Earlier this week I received the latest email newsletter from Bird Kingdom. This Sunday they will be celebrating their 10th anniversary.
From the Niagara Falls Review:
When Ralph Terrio and Hunter Milborne announced they had bought the Niagara Falls Aviary and Michael’s Inn hotel buildings three months ago, they were coy about their future plans.
Now those plans are public, and they’re big.
Niagara Falls city council unanimously voted Tuesday night to allow two hotel towers where the aviary and Michael’s Inn currently sit on either side of Hiram St. facing River Rd.
The towers would be 60 and 61 storeys, making them the tallest two buildings in Niagara Falls and the tallest hotel towers in Canada.
There are a lot of things to do in Niagara Falls. You really can’t do everything in a day, or maybe even two or three days. But there are a few things that are definitely worth the trip. Bird Kingdom (formerly Niagara Falls Aviary) is one of those places you should definitely check out.
Along River Rd, just to the north of the Rainbow Bridge is the old Niagara Falls Museum. After being closed for many years, the property was bought and turned into the Bird Kingdom (Niagara Falls Aviary) in 2000.
You enter at street level into a beautiful gift shop. You get your tickets and then head upstairs to the first floor. That is where you enter the Encounter Room. There are birds, snakes, lizards and more out on display. Depending on the time of day, you can see them being fed, and at almost any time you can hold one of the creatures. The girl that was working the encounter room when we were there was incredibly nice, and was very helpful. She got the Kookaburra to make noise (the first part of the video below) and helped my two sons hold on exotic bird. They were thrilled.
You then head up another level where you go into the Small Aviary. This is a small room (about the same size as the encounter room) where small birds are flying free. The room is setup with dirt, trees, water, and other food for the birds. It is beautiful. As the little birds zip through the room you almost worry that you are going to get hit!
Next comes the Nocturnal Room. You can see some insects, lizards, reptiles, and bats in this room. There is also a small sand area where kids can “dig” for artifacts.
Lastly is the Main (large) Aviary. This is the main part of the Bird Kingdom, and it really does look like a kingdom! There is a 40-ft working waterfall, an authentic Javanese Tea House, and a Lorikeet feeding area. The walkways and decor make you think you are walking through some tropical ruins. I’ve been a few times over the years, but every time I walk into the Main Aviary I always comment how gorgeous it is!
While we were in the Main Aviary, we stopped and fed the Lorikeets. If you’ve never done this before, you should give it a try. It only costs a couple of dollars, and you are given a sweet nectar in a small cup. The birds flock around you and sit on your arms, hands, shoulders, and sometimes even your head in order to get the nectar. It’s a lot of fun.
Even though the place is filled with birds, it is remarkably clean. You do need to be careful though. My 9-year-old son got dropped on twice by birds, and then put his hand in some another time. We all thought it was pretty funny. At first he was annoyed, but by the time he put his hand in it, he just grinned and laughed.
I took a lot of pictures while we were there. As always, you can see some of the thumbnails below, and you can see the rest of the thumbnails and the larger images in the Bird Kingdom in Summer 2012 gallery.
As a side note, the Niagara Falls Image Gallery now has 3,498 images in 268 categories.
I also took a few videos. I’ve put them all together into one 2-minute video. You can see a the birds, lizards, and scenery in HD in the Bird Kingdom (Niagara Falls Aviary) in Summer 2012 video, or you can see it below.
A couple of weeks ago my family went to visit Bird Kingdom (formerly called Niagara Falls Aviary) on River Rd in Niagara Falls. I’ve been several times before, and I enjoy it every time. If you’ve never been, the Bird Kingdom web site describes it this way:
The Bird Kingdom is the worlds largest, free flying aviary.
Located on the scenic Niagara Gorge and next to the Falls, the Bird Kingdom hosts a diverse collection of almost 400 birds representing nearly 80 species from around the world.
Bird Kingdom’s walk-through & wheel chair accessible environments create an intimate, up-close interaction between you and our free-flying birds, including opportunities to personally interact with different species in our Encounter Zone, Retile Area and during our daily Lorikeet feedings!
The Main Atrium is truly a sight to behold and is a multi-level natural environment; complete with 35 foot tall Palm Tree’s, a 40-foot tall waterfall, ponds and streams!
I know it’s promotional material, but it’s accurate. There are some smaller ares where you can see some birds in cages, as well as various reptiles. However, the big attraction is the “Main Atrium”. It is a huge room that is several stories high. There is a winding path through the room where you can see birds from all angles. The plant and water features do make you feel like you are in a far off land. The only thing that wasn’t right was the waterfall. It wasn’t on, which was kind of disappointing. The web site says that “quiet time” is from 10 am to 10:30 am, but we were there closer to Noon, and it still wasn’t on.
This trip was the first time that we had seen the Encounter Zone. This is a small room with some caged birds. At different times the birds are taken out and you can see them up close and have your picture taken with them. Unfortunately, when we weren’t there at one of the encounter times.
The last time we were at the Bird Kingdom, the Reptile Area was a separate attraction that cost a couple of bucks extra to get in. This time, it was included in the ticket price and had moved. There are snakes, lizards, turtles, and more that you can look at in tanks, cages, and pens. Some are even brought out for you to touch!
As always, I have taken a bunch of pictures, and posted them in the Niagara Falls Image Gallery. Some of the pictures are courtesy of one of my sisters (who went with us). You can view some of the thumbnails below, or view the larger versions of all images in the Bird Kingdom in Summer 2009 gallery.
Note: The Niagara Falls Image Gallery now has 2,913 images in 237 categories!
I also “stitched” together a few pictures to create a panorama (two of them, actually) of the “Main Atrium”. They images are similar, but different. You can click on them to view the larger version.
Lastly, I have put together a short video that you can see of the Main Atrium. You can see a larger HD version on the YouTube site. The quality isn’t the best, but at least the size is bigger.
I know this was mentioned before in a comment, I am just not sure who commented about it. This however will be another blow to the tourist industry if this does come to fruition.
From the Niagara Falls Review
For sale – world’s biggest birdhouse. Bird Kingdom, the award-winning aviary on River Road, could move from Niagara Falls partly because its owner says its property taxes are too high.
“I guess we lost our appetite for Niagara Falls because of the way the tax structure is. It makes it very difficult to do business,” said Larry Vann, a Niagara-on-the-Lake businessman who created the Niagara Falls aviary on River Road about five years ago.
Vann has put up for sale the River Road building that has housed the attraction since it opened in 2003, though he said the aviary is a viable business and will carry on. Other factors also went into the decision to list the building.
“The attraction doesn’t generate the revenue to warrant staying here,” he said in an interview Monday.