View of the American Falls from the observation deck
We parked in a $10 parking lot at the Falls gift shop, where we had breakfast and signed up for a group tour package of the Falls and surrounding area. While waiting for the tour to begin, we walked through the park and across the bridge to Goat Island, and some great views. We didn't get a chance to see Horseshoe Falls from the US side, as we had to get back to the gift shop in time for the start of our tour. The first leg of the tour took us on "The Maid Of The Mist", a boat tour that takes you right up to the edge of the Falls. They give you waterproof windbreakers so you can attempt to stay dry. The view from below the Falls is awesome! Bring a waterproof camera, though! After that we went up the observation deck, which give views of both American and Canadian Falls and The Peace Bridge.
Tyler and Dawn on the Maid of the Mist
Next, they took us to a gift shop with a theater, where they showed us a cheesey 3-D movie about The Falls and it's Indian past. Then they had a trivia contest about the Falls, which Tyler won! They gave him a necklace of Mardi Gras beads as his prize. Next, our tour guide, Sam, took us on a bus tour of the area, to show us things like the power plant, and the Whirlpool Aero Car. We followed that with a tour of Bridal Veils Falls and Luna Point, and finished with "The Cave Of The Winds" tour. They have stairs and platforms leading right to the bottom of the American Falls, so you can walk right under and get wet! This time they gave us waterproof shoes as well as a windbreaker. Tyler and Dawn really liked the "Hurricane Deck", they got soaked! ( I stayed back to protect the camera and camcorder).
Getting wet on the Hurricane Deck, under the US Falls!
You could almost reach out and touch Bridal Veil Falls. The force of the falling water compresses the air as it falls, and blasts it out when it gets to the bottom, causing "hurricane" force winds, hence the name. The guide told us that they break down this walkway and deck every fall, and rebuild it every spring. If they didn't, it would be destroyed by the ice in winter! When we finished that part of the tour, we had to turn our "Sam" badges back in (All our name tags had our tour guides name on them, so that employees of the different attractions would know which group we belonged to) Then, the bus brought us back to the gift shop where we had started (and parked) The whole thing was a lot of fun, well worth the hundred bucks or so it cost for the 3 of us. It would have been a lot more to do each thing individually! We spent most of the day here, and we hadn't even gone into Canada yet...but that was to be next!