Niagara Falls on a Budget
With all the recent talk of fiscal restraint and budgets, I thought it would be timely to talk about families wanting to get away for a day or so, in a cost effective manner. You may want to print this post and bring it with you on your day of adventure in Niagara Falls.
A little pre-planning saves you money. Plan for a day of multiple snacks rather than sitting down for one big meal. Pack a few bags of goodies, such as trail mix, nuts and dried fruit before you head out. Once on the road, take a slight detour to pick up some fresh Niagara tender fruits (eg. Peaches are currently in season), at one of many roadside stands. A small cooler bag or lunch bag in the car is all you will need (you will learn why soon).
Before heading out, I highly recommended that you read this section on out how to get here and where to park. This will save you valuable time and money. Be sure to leave early, and plan to arrive at arround 10 AM.
If you’re traveling by car on the QEW towards Niagara Falls from either direction, do not take Hwy 420. Instead continue to McLeod Rd taking the McLeod Rd east exit (towards Marineland) and continue to Stanley Avenue. Turn left on Stanley and continue to Robinson St. (you will see a large Skywheel billboard) Turn right on Robinson and continue to the end of the road. Park in the lot on your left.
Once you are in the lot continue until you get as close to the Niagara Skywheel as possible and park. This route just saved you traveling through the heart of the city and heavy traffic. Parking in this lot can save you as much as $10 and puts you in the center of the Niagara Falls entertainment district, with easy access to the Parks, Falls and Clifton Hill.
Here is where the fun begins:
Pick up some Fun Passes at the Niagara Skywheel information booth. You get 5 attractions at $5 each plus Midway tokens. $24.95 for Adults and $19.95 for Kids. For a family of four, you can save over $95 (after tax) on your entertainment for the day!
Following this, take a stroll to the Rainbow Bridge just a short jaunt down Clifton Hill. Once you get on the bridge you will discover some of the best views of both the Canadian Horseshoe and American Falls. For just 50 cents each, you can walk out to the center of the Rainbow Bridge and get some amazing pictures. One foot in Canada and one in the USA. The Canadian and American Falls provide an amazing backdrop, along with the Canadian parklands and Niagara Skywheel nearby. Take your time and get some great pictures then simply walk back to Canada! Just make sure you have proper ID for everyone in your group. Your friends and family back home will wonder how you managed to get such interesting photos. You could also share these photos on Clifton Hill’s Facebook or Twitter pages!
[youtube width=”500″ height=”375″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fs3o1MALgw[/youtube]
On the way back to Clifton Hill, be sure to stop by Movieland Wax Museum, which is this first attraction you’ll see walking up the hill. This one of a kind attraction showcases the world’s most famous stars in wax! After mingling with the stars, recharge your batteries and grab some fresh cut fries or a soft ice cream at the nearby concessions.
There is still a lot left on your FUN PASS and you can start up again by testing your skills at the nearby Dinosaur Adventure Golf attraction. From here you can move onto the Niagara Skywheel, for breath taking views of the Falls and a chance to sit down and relax in the air conditioned gondolas. Next head off to the Midway for Ghost Blasters and the FX Ride Theatre for some thrills and action. Remember, you also have some Great Canadian Midway tokens to use throughout the 70,000 sq ft arcade. If your taste buds are itching for another quick snack head into Boston Pizza where you can play interactive games and split a small pizza. Cash in your winnings and get ready for the next part of your budget day in Niagara Falls.
Off to the Park
Head back to your car and drive back towards the Robinson street entrance where you started the day.
Park as close to the entrance as you can, but don’t exit the lot. At the foot of Robinson (in the turn around) there is a staircase and path that leads you down into the Niagara Parks called the Jolley Cut. Locals have used this for years and it is a well-kept secret. Grab your snacks and head on down to the Park (remember the cooler bag I told you to keep in the car?). You just saved up to $20 in parking! Enjoy your time in the park and when it is time to go, simply walk up Murray Street, cut through the Skylon Tower parking lot and you are right back at your car.
Retrace your route and you are on your way home after a unique and affordable day in Niagara Falls.
Let’s add up the cost of a full day of fun on a budget. 2 adult Fun Passes $49.90, 2 kids Fun Passes $39.90, snacks(ice cream or Fries and a drink) $15, Bridge toll for 4 people $2 ,an individual pizza shared with drinks for 4 people $25, parking $10-15. Your entire day cost under $150 for a family of 4.