I have lived in the Niagara Region for over 10 years now and yet one attraction that I am embarrassed to say that I have never tried is the Whirlpool Aero Car. Being towards the end of May, I figured now would be the perfect time to finally “soar above the gorge”. Memorial Day weekend has just finalized and the children have a couple of weeks yet to go before school is out, so I knew it was the optimal time to visit to ensure little to no line-ups — and it’s a Wednesday. Perfect. So off I went.
First off, accessing the Whirlpool Aero Car from the Clifton Hill tourist district is easy. The Whirlpool Aero Car is located about 4.5 km north of the Horseshoe Falls at 3850 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, ON. By car it took me 10 minutes to drive there. The Whirlpool Aero Car is also one of the stops on the WEGO bus transit (Green line), which accesses all the Niagara Parks attractions. It will literally drop you off right at the doors to the attraction.
Within minutes, I was there and there is ample FREE parking located there and also runs all alongside the Parkway overlooking the gorge. Makes for terrific photos:
With the exception of a tour group that was just leaving, there were only about a handful of people there (just before noon). I purchased my ticket and I was told that they would announce when the next ride aboard the Whirlpool Aero Car would be and we would then board behind the ticket booth which leads down stairs to catch the ride.
*Please note: This attraction is NOT wheelchair accessible*
I had a few minutes to spare, so I took a couple of minutes to take a few photos of the attraction (formally known as the “Spanish Aero Car”) from a spot that overlooks the cable car and the gorge below. Beside the ticket booth there is also a gift shop where you can buy some Niagara Falls and Whirlpool Aero Car souvenirs and trinkets.
About the Whirlpool Aero Car
The Whirlpool Aero Car was built in Bilboa, Spain and was designed by a Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres Quevedo (1852-1939) and has been in operation since 1916. The cable car is suspended from six sturdy cables and operates on a back and forth principal. Propelled by a 60 horsepower engine which drives a 7/8 inch steel looped cable, each cable is attached to an anchorage at one end while tension is maintained by a 10 ton counterweight at the other end. It offers a wonderful view of the Niagara Whirlpool which is formed at the end of the rapids where the gorge turns abruptly counterclockwise, and the river escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.
The aerial cable car travels safely between two different points of the Canadian shore of the Niagara River over the spectacular Whirlpool. A round trip is about one kilometre (3,600 feet), carrying its capacity of 35 standing passengers, and is approximately 10 minutes long.
The price is $13.50+tax for Adults (13+) and $8.50+tax for Children (6-12). Children 5 and under are free at ALL Niagara Parks attractions.
For the Hours of Operation click here.
*The Whirlpool Aero Car welcomes Tour & Travel groups, in which group pricing is applicable when the appropriate number of guests are met. Please click here for terms and conditions, or call Call Toll Free 1-877-642-7275 ext. 2 for pricing and reservations.*
While waiting to board, I met a lovely couple. Funny, charismatic and charming, you could tell that these two live life to the fullest and it was a pleasure to have met them. Coincidentally, their last name was “Bond”, and I could tell from the few minutes that I got to know them that they lived up to this namesake! “My name is Bond…Steven Bond”, was how I was introduced.
While the cable car can hold up to 35 people, I’m not going to lie, I was relieved when there was a grand total of 7 of us (including the friendly and informative Niagara Parks staff member, Melissa). Having rode the Niagara SkyWheel, that soars 175 feet high above the ground overlooking the Niagara Falls, you would think that I would have nerves of steel — no pun intended — to handle riding the Whirlpool Aero Car that runs along by steel cables. In the back of my mind, I had pictured a single flimsy, rusty cable that connected the two sides of the Canadian shore of the Niagara River over the spectacular Whirlpool below — and the original cable too from 1916. This is clearly not the case! Like mentioned above, they use six, very sturdy cables and they were replaced in 1985.
The cable car takes you from “Colt’s Point” (which is the location of the ticket booth) to “Thompson’s Point”. You are suspended approximately 240 feet above the Niagara River.
*Pictured Above: Thompson’s Point. Side note: Also holds a “Rescue Car” should you need it! So NO, you will NOT get stuck!*
When I stepped into the aero car I felt immediately at ease when I realized how sturdy these cables were. Other than an initial jolt at the beginning and at the end of the ride, it is completely smooth sailing from one end to the other. While waiting for the aero car to begin its departure, may I remind you that it is a lot cooler that close to the Niagara River and with no obstacles in your way, the cross breeze is fierce! I started to get quite chilly and that was when Mrs. Bond (bless her heart) offered me her sweater for the duration of the ride. I refused at first, but she was adamant to help me. Meeting people like the Bond’s is exactly why I love my job so much.
*Pictured Above: Mrs.Bond and Myself*
I had a great time on the Whirlpool Aero Car, made even better by meeting new friends. I talk so much about the Niagara Falls, that it was really nice to catch some photos from a different perspective along the Niagara River, the Niagara Gorge and I even took some photos of my new conquest — the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours!
Here are some photos along my journey. Please click the thumbnails to access the full pictures:
Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to Melissa who was our friendly guide along the journey that answered all our questions!
*Pictured Above: Melissa — Our guide for the duration of the ride*