of the MistMaid of the Mist

The Maid of the Mist is a long running tour boat, and one of the most popular ways to experience the falls. The boat takes visitors up close to the base of the falls. So close in fact, passengers are given raincoats to protect against the heavy mist and spray from the falls. It passes directly in front of the falls and enters the Horseshoe Basin. White water surrounds the double-decker boat while the water plunges down right in front of you.

2 Goat Island

Goat IslandGoat Island View slideshow

From Prospect Point a path crosses a bridge on to little Green Island, in the middle of the rapids just above the American Falls, and then over another bridge on to Goat Island, between the American and the Horseshoe Falls. From the northern tip of this wooded island a gangway leads on to little Luna Island, beyond the narrow Bridal Veil Falls, which are separated from the American Falls by Luna Island. On Goat Island, at the foot of the American Falls, is the entrance to the Cave of the Winds (elevators and tunnel), from which boardwalks lead to just under the falls. From the end of the tunnel under the American Falls the Horseshoe Falls Lower Gorge Walkway leads to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls.

3 Cave of the Winds

Cave of the WindsCave of the Winds

Located on Goat Island, the Cave of the Winds offers a close up, and somewhat wet, look at the falls. Visitors descend into the Niagara Gorge and walk up several sets of stairs to the Hurricane Deck. From this lookout platform you are only 20 ft from the tumbling water of Bridal Veil Falls. Massive amounts of water are falling above you while smaller streams run below the lookout deck. This is one of the most popular activities for tourists in Niagara Falls. It is one of the few ways to see the falls from below, rather than the traditional view from the waters edge at the top of the falls. Participants on this tour are given rain jackets to wear and should expect to get wet.

4 Whirlpool Rapids Bridge

Whirlpool Rapids BridgeWhirlpool Rapids Bridge

Three miles below the American Falls the river changes course again, forming the Whirlpool in a great cauldron originally created by tectonic movements and turning northeast over the Lower Rapids towards Lake Ontario.

5 Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State ParkNiagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park is New York's oldest state park, opened in 1885, and home to the three famous sets of falls that it is named after. The parks is composed of an area on main land, and five islands on the Niagara River. It offers over 400 acres with nature and bike trails, paths, picnic facilities, and all kinds of activities and attractions.

6 Aquarium of Niagara

Aquarium of NiagaraAquarium of Niagara

The Aquarium of Niagara offers a variety of marine animals, including sea lions, penguins and otters. Some of the highlights include seal, shark, and penguin feedings, and the sea lion training sessions.

Address: 701 Whirlpool Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14301-1094, United States

7 Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University

Castellani Art Museum of Niagara UniversityCastellani Art Museum of Niagara University

The Castellani Art Museum features a permanent collection that includes contemporary and 20th century artwork as well as folk art that dates back to the 1850's. Paintings, drawings, photographs and pre-Columbian ceramics are on display. The museum also focuses on presents works by well known and emerging contemporary artists.

Address: Niagara University
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