Planning to visit Niagara Falls, Canada and take in all the sights? Then you are probably wondering if you should purchase the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Classic sold by Niagara Parks which includes four top attractions as well as transportation.
Is the Adventure Pass Worth the Cost?
If you are planning to see all of the included attractions then the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Classic is a great deal. Tickets to each of the attractions may be purchased separately, however, the pass saves you money if you are planning to see at least 3 of the 4 attractions plus you get a 48 hour bus pass and a number of bonus coupons.
For example, the attractions priced separately are:
Hornblower Cruise - $ 19.95
Journey Behind the Falls - $ 15.95
Niagara's Fury - $ 13.50
White Water Walk - $ 10.95
WEGO Bus Service - $ 10.00
Anyone who is planning to take one of the cruises and visit any two of the other attractions or use the WEGO hop on, hop off bus service is better off purchasing a pass than buying separate admissions. There are also bonus coupons included with the pass including discounted admission to a few other attractions such as the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory.
How Does it Work?
Passes may be booked online and eticket vouchers printed at home. The vouchers can then be redeemed at a Welcome Centre booth or at any of the attractions on the Pass. When the vouchers are presented at the Welcome Centre, you will receive a scan card and a lanyard to make it easy to carry around as well as bonus coupons and a map of the Niagara Falls tourist areas. When you redeem the vouchers you will also make timed ticket reservations for each of the attractions which makes it easy to plan the day. If you need to change the time for any reason then return to one of the Welcome Centre booths and they will be happy to rebook for you. If you didn't book online beforehand then passes may be purchased at any Welcome Centre booth.
It's fine to spread out the attraction visits over several days of a stay (and probably preferable) but we were only in the city for two days so we had to fit them into a shorter period of time. We chose to visit Journey Behind the Falls and Niagara's Fury on day one of our visit and the Hornblower cruise and the White Water Walk on the second day.
What is Included with the Pass?
The pass includes admission to the following four attractions as well as transportation via the WEGO bus system around the Niagara Falls tourist area for 48 hours and a number of bonus coupons valued at $55.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises
We have cruised before on the Maid of the Mist tour boat that previously operated in Niagara Falls, Canada but this was our first time with Hornblower Niagara Cruises which started operations on the Canadian side of the falls in spring 2014. The tour is basically the same but aboard new state-of-the-art 700 passenger catamaran boats. Passengers queue for the cruise starting at street level and then down a set of stairs where they are handed plastic ponchos prior to boarding a vessel at Hornblower's dock.
The boat sets sail passing the American Falls as it heads to the basin of Horseshoe Falls. We cruised on a windy day so the closer we got to the roar of the Falls, the wetter it became as the blowing mist made it nearly impossible to see although a lot of selfies were still being taken with the incredible backdrop of the thundering Falls. The dripping passengers squealing with delight didn't seem to mind getting wet one bit - it's actually refreshing on a hot and humid summer day. A few minutes later you are back where you started - a little wetter perhaps but thrilled with having been so close to one of the Natural Wonders of the World.
Journey Behind the Falls
At Journey Behind the Falls, visitors descend by elevator 45 metres (150 feet) below ground to explore the tunnels built behind the Falls. Upon exiting the elevator, visitors are provided with the ubiquitous plastic poncho and can then embark on a self-guided tour of the tunnels. Be sure to take the time to read the boards posted along the walls of the tunnels which provide interesting information about the history of the Falls and construction of the tunnels.
There are two portals which provide a view of the water rushing over the Falls at 65 kilometres an hour and a barrier that prevents anyone from getting too close to the edge. There is also a two-level outdoor observation deck at the foot of Horseshoe Falls. The top level is covered and open year-round while the bottom level is exposed to the elements and not open in the winter as it would ice up. Incredible views of the Falls and of the Hornblower Cruise boats can be had from both decks but you will be happy to have that plastic poncho on the lower deck particularly if it is a windy day.
