6 thrilling family activities at Niagara Falls in Ontario

Last updated 19th December 2023

For more than 200 years activities at Niagara Falls have been a draw for sightseers, romantics and families alike. Now thrill-seekers can go far beyond catching views of the iconic landmark. Robin Stevenson explains how to channel your inner daredevil at six adrenaline-pumping attractions while still enjoying the beauty and power of this world-famous natural wonder.


1/6 MistRider Zipline: a flying start to activities at Niagara Falls

It only takes a minute to zoom down this 2,200-foot long zip line, but that 60 seconds offers a jaw-dropping view of the falls.

Located 220 feet above the Niagara Gorge, the WildPlay MistRider Zipline to the falls floats riders past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, and down towards the Canadian Horseshoe Falls at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

With four side-by-side ziplines, families can fly together. If a daytime ride isn’t exhilarating enough, book a night time spot when the Horseshoe Falls are illuminated in a cascade of color. Score a flight at 10 pm on summer nights and watch fireworks light up the sky. Kids must be aged 7 and over for the Mistrider Zipline.


2/6 Niagara Speedway: half-go-kart track, half-rollercoaster, all thrills

Best described as half go-kart track, half rollercoaster, this Mario Kart-inspired attraction is the largest elevated course in North America.

Drivers and riders speed up the Niagara Speedway four-story spiral before dropping into an undulating ramp which will have tentative racers pumping the brakes and adrenaline junkies hitting the gas. Hairpin turns and a straightaway provide ample opportunity for passing your competition to earn family bragging rights and claim go-kart supremacy.


3/6 Wildplay: top aerial activities at Niagara Falls

Heights, speed, free-falling: WildPlay Whirlpool Aerial Adventure Course has it all. Kids will thrill at negotiating the suspended obstacles and multiple ziplines. It’s a workout, but totally exhilarating and the incredible views high above the Niagara Gorge are a bonus.

Choose from three self-paced tracks: The Kids Course, the Classic Course and the intense Extreme Course. Coaches are on hand below to help with any difficult transitions and there are bail out spots, if needed.

If your motto is “no guts, no glory” make the 40-foot climb up the What’s to Fear Jump, tether to the line and let gravity do the rest.

4/6 Horseshoe Falls: behind the scenes activities at Niagara Falls

Sure, you can admire the iconic Horseshoe Falls from the top down, but if you want the closest view from a totally different angle, head to Journey Behind the Falls.

Witnessing the sheer power of this wonder from the outdoor observation platforms near the base of the 13-story falls will leave you awe-struck. It will also leave you wet from the mist.

Double back through the century-old tunnel to the Great Falls portal one-third of the way under the falls to experience the thundering roar of the 600,000 gallons of water that goes over the brink each second.


5/6 Niagara River: go with the flow on Niagara Falls cruises

Depending on your thrill level, the area offers two very different boat experiences. Generations of tourists have donned the less-than-attractive but much-needed ponchos to take the iconic ride to the falls.

Hornblower Niagara Cruises sail past the American (be sure to wave to the crowds riding the Maid of the Mist from the US side) and Bridal Veil falls to within 167 feet of the Horseshoe Falls.

For those looking for a bigger rush, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours speed along the Niagara River right through the Class 5 Devils Hole rapids at 55 miles per hour. Choose from the open Wet Jet where you will absolutely, positively get soaked – bring a set of extra clothes! – or the enclosed Jet Dome where you stay nice and dry.


6/6 Clifton Hill: the thrilling theme park with sensational views

Known as the city’s Street of Fun by the Falls, Clifton Hill packs a punch in just a few neon-filled blocks.

Among the dozens of tourist attractions – think arcades, fun houses and museums like Ripley’s and Guinness World Records – is a handful of haunted houses for fear-induced fun.

If you’ve had your fill of adrenaline for one trip, skip the frights – unless heights are one of them – and enjoy a leisurely ride on the Niagara SkyWheel in a climate-controlled gondola for a panoramic view 175 feet above the falls.

By Robin Stevenson (updated February 2022)

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