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Naturally in Niagara

A Cure For March Break Mania!

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There’s nothing scarier than the prospect of kids cooped up for too long but with the prospect of many weeks of still-cool weather and mucky backyards ahead, there doesn’t seem to be any ‘go play outside’ relief on the horizon.

What they need – and you too – is a place to blow off steam.

Niagara is the answer. With a wealth of activities to keep all members of the family happy, life can be fun, not frantic. Come for a day or go all out and stay for a night or two. There’s lot to keep you busy.

It’s For The Birds!

Who knew that birds could be so fascinating to a small fry?  Bird Kingdom, one of Niagara’s favorite kid-focused attractions, is home to hundreds of birds living in tropical splendor with a 40-ft. waterfall and a jungle of plants. Be sure to look carefully while you’re wandering through because this indoor tropical paradise is also home to spiders, bats, snakes, reptiles, skinks and salt-water fish.  Mums – you’ve been warned!

Little birds are housed in the Small Aviary, made from the 125 year-old home of a nobleman from Java, and don’t forget to visit the Nocturnal area while you’re touring.  Because that area is kept dark during the day and lit at night, the nocturnal creatures who live there are up and at ‘em during visiting hours, giving visitors a rare opportunity to see how after-hours creatures live their lives.

Making Hearts Flutter

Who doesn’t love butterflies? And when they land on you – as droves of them will at the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls – it’s enough to make your heart flutter. The trick is to dress like butterfly food. No kidding.

Each species of butterfly is attracted to a particular flower or plant.  Without exception, those flowers and plants are brilliantly colored, so wear red, pink, orange or yellow, and you’ll look positively delectable. Walk slowly as you make your way through the conservatory to give your fluttery friends a fairly stable landing pad and don’t forget your camera.  You won’t believe the close ups you’ll be able to shoot while the butterflies are trying to figure out how to eat you.

Wanna Get Wet?

Don’t spring for tickets to Florida just so the kids can get wet! Niagara has great alternatives, starting with Great Wolf Lodge.

The place, while a bit pricey, is kid heaven, and does offer lots of water-time for the dollar. For each night you spend at the massive log cabin-style resort, you’ll get two full days at the water park. Check in early the first day and enjoy the waterslides, wave pool and more until you’re waterlogged. Next day, pack your bags and stow them with hotel staff – you’re free to play again until closing time. Not all the fun is of the wet variety at Great Wolf Lodge – you can have a great time staying dry too. From nightly stories in the lobby, to daily hoola hoop and limbo contests and beach crafts, your kids will be thoroughly entertained.

Furious Fun

There’s nothing quite like sneaking in a bit of education while your kids think they’re having fun! Niagara’s Fury offers the perfect opportunity. A 4-D, multi-media extravaganza of indoor snow, rain, waves, rocking floors and a 360 degree screen, the experience begins with an animated film that does a surprisingly thorough job of explaining the how the glaciers ripped through the landscape and created Niagara Falls. You’ll be amazed by just how much earth science and geology the furry little character hosts manage to fit into their dialogue before you and the kids move into the main room to be thoroughly shaken and stirred by the Universal Studios-style effects.

Niagara’s Fury is fascinating, fun and ready to rock your kids’ socks off year-round.

Flower Power

If you’re dying for a little colour come enjoy the annual spring show at the Niagara Falls Floral Showhouse.  Until Easter, this very special exhibition will feature Kalanchoe, Cineraria, Cyclamen , forced bulbs, Primula and Azaleas. And don’t forget to watch for the tropical birds that flutter freely through the greenhouse areas.

A visit to the Floral Showhouse is a great way to get an early breath of spring! Call 905-354-1721 for more information.

Under the Sea

When the winter winds howl, the idea of slipping under the warm waves of a tropical sea seems very inviting.  The good news is that an escape hatch to that watery world is waiting for you at the Aquarium of Niagara, in Niagara Falls, N.Y.  From comical harbour seals leaping for fish, to friendly penguins and giagantic tanks filled with more sea creatures than the Little Mermaid could show you, the Aquarium of Niagara has been a March Break family favourite since they opened the doors in 1965.

The big hits are always the shark feeding (no mums…no matter how naughty they’ve been, your kids are not on the menu!), the seahorse ‘stable’ and the sturgeon exhibit.

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The Author

Liz Fleming, Managing Editor of NaturallyinNiagara.ca, is an award-winning journalist who writes a weekly travel gear column for The Toronto Star as well as regular travel features for The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Cruise and Travel Lifestyles Magazine and CAA Travel. She’s currently a featured commentator on the Astral Media radio stations in southern Ontario, providing daily travel ‘minutes’ and is the editor of WO, the White Oaks Magazine.

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