To mark Canada’s 150 birthday on July 1st, the city of Niagara Falls will host 150 different events throughout the year. The city expects this year’s tourism season to be one of their best, but the challenge is to keep visitors here longer. Read More…
I don’t have any details for you, but here are some photos from the Niagara Speedway construction area. It looks like the buildings/structures are mostly done, and they are starting to work on the concrete at the track.
I know it is only the 23rd of December today, but I’m pretty sure I’m done posting for the year. I’m off now until the first week of January and will be enjoying a break with my family.
2016 was a difficult year for the blog and website. I was tempted on numerous occasions to just give up and not do it anymore, but I got a new burst of energy over the last month and the traffic is going back up again. I hope to continue this into the new year.
2017 is going to bring one of the coolest new developments in recent memory… the new go-kart track on Clifton Hill. It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. There are still plans by numerous companies for new hotels, but I doubt any of them will be started in 2017. There still seems to be a glut of hotel rooms in the city, so the various operators are focusing on improving their existing attractions and adding new ones.
Thanks for all that you do to support the blog and website. Of course, the best thing you can do is share pages, Facebook posts or tweets that link to the site. As more people visit, I’ll have greater opportunities to enlarge the site, visit more attractions, and write more.
There used to be paving stones (interlocking bricks) along Victoria Ave near the top of Clifton Hill, as well as a grass area. Recently that was all dug up and the fence for the new go-kart development has been moved out closer to the street.
Demolition has already begun on the Comfort Inn, a long-time fixture on what is billed as Niagara Falls’ “Street of Fun.”
The site, which was home to a motel for more than 60 years, will be the home of a new Go-Kart Coaster track, according to Joel Noden, director of marketing for HOCO Entertainment & Resorts. HOCO owns several properties on the hill including the Niagara SkyWheel, Dinosaur Adventure Golf and the Great Canadian Midway arcade among other things.
“It’s the signature piece,” Noden said of the Go-Kart attraction that will have riders will spiral up three or four stories high before they race down to a surface track below.
If you travel into or out of Niagara Falls in the direction of Fort Erie/Buffalo, then you have driven by Niagara Go-Karts. Since it isn’t in the main tourist districts of Falls Avenue, Clifton Hill, or Fallsview Blvd, you may not have considered it, but you should. A week or so ago I went there with my family, and we spent a couple of hours mini-putting and driving the go-karts. It was a lot of fun, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable.
We started off with the mini-putt. It is a “classic” course with solid wood edges so you can bank the shots. Nice! The course looks like it was recently cleaned up, but there is still some work to do with the shrubery. Some of them are overgrown and make it difficult to position yourself to hit the ball. The holes are mostly par 2, with a few par 3. None of us are “pros”, but we do mini-putt quite a bit, and none of us got a hole in one. That shows that it is fun, but not too easy. There are several large animals around the course including giraffes, elephants, a zebra and a gorilla. My three kids insisted on getting their pictures taken with each one. Other than the bushes I mentioned earlier, the only other complain I would have would be about the sound. Since the course is located right beside the highway, and it is part of the go-kart complex, you hear nothing but engines. Obviously there is nothing that can be done about this, as it goes with the territory. There is music playing in the background which tries to drown out the engines, but you can still hear them. I suppose if you go there, you should expect it.
Perhaps one of the most appealing things about the mini-putt is the price. You can purchase an all-day pass on the Niagara Go-Karts web site for only $4 plus tax.
I’ve only been in a go-kart once before (it felt like I was sitting on a lawnmower), so I don’t have much to compare it with. When we were down in Orlando in March, I went around the Kissimmee Go-Karts track once for free. Niagara Go-Karts was definitely better. The karts run better, and I definitely felt safer in the Niagara Go-Karts go-kart than down in Florida. In fact, while were there a man was regularly checking the karts. If it matters to you, Niagara Go-Karts also tries to be hygienic. You have to wear a helmet, and they provide hairnets for you to wear.
There are two different types of go-karts. There is a two seater “family” kart where you can take kids with you. You only pay for one person, as the passenger rides for free. I drove with my 7-year-old son, my wife drove with my 3-year-old daughter, and my sister drove with my 9-year-old son. We all had a blast. The track is 1 KM long, and weaves a lot. This can be a lot of fun as you go fast around the bends. You can go as slow as you want, or go as fast as the karts will go. My sister and I drove as fast as we could, while my wife drive as slow as she could. We joked with her afterwards that the carts might not have ever gone slower! There is obviously a one seater that you can drive as well. I did a couple of laps with my son and then did a few laps on my own in one of the faster one seater karts.
The standard price this summer for laps is 6 laps for $22. However, if you buy online you get 4 more laps free. There is also a package with those 10 laps as well as mini-putt for only $25.
They used to sell hot food in the building where you pay for your tickets, but they don’t any more. They just sell simple snack foods and drinks. There is a small arcade there, as well as washrooms. My wife was pleased that the washrooms were very clean. The customer services was very good. No one was rude, and the young man who got us our putters and tickets was very nice. The only general complaint about the complex is that since it open air, they allow people to smoke on the properly. If I am breathing in the fumes from the karts, maybe I shouldn’t be concerned about second-hand smoke at that point, but I still didn’t like the smell.
Overall, we had a great time. In fact, a few days later we drove past the complex, and my daughter was already asking when we could go again. Also, my sister has already planned another trip. We had a great time!
I took some pictures of both the miniature golf course and the go-kart racetrack. As always, you can see some of the thumbnails below, and you can see all of them along with the larger versions in the Niagara Go-karts in Summer 2011 gallery.