The actual waterfalls themselves are the main attraction in Niagara Falls, but the area surrounding the natural wonder – on both sides of the border – is jam-packed with attractions and things to do as well. Many of these attractions feature wildlife from the sea, land, and air, both native species in their natural habitats and more exotic creatures from distant lands.
If you’re an animal lover looking for things to do in Niagara Falls, you can’t miss some of these great ventures. Most are located within a short distance of the falls and the most popular hotels even include them in their Niagara Falls vacation packages. Whether you spend an afternoon at one of these, or add several to your itinerary, you’re bound to be amazed at the diversity of wildlife in the Niagara region.
Following is our list, in no particular order, of the best places to check out wildlife in Niagara Falls.
Things To do in Niagara Falls – Where to See Wildlife
Operated by Niagara Parks, the Butterfly Conservatory is located on the grounds of the Niagara Botanical Gardens on the Canadian side of the falls. With almost 2,000 butterflies representing 45 different species from around the world. During your visit, you can explore winding paths through tropical vegetation in the glass conservatory, learning more about the different types of butterflies and their lifecycle. If you’re lucky (and wear brightly colored clothing) you might even have one of the delicate creatures land on you for an up-close visit.
Located a short walk from the falls, the Bird Kingdom is the largest free-flying aviary in the world. Visitors can get up close and personal with hundreds of birds and exotic animals while exploring the multi-level rainforest. Animal encounters provide the opportunity to touch and hold exotic creatures like snakes and lizards, while Lorikeet Landing is the place to feed friendly lorikeets and capture some fantastic photos.
Combining a zoo, aquarium, and amusement park, MarineLand is worth spending an entire day. With daily presentations and shows featuring orcas, belugas, dolphins, and polar bears – including the opportunity to actually touch and interact with the belugas – as well as a zoo featuring wildlife from North America, MarineLand is a favorite with kids. Of course, if you want to get wild yourself, MarineLand has more than a dozen rides that will thrill adults and kids alike.
Aquarium of Niagara
Located on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, the Aquarium of Niagara is devoted to research and conservation of aquatic wildlife. One of the most popular experiences here is the Penguin Encounter, during which you’ll have the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with one of the aquarium’s Humboldt Penguins. Sea lion shows and feeding sessions are also can’t-miss experiences at the Aquarium.
Niagara Falls State Park Hiking Trails
Niagara Falls State Park encompasses much of Niagara Falls on the U.S. side, and offers many attractions to experience the falls themselves, but the park also has several miles of hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty. Along the trails you’ll spot views of the Niagara River, Gorge, and Falls, but also spot some of the wildlife that calls the region home. An afternoon spent on the trails is a nice respite from the bustling city areas, and a great way to experience the natural beauty of Niagara Falls.
Niagara Glen Nature Areas
Hiking is also an option on the Canadian side of the falls, at Niagara Glen. With over several miles of hiking trails, you can explore the Canadian forest and the flora and fauna that call it home. This is also a good place to watch the Niagara River Rapids and the Niagara River Whirlpool.
Just a short drive from Niagara Falls (about 30 minutes), the Buffalo Zoo is the third oldest in the U.S. and home to hundreds of species from around the world, including mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Take a few moments to feed one of the zoo’s gentle giraffes, or schedule a rhino encounter to learn more about the threats to these unique animals.
The Niagara Falls area literally has something for everyone – and animal lovers are no exception. When you’re planning your getaway, check out some of these options to have the chance to see some of the world’s most incredible and unique creatures, and make lifelong memories.
What are your favorite things to do in Niagara Falls