It has been years since I visited Niagara Falls and when I was there a child my family and I only visited the Canadian side of the Falls. Last week I had the opportunity to tour Niagara Falls on the US side with the TMS Family Travel Conference. The conference was amazing and a highlight was visiting Niagara Falls itself. One of the attractions we visited during our time in Niagara was the “Cave of the Winds“ Tour on Goat Island.
We started off our tour by being outfitted with a bright yellow poncho and sandals. The sandals were really cute and we were told if we wanted to we could keep them as souvenirs. They never re-use the sandals after they are worn. If we did not choose to keep the sandals we could simply to leave them and they would be donated to charity. Most of us decided to donate our sandals – yes, Travel Bloggers are just that kind of good people. They also provided us with a plastic bag to keep our valuables dry.
Once we were outfitted it was time for us to ride the elevator 175 feet deep into the Niagara Gorge. I had no idea what to expect. When we exited the elevator we were in a tunnel. We walked through the tunnel and we emerged surprisingly close to the water but I still had no idea what to expect. We came out at the edge of the water and because it was in the evening, all the buildings around the water were lit up, the view was stunning and the weather was perfectly clear and warm.
Then I turned to my left and I was astounded to see that we were right at the Falls. As we walked down a wooden walkway we got closer and closer to the falls. There are a series of stairs and platforms and you have the choice to go down the stairs and get very close to the water if you like. Actually once you are on the observation deck you choose how high you want to go. Each deck will bring you higher and higher and if you don’t mind getting wet, and I mean soaked, you can experience the “Hurricane Deck.”
Can you believe that as you stand at the railing of the Hurricane deck you are only 20ft from the Bridal Veil Falls. You feel and hear the awesome power behind all those millions of gallons of water crashing down. The entire area is well lit, especially the falls, so night viewing is ideal. The view is just WOW! In Fact the entire experience is unique – the sound and the sight of that cascading waterfall is truly awesome. It was an amazing experience and was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody. Keep in mind if you go the Hurricane Deck, you are going to get wet, but you are going to laugh a lot! It is an experience of a lifetime.
It is really a multi-generation attraction, “A deck has been built 150 feet from the base of the Falls especially designed for handicapped and adults with children in arms.”
As you gaze at the stairs and platforms it is hard to imagine how they managed to build that apparatus stairs around the falls and into the rock.
While there is no actual cave anymore, the original cave was a natural cave behind Bridal Veil Falls 130 feet (40m) high, 100 feet (30m) wide and 30 feet (9m) in depth. It was discovered in 1834, and originally dubbed Aeolus’ Cave, after the Greek god of winds. Guided tours began officially in 1841, and continued until a rock fall in 1920 made it clear the passage was no longer safe. The cave was obliterated in a massive 1954 rock fall and subsequent dynamiting of a dangerous overhang.
Remember to bring your camera with you as there are great photo ops even if you don’t go up to the Hurricane Deck.
Once we headed back after we experienced all that the Falls had to offer – we were pleasantly surprised when a fireworks show over the water started. It was spectacular, a memorable experience. (see video below)
The price to the Cave of The Winds was reasonable, $11 for adults, $8 for children 6-12 and children under 6 are free. If you go during the evening during the summer the firework show starts at 10PM.
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Disclosure: I was given entrance to the Niagara Falls “Cave of the Winds” Tour on Goat Island as part of the TMS Family Travel Conference. All opinions expressed here are those solely of the writer.