Do you want to play tourist in Niagara Falls, but you have a budget that you can’t break? Here are 5 ways to be a tourist for a day without actually spending any cash…and still experience the wonder of Canada’s most famous falls, and its world reknown sites you need to see at least once.
Besides the majestic Niagara Falls, the Floral Clock is arguably the most photographed attraction here. The best part? It’s free to witness. The floral design is changed twice a year according to the season. The face of the clock is maintained by the Niagara Parks horticulture staff. It is a fully functional clock, whose mechanism is kept working by Ontario Hydro.
The clock is 40 feet (12 metres) wide, making it one of the largest floral clocks in the world. The face of the clock is filled with 15,000 to 20,000 carpet plants and colourful annuals. Behind the clock, there is a tower that reaches 7 metres tall which houses Westminster chimes that greet visitors each quarter hour.
Location: 14004 Niagara Pkwy, Queenston, ON. Parking, washrooms and a gift shop are provided just north at the Centennial Lilac Garden.
Niagara Glen Nature Reserve
If you enjoy hiking, cycling, bird watching, and just taking in scenery, then you will love the spectacular views of the Niagara Gorge. The Niagara Glen is a natural paradise you most definitely will need to take in! It’s one of the best, completely free Niagara experiences. Head to the Niagara Glen Nature Centre, in which the Niagara Parks staff educates the public on the environmental and historical significance of the Niagara Glen. New as of July 2017, is the revitalization of the Centre, complete with its newest “Nature Exchange” program.
The Niagara Glen was designated a Nature Reserve in 1992, and it is a geological snapshot of 460 million years of natural history and the evolution of Niagara Falls. There are approximately 490 species of plants and animals that live here. Bring your camera (and comfortable footwear)!
Location: Niagara Glen Nature Centre, 3050 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, ON.
Free Views Of The Niagara Falls
If you want incredible views of the Niagara Falls and don’t mind paying for an attraction, we recommend climbing to the top of the Skylon Tower, observing from the Niagara SkyWheel, viewing from the Journey Behind the Falls, or getting up close (and wet!) aboard the Hornblower Niagara Cruises. On the US side, try the Cave of the Winds, or the Maid of the Mist boat ride.
HOWEVER, you can get great views without spending a dime from the Table Rock Complex (and seeing its newest Canada 150 sign set up until the end of 2017!), from Queen Victoria Park, along the Niagara Parkway, and from Clifton Hill’s beautiful Oakes Garden Theatre.
Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens
The Niagara Parks is known for maintaining its impeccable gardens, so you need to experience first-hand the grounds of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. At the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, you get to enjoy close to 100 acres of perfectly groomed floral and planted paradise. You’ll see perennials, rhododendrons, azaleas, formal parterre garden, shade, herb and vegetable plantings, as well as the world-famous rose garden featuring over 2,400 roses.
It’s free to wonder these gardens and its open all year round. Parking is $5.00.
Location: 2565 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, ON.
Queenston Heights Park
You can’t visit Niagara without setting foot upon a piece of important Canadian historical significance. During the War of 1812, Queenston Heights was the grounds of the historic “Battle of Queenston Heights”. Erected on the grounds here is the famous “Brock’s Monument“. It is where Sir General Brock died heroically in a fight of courageous effort and strength. Visitors can tour the battlefield, and climb the monument for an amazing view of the land. This monuments stands 56 metres. It was rebuilt in 1853 after being bombed by a terrorist in 1840.
Queenston Heights Park commemorates both Sir Isaac Brock and Laura Secord, for their roles during the War of 1812 with memorials. Have a picnic here, there’s a splash pad for the kids, a band shell, tennis courts and a snack bar.
Location: 14184 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON.