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

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Are you looking to plan a family getaway without breaking the bank? We totally get it – family expenses can add up, but that shouldn’t stop you from having fun! In this post, we’ve put together a list of awesome free activities you can enjoy with your kids in Niagara.

After enduring a long, cold winter, spring is finally here, and it’s the perfect time to escape for a simple and affordable adventure. Luckily, Niagara Falls and its surrounding region offer plenty of exciting things to do that won’t cost you a dime – just a tank of gas or a Go Transit fare. Plus, if you’re traveling with kiddos aged 12 and under, they ride for free on Go Transit! So, let’s explore all the amazing free activities waiting for you in Niagara this spring.

Niagara Falls

Experience the Magic of Niagara Falls

Throughout the year, visitors can admire the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls from observation points on both the American and Canadian sides of the Niagara River. However, a summer night in Niagara Falls, Canada, unveils a spectacular show of lights and fireworks, casting a mesmerizing glow over the cascading waters.

The thundering roar of the falls, coupled with the gentle cool mist, captivates visitors of all ages, leaving them in awe of the natural wonder before them. Truly, there are few sights 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

Explore the Tranquility of the Niagara Glen

If you’re seeking a break from the crowds and noise of the main Falls area, Niagara Glen is the perfect retreat. Here, you can immerse yourself in the raw, untouched beauty of the region. Known as one of Niagara’s beloved picnic spots, Niagara Glen features serene natural trails, opportunities for rock climbing, and direct access to the majestic Niagara River. It’s the ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and those craving a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

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

Niagara Botanical Gardens

Explore the Serenity of Niagara Botanical Gardens

Discover the beauty of Niagara Botanical Gardens, an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling tourist hub of Niagara. Located just a short ten-minute drive north of Clifton Hill, this sprawling park spans nearly 100 acres of meticulously manicured gardens. It’s home to the delightful Butterfly Conservatory and serves as the outdoor classroom for the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. Be sure to wander through its renowned rose garden, boasting over 2,400 roses and captivating visitors from around the globe.

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

Floral Clock

Be Mesmerized by Nature’s Beauty at the Floral Clock

Just a short 8.8km drive north of Clifton Hill, near the Centennial Lilac Garden and Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations, you’ll find the mesmerizing Floral Clock. This captivating attraction draws millions of tourists with its unique blend of natural splendor and human craftsmanship. After exploring the excitement of Clifton Hill’s Street of Fun, why not unwind with a leisurely stroll through this natural wonder? It’s the perfect way to appreciate nature’s beauty while getting some exercise.

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

Queen Victoria Park

Experience Nature’s Beauty at Queen Victoria Park

Indulge in a picnic at Queen Victoria Park while taking in the breathtaking views of Niagara Falls. As the crown jewel of Niagara’s Parks, Queen Victoria Park offers the prime location to admire the majestic falls. Surrounded by the Niagara escarpment, the Niagara Gorge, and the Niagara River, the park showcases a diverse collection of indigenous and international flora, with most plants labeled for educational purposes.

Explore the gorgeous stone garden, vibrant rose garden, and charming carpet bed displays scattered throughout the park. With numerous park benches and meticulously maintained lawns, Queen Victoria Park provides the perfect setting for relaxation after a day of exploring.

At night, don’t miss the beautiful landscape illumination, enhancing the park’s ambiance, along with the mesmerizing illumination of the Falls themselves. Queen Victoria Park offers a serene escape into nature’s wonders, right at the heart of Niagara Falls at the bottom of Clifton Hill.

Niagara Falls Illumination

Experience the Mesmerizing Light Show at Niagara Falls

Witness the breathtaking spectacle of the illuminated American and Horseshoe Falls, a captivating display of colors that lights up the night sky. Every evening in April, from 8:00 pm to 2:00 am, Niagara Falls transforms into a mesmerizing canvas of vibrant hues.

Take a stroll down Clifton Hill to reach either the Oakes Garden Theatre or Queen Victoria Park, where you can marvel at the stunning views of the illuminated falls. There’s no better way to end your day than by witnessing the charm of Niagara Falls adorned in a myriad of beautiful colors.

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

Discover the Hidden Gem of Dufferin Islands

Dufferin Islands is a hidden paradise, featuring a collection of small islands connected by charming bridges and footpaths. This secluded oasis offers a unique blend of nature and tranquility.

Explore this nearby paradise adorned with fish, bird feeding stations, bird boxes, and lush vegetation, all thoughtfully designed to create an environmentally friendly habitat.

One of the highlights is the “catch and release” fish program, which has become a favorite among visitors, adding to the allure of this scenic retreat.

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

Niagara Falls History Museum

Explore the Niagara Falls History Museum

Step into history at the Niagara Falls History Museum, located in the heart of Niagara Falls. Dive into the past with interactive exhibits that let you experience history firsthand.

Try on a replica uniform from the War of 1812 and feel the weight of a musket, build a bridge over the Niagara Gorge, or test your balance on a tightrope like the daring daredevils of yesteryear.

