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The last thing I remember about Niagara Falls was being 4 years old and getting pummeled by water on the Maid of the Mist, so this time around I was glad to skip that portion of the experience. I’m also not a fan of crowds in tight places. I imagined this boat experience would be less about meeting Leonardo DiCaprio and more about avoiding the iceberg that is pushy tourists.
When I say the only part about Niagara Falls that I remember is getting soaked, it’s totally true, so heading there again as an adult kind of felt like experiencing it for the first time. That being said, when I re-discovered Niagara Falls over Memorial Day weekend, it was not at all what I imagined. Now listen: this is a famous place that, yes, of course you should see it at least once in your lifetime. In my naïve mind though, it was going to be more of a nature experience. Instead, what I found was a hodge-podge Vegas/Universal Citywalk mash-up that had my adventurous soul feeling like I wandered into tacky tourist land. And yeah, I get it. These types of places are popular with a lot of people, but not me. Hey, you know what though? Live and learn. That’s what I’m sharing this with you. If you head to Niagara Falls, expect more of a tourist hub than an adventure spot.
On the plus side, the weather perked up, which was a welcome change from a chilly and rainy Toronto. After settling in, my folks and I made our way through the crowds down to where the actual falls were. It’s funny how you remember things bigger as a kid – even for those us who are practically still the same height as some children. While still cool to see, I genuinely found myself more fascinated by the fact that the state of New York was just across the way. As I began to reminisce about being in New York City at the same time last year, it suddenly occurred to this Superman fan that we were standing in a filming location for that 1980 classic Superman II.
For those of you unfamiliar with the film, toward the beginning, Lois and Clark are covering a story at Niagara Falls and posing as a couple on their honeymoon. Well, that also happened to be where my mom and dad took their honeymoon back in the day, so I thought it’d be fun to take a picture of them standing in one of the same spots Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve were at in the movie. Then, I could put the photos side by side as sort of a fun anniversary post for them. Well, I thought it was a cute idea anyway…
Easier said than done. The whole time I thought the pushy tourists would be confined to the boats. Meanwhile, there were plenty of pushy tourists on land. You could barely get through to the edge of the railing overlooking the falls. Unfortunately, we never got to make the photo happen, but we definitely had an adventure trying.
One of the most surprising things we discovered in Niagara Falls was just how expensive it is to eat there. And sorry kids, no Trader Joe’s to be found. So, if you’re traveling on a budget, definitely bring your own food to save yourself some money.
Something else to check out though is Niagara Falls at night. They light up the falls with different colors. Thank you, Dad, for the suggestion on that one.
We closed out the Niagara Falls portion of our Memorial Day weekend trip by indulging in a little cheesy tourism… by going through one of those haunted houses they had near the falls. Hey, I wasn't lying when I said this place was like a knock-off Universal Citywalk in LA. I have to admit, while I had gone through haunted houses before with friends, experiencing it with my folks was downright hilarious. It felt like something straight out of an Ellen Show segment with her producer, Andy.
All in all, I’ve had my fill of Niagara Falls, but I’m happy to report that since their honeymoon, Mom and Dad have upgraded their travels. And while I didn’t make the Superman II photo happen, I can at least dedicate this blog post to my parents and publish it on their anniversary. Happy 36th wedding anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you guys! May we all be so lucky to find someone wonderful to take adventures around the world with.
Jill Zwarensteyn is a television producer, writer, and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com