Niagara Falls with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

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Niagara Falls with Kids: A Family Vacation

Alamy

Every year, Niagara Falls, the second largest waterfall in the world, caters to more than 12 million visitors from all over the globe. While the highly trafficked Canadian side boasts shops, hotels and attractions, the New York side of the falls offers its own share of spectacular adventures, including outdoor hikes and up-close-and-personal waterfall action. Here is our suggested itinerary of things to do during a trip to Niagara Falls with kids.


Morning


Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day, so start it off right with a visit to her local namesake, Mom's Family Restaurant. Since 1955, Mom's has been serving up breakfast staples including omelets, oatmeal and strong coffee. Choose from one of their easy combos or specialties like Mom's scramble – scrambled eggs mixed with peppers, onions and home fries, served with a side of toast.

Mom's Family Restaurant
8420 Niagara Falls Blvd
716-297-6031
http://www.momsfamilyrestaurant.net/
Mon-Sat 6:30AM-9PM, Sun 6:30AM-1:30PM

Now that you're all fueled up, it's time to get walking! Located in the country's oldest national park, The Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center has some of the best hiking trails in the region and during the summer, there are two guided tour options for families traveling to Niagara Falls with kids. There is a small fee associated with the guided hikes, but the interesting and educational tidbits you'll pick up along the way are priceless.

The Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center
24 Buffalo Ave
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
716-745-7848
http://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com/Activities_DiscoveryCenter.aspx
Seasonal hours
Adults $3, children $1.50

To cool down after the nature hike, take a trip to the falls on the Maid of the Mist. Maid of the Mist, one of the most popular attractions at Niagara Falls, is a 30-minute ride into the thunderous water. The first Maid of the Mist set sail in 1846, and the ride has been entertaining guests including Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana and President Jimmy Carter ever since.

Insider tip: Be sure to bring a change of clothes in a waterproof bag. This activity is guaranteed to soak you.

Maid of the Mist
Niagara Reservation State Park at Prospect Point
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
716-284-8897
http://www.maidofthemist.com/en/
Hours vary
Adults $13.50, children $7.85


Afternoon


With your adventure activities out of the way, it's time to treat the family to a relaxing afternoon. Visit Caffe Lola, a high quality food joint, located in the entertainment district of Niagara Falls. Offering salads, soups, small plates and paninis, Lola puts a unique twist on comfortable favorites. For example, try the sandwich with ham, turkey and raspberry aioli; lobster macaroni and cheese or gnocchi in a basil-pesto cream. For the kids, there's straight-up mac and cheese, buttered noodles or a Nutella and jelly panino.

Caffe Lola
507 Third St
Niagara Falls, NY 14301
716-282-5656
http://www.caffelola.com/
Tue-Wed 11AM-2PM, Thu-Sat 11AM-8PM

After lunch, head to the Aquarium of Niagara Falls to take a peek at over 1,500 marine animals including sharks, otters and sea lions. If you plan it right, you'll get there around 2PM – just in time to feed the seals. For $5, kids receive a cup of fish and can try their hand at being a professional zookeeper.

Insider tip: The seal-feeding program starts up when the outdoor pool opens, usually around the second week of May.

Aquarium of Niagara Falls
701 Whirlpool St
Niagara Falls, NY 14301
716-285-3575
http://www.aquariumofniagara.org/
Daily 9AM-5PM


Evening


To round out the day, have dinner at La Hacienda of New York. Despite its Spanish-sounding name, this place is actually one of the best Italian restaurants in town and has been serving customers since 1947. Their claim to fame is their thin crust, New York-style pizza, made from fresh dough and tomato sauce prepared onsite.

Insider tip: Finish out your Niagara Falls family vacation day with a walk back over to the falls, which are lit up at night. The experience is truly magical and shouldn't be missed.

La Hacienda of New York
3019 Pine Ave at the corner of 31st St
Niagara Falls, NY 14301
716-285-ALDO
http://www.lahaciendaofny.com/
Sun-Mon 4PM-10PM, Wed-Thu 4PM-10PM, Fri-Sat 4PM-11PM
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