My wife and I spent a couple janjitoto days in late September exploring the Canadian side of the falls and hosted at on of the area’s premier hotels, The Sheraton On The Falls. (The Sheraton offers great off-season rates around Valentine’s Day.It’s a great place for couples, but is certainly among the attractions meant to draw families.
After a drive from Toronto, where I had been n business, we were ready to relax and we couldn’t have picked a better location. The hotel booked us into one of their premium suites, complete with sitting area and fireplace, king-size bed, jetted tub, and unparalleled views of both the famous Horseshoe Falls and American Falls. Whether it’s the nightly man-made light show of colors splashed on the falls or a sunrise playing in the mist, the hotel offers a front-row seat.
We arrived in the afternoon and by that eveneing we explored the shops, restaurants and attractions on Falls Avenue and Clifton Hill. The Sheraton is at the heart of the Falls Avenue development, featureing a Planet Hollywood restaurant, Hard Rock Café, Rainforest Café, and attractions, including a simulated “Ride Over the Falls,” “Dino Island 3D” ride, “Elvira’s Haunted Coaster,” a Hershey chocolate shop, and Casino Niagara.
Inside Casino Niagara, it’s evident that this is no longer the Niagara Falls popularized in the Marilyn Monroe movie, ‘Niagara.’ The over-60 crowd lined the blackjack tables and filled the seats in front of the slot machines. In fact, it’s the casino and a steady stream of retirees driving the development on the Canadian side; enough so, that the Canadians are planning a second casino and their envious American neighbors hope to open one of their own to revitalize Niagara Falls, New York’s depressed tourist district.
Around the corner from the casino, Clifton Hill-area streets are brimming with attractions and tourist traps, including souvenir shops, arcades, small thrill rides, fun houses, and fast food joints. If your wallet’s fat enough, you can spend the entire day at places like the Guiness World Records Museum, a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum and theater, haunted houses, a thrill ride accompanied by a 70mm film, and Movieland Wax Museum.
On our trip up the hill we ducked into the Rain Forest Café for dinner. The menu items featured Chimi-Cha-Cha, Magambo Shrimp, and Mojo Bones (slow-roasted ribs). The restaurant includes a collection of animatronic wildlife – life-sized elephants and fearsome gorillas, choreographed to a recycling soundtrack of music and theatrics. Sitting amid tropical trees, guests experience simulated rainstorms. A volcano at the entrance of the restaurant “erupts” periodically.
After exploring some shops, we returned to the hotel to find the hotel’s turndown service had left chocolates and robes on the bed. A rainbow of colors played over the water and mist as we opened an unscreened window to provide an unobstructed view of the scene.