One of the most surprising and overlooked Niagara Falls attractions is the great outdoors — and it offers just enough variety to keep everyone entertained whether on an Ontario family vacation or couples’ getaway. Even better, many of the outdoor adventures are completely free.
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!
With the price of gas going up again this summer and the need to keep expenses down, you can create a vacation itinerary that ends up being a lot more fun than you might have imagined. Even if you did have more money to spend on a vacation it wouldn’t necessarily translate into having a better time, it’s how you spend each dime and dollar, stretching your dollars and putting them towards the priorities you and your travel companions want you won’t feel guilty for “cheaping” out on the other stuff, while still maintaining a quality vacation.