A Parent’s Guide of FREE Things to do with Kids in Niagara

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If you’re on a budget due to increased family expenses or other reasons, here’s a list of many different free things to do with kids in Niagara. After a long cold winter don’t miss out on a simple and inexpensive getaway this Spring season. There is lots to do at Niagara Falls and the surrounding region that will cost you nothing more than a tank of gas or Go Transit fare, where kids 12 and under travel for free.

Niagara Falls

You can view the Falls year round from observation points on both the American and Canadian sides of the Niagara River. But a visit to Niagara Falls Canada on a summer night will reveal a dazzling display of lights and fireworks. The roar of the Falls and the gently cool mist impresses young and old alike. You’ll rarely find a site as breathtaking and majestic as Niagara Falls. 

Niagara Falls
American Falls: 5920 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON
Canadian Falls: 6650 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Glen

Hike the Niagara Glen. For visitors looking to slip away from the hustle and bustle of the main Falls area, Niagara Glen offers an opportunity to view the natural, rugged beauty of the region. As one of Niagara’s favourite picnic spots, Niagara Glen boasts natural trails, rock climbing and access to the Niagara River.

Niagara Glen Nature Centre
3050 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L2E

Niagara Botanical Gardens

Visit the Niagara Botanical Gardens, a beautiful garden setting! The Park’s signature garden offers a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of Niagara’s tourist district.  Just ten minutes north of Clifton Hill, enjoy close to 100 acres of meticulously maintained gardens, home to the charming Butterfly Conservatory as well as the outdoor classroom for the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. Don’t miss its world-famous rose garden featuring over 2,400 roses.

Niagara Botantical Gardens
2565 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, L2E 2S7

Floral Clock

This horticulture wonder is located 8.8km north of Clifton Hill adjacent to the Centennial Lilac Garden and Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations. Millions of tourists marvel at the beauty of nature and human creativity with this clock. It’s also a great place to visit after eating a big lunch on Clifton Hill, where you can shave off some calories with a nice stroll through the nearby gardens.

Niagara Floral Clock
14004 Niagara Pkwy, Queenston, L0S 1L0

Queen Victoria Park

Have a picnic in Queen Victoria Park, while viewing the beautiful Niagara Falls. Queen Victoria Park is the crown jewel of Niagara’s Parks, and is the main area to go to view the majestic Niagara Falls. Landmarked by the Niagara escarpment, the Niagara Gorge, and the Niagara River, the park features a prized collection of both indigenous and international flora for the world to enjoy. The majority of plants are labelled for the education of the local and out of town visitors. The park offers a romantic stone garden, rose garden, and attractive carpet bed displays. A convenient number of park benches and finely manicured lawns provide a pleasant opportunity for relaxation for the weary traveler. Landscape illumination is an integral part of the park environment, as is the illumination of the Falls.

Niagara Falls Illumination

It costs nothing to watch this spectacular light show on the American and Horseshoe Falls. Every night in April from 8:00 pm – 2:00 am the Niagara Falls will illuminate in a sea of colours.

A journey down Clifton Hill will lead you to either the Oakes Garden Theatre or Queen Victoria Park, both of which provide breathtaking views!

It doesn’t get much more charming than seeing Niagara Falls illuminated in a variety of beautiful colours.

Falls Illumination Schedule

FEBRUARY 1 – MARCH 115:30 PM – 1 AM
MARCH 12 – MARCH 317:30 PM – 2 AM
APRIL 1- MAY 148:00 PM – 2 AM
MAY 15 – JULY 318:30 PM – 2 AM
AUGUST 1 – AUGUST 158:00 PM – 2 AM
AUGUST 16 – AUGUST 317:30 PM – 2 AM
SEPTEMBER 1 – 197:00 PM – 2 AM
SEPTEMBER 20 – 306:30 PM – 2 AM
OCTOBER 1 – 156:15 PM – 2 AM
OCTOBER 16 – OCTOBER 316:00 PM – 2 AM

Nightly presentations seven days a week, as well as special illuminations, will provide you and your family with several opportunities to sneak a peak beneath the stars amid the most beautiful setting.

Illumination at Queen Victoria Park
6345 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, L2E 6X8

Dufferin Islands

Dufferin Islands. This is a secluded paradise that is unique in that it houses a series of tiny islands joined together by bridges and footpaths. This area is a miniature paradise with the introduction of fish, bird feeding stations and bird boxes, as well as environmentally appropriate vegetation. The “catch and release” fish program has been incredibly popular with the public.

