From our “fancy” hotel near Erie, we headed to Niagara Falls. Needless to say, we were quite excited to see this sign after almost two hours of driving!
According to our journals, we spent exactly 7 hours and 2 minutes there! The first two hours we spent at the gift shop. We always have to go to the gift shop to get souvenir postcards, stamps, and pressed pennies. At almost every historical place or point of interest, we stopped at the gift shop first, which was a mistake, because we always spent at least an hour there before we had even seen the point of interest 😀 We finally got smart at the end of the trip and did the gift shops last 🙂
Here we are at one of the penny machines…it’s hard to pick just one design over three others! So some of us got two 😀
In the gift shop/observation tower on the 9th floor of the building! We could see the mist from the falls in the distance.
Shopping made us hungry. We kinda forgot about lunch. So back to the van we went and ate trail mixes, popcorn, cookie bars, and a hodge-podge of other snacks 🙂
After lunch, we were finally on our way to the falls! There were so many people of many different religions and countries there! Indians, Orthodox Jews, Indians, Arabs, Indians…there were a lot of Indians! We probably heard more foreign languages than English!
On the trolley. We decided we wanted to go to the Horseshoe falls first. So we hopped on the trolley and got off at the next stop…which was furthest from the point of which we wanted to be! And then we realized we were supposed to buy wristbands to ride the trolley. So Daddy bought wristbands and we rode to the Horseshoe Falls 🙂
A map of Niagara Falls State Park:
At the Horseshoe Falls. Daddy is taking a picture to the right of us with his cell phone to send to some friends and family. He sent them all updates at almost every stop we made 🙂
No, we did not go on the Canadian side, for those who were wondering 🙂 We did wave to the Canadians, though, and all of us thought it was quite fun to be able to see Canada!
The Falls were just amazing! Pictures are amazing, and we had always heard that people were ‘in awe’ when they actually saw them. We found out what they meant!
This was one of our favorite pictures…
Daddy and Mommy came here for their honeymoon almost 28 years ago 😀 So of course we had to get a picture of just the two of them together!
The American Falls
We were so happy to get this picture with the rainbow! We heard that you used to be able to see lunar bows or ‘moon bows’ at night when a full moon was out. Unfortunately you can’t anymore because there is too much artificial lighting, and the volume of water is less than it used to be.
When we were standing here on Luna Island in between the American and Bridal Veil falls, we kept getting sprinkled with the mist from the Falls. It felt like a sprinkling of rain!
We could see the people on the “Cave of the Winds” walk below while we were on Luna Island. We saw them get up to one of the decks that was so close to the Bridal Veil Falls, water was pouring on the deck and spraying everywhere! They’d get so close and then give up, skirting around that deck, which we found out later was called “Hurricane Deck”. Others would run into it, touch the farthest end of the deck and run back, while a few brave souls just stood under it and let it pound on them! Some of us girls were watching them, cheering them on, “Come on! You can make it! Oh, no! Don’t give up!” etc, etc, etc.! 😀
You can see “Hurricane Deck” a little better here…it’s the little square deck on the right 😀
Noah and Isaiah really enjoyed all that water. And Isaiah especially was hanging on to someone’s hand almost ALL the time! He would climb the rails, trying to see better, or get closer…*scary*!
A funny story that the trolley driver told us when we were driving over the bridge to Goat Island…
A man wanted to protect his farm animals from predators, (while he was away?) so he brought them all over to Goat Island for the winter so that wild animals couldn’t get to them. The winter was so harsh that every single animal died, except for one stubborn old goat 😀 So that is where the island got it’s name 😀
After seeing all the Falls (Horseshoe, Bridal Veil, and American), we were trying to decide between two things before we left, go to the observation tower, or to Cave of the Winds. Many of us were undecided. Cave of the Winds looked like a lot of fun, but we just weren’t too sure. Not to mention, the observation tower was a lot cheaper! Daddy made the decision to go to the Cave of the Winds, and are we ever so glad that he did! We were given these very thin yellow ponchos, special sandals, and a sack to put our shoes in.
We were all giggling over our strange “clothes” as we put them on–it was quite funny!
Our special sandals!
We then went to an elevator where a man took us down approximately 18 stories into the side of the cliff. It went surprisingly fast! We heard that there used to be stairs a long while ago, but then in the 1920’s they dug this elevator shaft by hand, and from the bottom, going up!
We thought the Bridal Veil and American Falls were neat when we were up on Luna Island (you can see it in between the falls in the picture), but they were AMAZING down at the base! We girls all quickly decided that these were our favorite falls 😀 Probably a lot of that decision had to do with the fact that we saw a lot more of these two falls than the Horseshoe 😀
Looking back at the Horseshoe Falls
Cave of the Winds was our absolute favorite part about visiting Niagara! You walk along this series of decks and stairs until you get to “Hurricane Deck” which we read was only 10 feet away from the Bridal Veil falls. We’ve never been through a hurricane before, but we think it must be pretty close to what we experienced on that deck! We now understood why the people we had watched while on Luna Island had hesitated to go any farther! As you were walking up the steps to Hurricane Deck, you had to push against the wind and water to get up there! When we reached the top of the stairs, we quickly ran off to the side to escape the worst of the water. All of us (except Daddy, Mommy, and the boys, who stayed below 😀 ) huddled together and finally one of us said, “I’m going in!” so everyone ran squealing and laughing straight into the water, touched the rail closest to the falls, and ran right back. That was so much fun that we ran back in again, this time staying under the water for a little while. It felt like hailstones pounding down on you, and the closer you got to the waterfall, the warmer the water was! It was almost like a high powered shower 😀 We ran in and out several times before we finally finished the walk. We didn’t want to leave!
We also noticed something kind of strange. Up on Hurricane Deck there was a big sign that said “NO SMOKING”. With so much water, nobody could have smoked if they tried!!! 😀 Maybe that was for the drier seasons!
A short video we took of the falls…
Part of the base of the Bridal Veil
The decking we were standing on 😀 We heard that they had to repair parts of it every year because of ice damage. We wondered who got that job?!
Part of the Bridal Veil falls pouring out from underneath the decks.
Here we are at the end of the tunnel that goes to the elevator. The ponchos kept us surprisingly dry, and most of us only had the lower part of our skirts wet 😀
We walked to the Three Sisters Islands, named for the daughters of a man named Parkhurst Whitney. Asenath, Angeline, and Celinda-Eliza walked all the way to the farthest of the three islands one winter when the ice had built up so much that you could walk across to each island. Their father was so proud of their accomplishment that he convinced the owner of the islands to name them for his three daughters 😀 There is also a “Little Brother” island, a tiny one off of one of the sister islands, named for their little brother 😀 The Seven Sisters had to get a picture “with” the Three Sisters, of course!
Off one of the Three Sisters Islands
The “Three Sisters” were a lot of fun…the trails were more rugged and there were rocks to climb and all kinds of pretty scenery.
When we finished walking through the Three Sisters Islands, we ran to catch the trolley and then walked back to the van…
…tired, but happy!
Good-bye, Niagara! We hope we can come visit you again someday!
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