Niagara's Fury takes place in a specially-designed, 360 degree theatre, and is billed as a 4-D multisensory experience - it doesn't disappoint. I never would have considered visiting this attraction if I hadn't had the Adventure Pass and I'm glad I did. We were handed plastic ponchos on the way into the theatre so I knew that there was a chance of getting wet but other than that I had no idea what to expect.
It starts quite innocently with an animated movie starring Chip the Beaver who is learning about the history of Niagara Falls for a school assignment. While watching the film, I was confused as to what was actually going to happen as I kept thinking that we couldn't possibly be getting wet in this theatre because the flooring was carpet. We soon discovered that this was just the pre-show and as the film ended, we were ushered into a second theatre with drains in the floor and metal bars to hold onto. It's not easy to describe what happens while watching Niagara's Fury: Creation of the Falls but don't be surprised if you are soon screaming as if you were heading over the Falls yourself!
White Water Walk
The White Water Walk is located along the Niagara Parkway outside the main Falls tourist area. This is another attraction that I hadn't heard of so would never have considered visiting but for the Adventure Pass. Visitors take an elevator down 70 metres and then walk through a tunnel to get to the wooden boardwalk which is built along this stretch of the Niagara River. It's a relatively easy and pleasant stroll along the boardwalk which extends for 305 metres (1,000 feet or 1/4 mile) and there are a couple of observation areas that provide an opportunity for striking photographs of the river. The water travels through the rapids here at approximately 48 km/hour (30 mph) creating Class 6 white water rapids - considered unrunnable.
WEGO Bus System
Having the hop-on, hop-off bus system included in the price of the Adventure Pass makes getting around the city much easier - especially in bad weather. We like to walk so we spent most of our time on foot but did catch the bus a couple of times because it was so hot out and we didn't want to walk a long distance. There are four separate (colour coded) routes that connect hotels and tourist attractions throughout the city and will get you pretty much anywhere that you want to go. All bus lines conveniently meet at the Table Rock Centre. The bus runs year-round and there's an App available for mobile devices that will locate the bus and provide an arrival time for the stop that you are waiting at. Although you can spread the Adventure Pass attraction visits over several days, the WEGO pass is only good for 48 hours from the time of first use.
We have been to Niagara Falls many times but had only ever experienced the cruise to the base of the Falls. On our recent visit we had the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Classic and enjoyed having the opportunity to see the four attractions. I hadn't heard of Niagara's Fury or the White Water Walk prior to this visit so would have been unlikely to have visited them but for their inclusion with the pass - and both were quite interesting. We were only in town for just over 24 hours though and it was a bit rushed trying to fit in all four attractions in that time period. If you have 2 or 3 days in the Falls and can space out attraction visits with other activities then the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Classic is definitely the route to take.
What You Need To Know
- The Adventure Pass Classic is $49.95 + tax for adults; Children aged 6-12 is $36.95; Children aged 5 and under are free. The pass can be purchased online at the Niagara Parks website. (2014 prices are valid May 1st-November 16, 2014)
- E-tickets purchased online may be printed at home but must be exchanged at a Niagara Parks Welcome Centre booth or at one of the attractions to receive the full Adventure Pass package including lanyards, scan cards, bonus coupons and a Niagara Falls map.
- The Butterfly Conservatory, Whirlpool Aero Car, and Floral Showcase can be added-on at a reduced price from regular admissions.
- WEGO transportation is only valid for two consecutive days from the first time you board a WEGO bus.
- Niagara Parks also offers a Niagara Falls Adventure Pass Nature (Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Butterfly Conservatory, Floral Showcase and Whirlpool Aero Car); Niagara Falls Wonder Pass available fall, winter and early spring (Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara's Fury and Butterfly Conservatory); and Niagara Heritage Trail Pass (Old Fort Erie, Laura Secord Homestead, McFarland House and Mackenzie Printery).
Thank you to Niagara Parks for providing my family with Niagara Falls Adventure Passes. Any opinions expressed are mine alone.
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