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NIAGARA RESERVATION STATE PARK and OLD FORT NIAGARA STATE PARK
LOCATION - Niagara Reservation State Park is at the foot of Falls Street in Niagara Falls.
Old Fort Niagara is north of Niagara Falls along the Robert Moses Parkway in Youngstown.
FEATURES - Niagara Falls began approximately 12,000 years ago when glacial ice covering much of North America melted. Gradually water has eroded the falls back almost 7.5 miles to its present location. American Falls are 175 feet high with a 1,110-foot-long brink. Canadian Horse Falls are 167 feet high with a brink of 2,500 feet.
Water flowing over Niagara Falls comes from four of the Great Lakes. From here, the Niagara River flows north to Lake Ontario and then on to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the St. Lawrence River. Niagara Falls has been producing power since the 1800s and is one of the largest producers of electric power in the world.
ACTIVITIES - Niagara Reservation State Park, established in 1885, is America's oldest state park, open from late May through Labor Day. Terrapin Point on Goat Island provides one of the best views of Horseshoe Falls.
Go up the 100-foot observation tower at Prospect Point on Goat Island to get a spectacular view of the falls. Elevators descend from here into the gorge at the base of American Falls. Prospect Park has a visitor center showing "Niagara Wonders" hourly, Great Lakes gardens, tennis, fishing, kinetic water sculpture, snacks, and a theater. During the winter, go cross-country skiing.
Dine in Top of the Falls restaurant for a great view from all tables. To arrange for tours or special gatherings, call 716-285-3311.
Old Fort Niagara is open year-round. Its historic buildings were occupied by the military of several nations from 1726 until after World War II. It features cannon and musket firings, battle reenactments, eighteenth-century living demonstrations, and archeological programs. For information, call 716-745-7611.
Don a raincoat to visit Cave of the Winds at the base of Bridal Veil Falls on Goat Island. Tour Schoellkopf Geological Museum and take a Viewmobile ride through the park.
Go hiking into Niagara Gorge. Walk across Rainbow Bridge into Canada to a vantage point of the falls.
Take a Maid of the Mist boat tour, beginning from the base of the Observation Tower. Half-hour-long tours leave every 15 minutes from mid-May through late October. For information, call 716-284-8897. Boat tours also leave from the Canadian side of the falls.
The Aquarium of Niagara Falls at 701 Whirlpool overlooks Niagara Gorge and presents hourly dolphin and sea lion shows. For information, call 716-285-3575.
Whirlpool State Park features the raging Lower Niagara River as it forms a massive whirlpool in the Niagara Gorge. Come for a picnic, stop at several observation points, hike the nature trails, and go fishing.
Devil's Hole State Park features picnicking, observation points, an historical site, nature trails, and fishing.
Many fishing competitions are held in Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. For dates, call 1-800-338-7890. Fish Niagara River for trout, salmon, bass, pike, muskellunge, and panfish. For a current fishing report, call 716-433-5606.
Attend Niagara Falls' annual Festival of Lights held the end of November through early January to see hundreds of colored lights, old-fashioned animated displays, light shows, and entertainment nightly from 5:00-11:00.
Learn the story of Niagara Falls' electrical power generation at Power Vista on New York 104, Lewiston Road. The site is open year-round.
Wintergarden, located near the Convention Center on Rainbow Boulevard, is a glass-enclosed tropical park with ponds, waterfalls, and 7,000 trees. It's open year-round. For information, call 716-285-8007.
Bicycle enthusiasts can see the exhibit Pedaling History at the Burgwardt Bicycle Museum at 3943 North Buffalo Road on New York 240/277. It's the only all-bicycle museum in the U.S. For information, call 716-662-3853.
Many Niagara visitors go to Canada where the views of the Horseshoe Falls are more dramatic. The Canadian side has more commercial development with shops and restaurants. Attend an IMAX adventure and witness Niagara: Miracles, Myths, and Magic.
Campers who prefer leaving their cars behind while they tour can stay at the Niagara Glen-View Campground in Canada and catch a shuttle into the park from June through Labor Day. From the campground, hikers, joggers, and bicyclists can access the Niagara River Recreation Trail paralleling the Niagara River. It begins at Anger Avenue in Fort Erie and goes to Fort George at Niagara-on-the-Lake, 35 miles away.
Also from the Canadian side, walk through the Table Rock scenic tunnels behind Horseshoe Falls or ride aboard the Spanish aero car, a cable car carrying passengers 250 feet above Whirlpool Rapids. Take a Whirlpool Jet Whitewater boat ride IVi miles below the falls. If you prefer your thrills vicariously, experience Ride Niagara, a computer controlled, simulated ride over the falls.
Treat yourself to dinner at the Skylon Tower in the revolving dining room. For a spectacular view of the falls lit at night, plan to dine close to dusk. For reservations, call 416-356-2651.
For a unique view of the falls, take a helicopter ride over the falls. Helicopters are based by the Niagara Glen-View Campground in Canada.
Incoming pilots can land at Niagara Falls International Airport 4 miles east of Niagara Falls. Rental cars are available.
Niagara Reservation State Park Old Fort Niagara State Park
716-278-1770 Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 169
Niagara County Tourism Youngstown, New York 14174
139 Niagara Street 716-745-7611
Lockport, New York 14094
1-800-338-7890 Niagara Falls Visitor Information