For many people — even those who have never visited — Niagara Falls feels like a known entity. Honeymooners vacation here, the waterfalls are amazing, there are vineyards aplenty and award-winning wines. And while all of that is true, it only scratches the surface of the many fantastic offerings and surprises that exist in and around Niagara Falls. Here are five ways to enjoy the area you probably didn’t know about. Come, stay in Niagara Falls where waterfalls are just the tip of the entertainment iceberg.
1. Go Horseback Riding
Have you ever wanted to go horseback riding along the beach? Just a 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls, you can find a horseback trail riding company called HorsePlay Niagara that specializes in group or private horseback riding tours. Anyone 6 years old and up is welcome to ride their horses and the trails. In addition to Trail Rides, they also offer Cookout Rides, Romance Rides, and Sunset Rides. They’re open seven days a week, all year-round for rides that range between 30 minutes and two hours.
2. Ride a Giant Ferris Wheel
Located on Clifton Hill, the Niagara Skywheel stands 175 feet high and grants those who are unafraid of heights an amazing panoramic view of the area, including the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls. Hop into a climate-controlled gondola any time of year, rain or shine, and experience seeing Niagara in a completely unique way.
3. Get Scared
The Nightmares Fear Factory has been featured everywhere from MTV to The New York Times, and for over 30 years, it’s been terrorizing all who try to brave it. The longest-running haunted house in North America, it also claims to be the scariest, and judging by the hilarious photos of people while they’re inside the Fear Factory — it is. Not suitable for small children, if you love being scared, Niagara Falls’ Nightmares Fear Factory is the place for you.
4. Ponder the Old Scow
Just upstream from the Horseshoe Falls, you’ll find what looks like a boat resting against some rocks about 100 feet from the edge of the Falls. Called the old Niagara Scow, the boat has sat in the same spot since it was wrecked back in 1918. The story of the old scow is that two men were on board when it broke free of its mooring. As it drifted close to the Falls’ edge, the two men were fortunate enough to think of opening its bottom doors, which grounded it into the rocks it still sits on today. The men waited 29 hours before rescuers devised a plan to retrieve them: They shot a lifeline from a nearby power plant, and the shipwrecked men made it to shore via a breeches buoy.
5. Visit the Cham Shan Buddhist Temple
Most people don’t even know Niagara Falls has a Buddhist temple, but it does. The Cham Shan Buddhist Temple, which sits on River Road just across the street from the White Water Walk, is ornate, beautiful, and full of fascinating sculptures. Visitors are welcome every day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and there are also free, guided tours available.