Dufferin Islands
6345 Dufferin Isle Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L0S 1A0

Niagara Falls History Museum

Visit the Niagara Falls History Museum. Visitors to the Museum in the heart of Niagara Falls will experience history during their visit. While here try on a replica uniform from the War of 1812 and feel the wool and the weight of a musket, build a bridge to span the Niagara Gorge or walk the tightrope like the daredevils from the past. Admission is free for children under 5 years old anytime and free for all ages on Thursday’s from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

Niagara Falls History Museum
5810 Ferry Street , Niagara Falls L2G 1S9

Kingsbridge Park

This public park is a significant gathering point and site for both visitors and the local community.  Not only does the park act as a gateway, connecting the South Niagara Parkway to Queen Victoria Park, but it is also a key trail connector for those using the Niagara River Recreational Trail. 

Kingsbridge Park
7870 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON L0S 1J0

Oakes Garden Theatre

Oakes Garden Theatre is a spectacular garden entrance-way to Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Parks’ centerpiece that showcases the Falls. Located at the foot of Clifton Hill, this is the perfect spot for a superb panoramic view of the American and Horseshoe Falls.

When it was built in 1936, designers took advantage of the shape of the existing grounds to form a curved pergola overlooking the amphitheatre. Decorative iron gates, Queenston limestone edging, stone gardens, water features, ponds and bordering shrub have been meticulously integrated to the formal garden design.

Oakes Garden Theatre
5825 River Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3K9

Heartland Forest

Heartland Forest teaches everyone, young and old, about the diverse natural habitats of wildlife. Free admission with access to a land of forest trails, outdoor learning centres, home to a turtle, fish and frog pond, one of the largest tree houses in Canada with a 210 foot ramp, and streams and pools set within a Carolinian forest.

Heartland Forest
8215 Heartland Forest Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2H 0L5

Niagara Parkway Biking

The Niagara Parkway is a key destination for cyclists, offering the 54-kilometre Niagara River Recreation Trail, which spans the entire length of the Niagara River corridor from Fort Erie, past Niagara Falls, and into Niagara-on-the-Lake. Riding along the Recreation Trail is a visual oasis that boasts gardens, recreation, hiking, bouldering, golf courses, restaurants, heritage and historic sites, gift shops and the Niagara Falls.

Fort Erie: 350 Lakeshore Rd, Fort Erie, ON L2A 1B1
Fort George: 51 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0

Outdoor Splash Pads

Splash pads are located at MacBain Community Centre, Niagara Falls Lions Park, FH Leslie Park, Patrick Cummings Memorial Sports Complex, EE Mitchelson and Prince Charles Parks. Splash pads will open by June 1st, weather permitting (subject to change).

  • MacBain Community Centre, 7150 Montrose Road, Niagara Falls
  • Niagara Falls Lions Park, 4981 Drummond Rd, Niagara Falls
  • Patrick Cummings Park, 8965 Willoughby Dr, Niagara Falls
  • E. E. Mitchelson Park, 3750-3800 Springdale Ave., Niagara Falls
  • Kingsbridge Park, 7870 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls
  • Queenston Heights Park, 14184 Niagara Parkway, Queenston

Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm

It’s absolutely free and contains an animal farm for viewing, a playground, a picnic area and pavilion, and 2 ponds on site. Open from Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving weekend.

Happy Rolph’s
650 Read Rd, St. Catharines, ON L2R 7K6

Welland Canal

It’s the largest canal observation deck in Niagara. View massive ships travel from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The observation deck and parking is free. Call the Lock 3 Viewing Complex and Museum at 1-800-305-5134 for more information. The Welland Canal Museum is open daily, year round. Suggested donation is $4 per person.

Welland Canal Centre
1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines, ON L2R 7K6

Morningstar Mill & Museum

Morningstar Mill & Mountain Mills Museum at DeCew Falls. This is a heritage site owned by the City of St. Catharines and operated in partnership with the Friends of Morningstar Mill. It features a working grist mill rebuilt in 1872, and the home of the Morningstar family restored up to 1933. Speaking of DeCew Falls, visit these other various Niagara Hidden Gems for free!

Morningstar Mill
2714 Decew Rd, St. Catharines, ON

Walk Clifton Hill: The World Famous Street of Fun by the Falls

Clifton Hill is Niagara Falls top destination for attractions, restaurants, entertainment and more, but just mingling in and around the Hill is amusing fun too. Located just one block away from the Niagara Horseshoe Falls, next to Queen Victoria Park, walk among the hulking neon signs, window displays of life-size wax figures, live music on the patios, haunted houses with their scary presentations and try not be lured in by yummy smells of the live fudge making at Fudge Factory and others nearby.

Save $30 Off Clifton Hill Attractions

Save money on Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls with our Clifton Hill Fun Pass. Walking, window shopping, and enjoying the sights and sounds on the “Street of Fun by the Falls” is always free of course to witness, but to take part in the attractions there are definitely ways to save money! The Fun Pass is the best way to to get more for less.

Are you a single parent and have activities that you wish to share on fun, free things to do with kids in Niagara? Please share in the comment section.

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