There’s more than just thundering water and breathtaking views on a visit to Niagara Falls. Plenty of other attractions, rides and experiences have sprung up in the area to make a visit into an all-round resort experience. On the Canadian side is Clifton Hill, the vibrant resort centre and the heart of the fun.
Getting to Clifton Hill
The views of the Falls themselves are better from the Canadian side, but don’t let that put you off if you have already booked your USA hotel. Making a day visit to Canada is easy. Of course there are border formalities and all the usual rules and paperwork apply. Car parking on the US side at Niagara is ten dollars for the whole day but the parking lot is relatively small. We arrived at 10am on a Friday in August and there were plenty of spaces, thankfully.
It’s only a ten minute walk across the bridge into Canada but we stopped to take in the awesome view! The queue to immigrate was very short which was lucky as we were standing outside in hot sun. Next we took a three minute walk through lovely gardens and terraces with cafes and gifts. Two hundred yards later we were at the bottom of Clifton Hill itself. It’s like a regular street but with attractions and restaurants at every step. Six of these attractions are included in the Clifton Hill Fun Pass. It’s cheaper to get the pass than to buy individual tickets plus you get five tokens for arcade games as a bonus.
Niagara Sky Wheel
Part way up Clifton Hill a plaza opens up to the left. We started here with the Niagara Sky Wheel. This big Ferris wheel ride is on a high point. It can be seen from all over the resort and from the USA side too. You know that the views will be spectacular! It’s great to get up high and see the distinctive curving shape of Niagara Falls which you can’t see from lower down. Some people have told me they prefer the sky wheel over the boat rides which take you to the foot of the falls because the perspective is thrilling. I liked both, and we did the boat ride on a different evening.
It was an uncomfortably hot day and one big advantage of the Clifton Hill fun pass was the chance to get our kicks in air-conditioned venues. We had a choice of two mini golfs and chose the indoor Wizards Golf because of the heat. This themed mini golf is almost in the dark, but it’s easy to see everything because of all the neon glow and UV lights. It’s so colourful and funky. The holes include some nice tricks, music and sounds.
Next at the Zombie Attack experience we strapped into our theatre seats and put on 3D glasses. Although there are no real roller-coasters at Clifton Hill, both Zombie Attack and Wild West Coaster give you quite a realistic ride experience with moving seats and wide 3D visuals. I actually prefer this as my stomach didn’t drop away so much like a real roller-coaster! We had “guns” to shoot the zombies too and competed against the rest of the audience. It was a little scary for the youngest ones with some big surprises. We were like superheroes walking away unscathed from the car crashes and the undead.
Wild West Coaster
The Wild West Coaster is the other similar ride experience at Clifton Hill. It is less scary and spooky but still very thrilling. We join cartoon characters on a roller-coasting rail ride. It is also a bumpy experience with 3D visuals and a few good laughs as well. There’s no audience shooting with this one.
Here comes my boast: I got the highest score over everyone in my family INCLUDING my husband in the shooting contest on the Ghost Blasters ride! Each cart takes two people on rails through the haunted house. It never gets really dark but the visuals and sounds are great fun. There’s absolutely loads of targets to shoot with the laser gun and it was pretty intense!
Movie Land is a wax museum of film stars and pop singers and most were very lifelike. It only took us about twenty minutes to walk through. There’s a haunted tunnel in this which we skipped. I think it was pretty scary and we are all quite soft!
The Great Canadian Midway
The Clifton Hill Fun Pass also gives five tokens for the big range of arcade games at the Great Canadian Midway. As well as playing air hockey, we found big arcade versions of some of favourite cellphone games like Crossy Road. Fizz smashed the venue high score on the Piano game! She was like lightning; her reflexes are amazing to watch. At the Midway, the more you score on the games, the more tickets you receive. Before leaving you can exchange these tickets for small gifts. We got things like keyrings, slinky springs and erasers. If you collect enough tickets you can get bigger items like cups, soft toys or art prints.
Clifton Hill Fun Pass and More
Combined with a walk to the top of the falls half a mile away, we had a really full day in Canada using the Clifton Hill Fun Pass. Quite honestly Fizz and Belle were over the moon to have some unbridled fun and games. In some ways the resort is a bit like Blackpool with all the attractions and waterfront. Yet it is completely different thanks to that awesome wonder of the world, Niagara Falls on the doorstep. Check out the Clifton Hill website for more attractions and everything else there is to do on a trip to Niagara Falls.
Disclosure: We were kindly given Clifton Hill Fun passes for our family in exchange for this review, but all opinions expressed here are my own.
Do you think you would enjoy these attractions? Please let me know in the comments.