Admission is free for children under 5 years old at all times and free for all ages on Thursdays from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

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

Kingsbridge Park

Experience Kings Bridge Park: Your Riverside Retreat

Located just 5 minutes upstream from the Falls, Kings Bridge Park in the former village of Chippawa is a beloved destination. With playground facilities, a wading pool for kids, picnic pavilions, and easy access to the Niagara River Recreational Trail, it’s perfect for families seeking outdoor fun. Keep in mind that parking costs $10 during the summer, available only on Fridays through Sundays. Chippawa Creek borders the park, offering a popular swimming area, but caution is advised due to strong currents, suitable for strong swimmers only. Rich in history, the park sits at the confluence of the Niagara River and Welland River, once a bustling commercial hub. Today, Chippawa is a sought-after residential area with a thriving tourist scene. Enjoy open-air picnic tables, covered pavilions, fishing spots, birdwatching, hiking trails, partial wheelchair access, restrooms, and the option to reserve the covered pavilion for large gatherings.

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

Oakes Garden Theatre

Discover Oakes Garden Theatre: Your Gateway to Natural Beauty

Situated at the foot of Clifton Hill, Oakes Garden Theatre serves as a breathtaking entrance to Queen Victoria Park, the heart of Niagara Parks and home to the iconic Falls. Established in 1936, this meticulously designed garden offers a stunning panoramic view of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. The curved pergola, overlooking the amphitheater, takes advantage of the natural shape of the grounds, while decorative iron gates, Queenston limestone edging, stone gardens, water features, ponds, and lush shrubbery seamlessly blend into the formal garden design. Whether you’re seeking tranquility amidst nature’s splendor or a picturesque backdrop for your adventures, Oakes Garden Theatre welcomes you to immerse yourself in its timeless beauty.

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

Heartland Forest

Explore Nature’s Wonders at Heartland Forest

At Heartland Forest, visitors of all ages can embark on a journey to discover the rich diversity of wildlife habitats. With free admission, you can immerse yourself in a world of forest trails, outdoor learning centers, and captivating attractions. Witness the harmony of nature at the turtle, fish, and frog pond, or ascend to new heights on one of Canada’s largest treehouses, boasting a remarkable 210-foot ramp. As you explore the streams and pools nestled within the serene Carolinian forest, you’ll experience firsthand the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

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

Niagara Parkway Biking

Discover the Beauty of the Niagara Parkway

The Niagara Parkway is a haven for cyclists, featuring the picturesque 54-kilometer Niagara River Recreation Trail. Stretching from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake, this scenic route offers cyclists a captivating journey along the Niagara River corridor. As you pedal along the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views of gardens, hiking trails, golf courses, and historic landmarks, including the majestic Niagara Falls. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, the Niagara Parkway promises a memorable experience for cyclists of all levels.

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

Cool Off at Niagara’s Splash Pads

Niagara offers several splash pads perfect for beating the heat during the summer months. You can find them at MacBain Community Centre, Niagara Falls Lions Park, FH Leslie Park, Patrick Cummings Memorial Sports Complex, EE Mitchelson, and Prince Charles Parks. These refreshing spots are scheduled to open by June 1st, depending on the weather conditions. So, pack your swimsuits and get ready to make a splash!

  • 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

Experience Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm

Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm, owned and operated by the City of St. Catharines, is a delightful destination for all ages! Located at 650 Read Rd., this charming farm offers a free and enjoyable experience for visitors. Encounter a variety of farm animals up close and immerse yourself in the beauty of diverse birds and plants in the natural, outdoor setting. Relax by the shores of Lake Ontario or beside two tranquil ponds while taking in the serene surroundings. The park also provides amenities such as a playground, pavilion, and scenic walking trails, making it the perfect spot for a day of family fun or leisurely exploration. Best of all, admission is free, and the farm is open from Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving weekend.

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

Welland Canal

Experience the Welland Canal Lock 3 Museum

Visit the Welland Canal Lock 3 Museum, home to the largest canal observation deck in Niagara! Watch massive ships journey from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario from the free observation deck while learning about the rich history of the Welland Canal. For more information, contact the Lock 3 Viewing Complex and Museum at 1-800-305-5134. The Welland Canal Museum, open daily year-round, welcomes visitors with a suggested donation of $5 per person.

Explore the Welland Canals Centre and enjoy its elevated observation platform, offering spectacular views of ships from around the world navigating Lock 3. Picnic in the park, play at the playground, and delve into the canal’s past and present through a 15-minute video and museum exhibits. Don’t miss the Lockview Lounge on the second floor, providing a cozy retreat with excellent views, especially during inclement weather.

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

Morningstar Mill & Museum

Explore Morningstar Mill & Mountain Mills Museum at DeCew Falls

Located at 2714 Decew Rd., Morningstar Mill is a charming heritage site nestled against the Bruce Trail and Decew Falls. A beloved spot for picnics, hikes, and history buffs, it offers free tours of the mill and the Morningstar family’s home, with donations gratefully accepted. The historic buildings are open for tours from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving, welcoming visitors to experience rural industrial heritage firsthand.

Morningstar Mill, owned by the City of St. Catharines and operated in partnership with the Friends of Morningstar Mill, features a working grist mill rebuilt in 1872. The site also boasts the restored Morningstar family home, offering a glimpse into life up to 1933. Don’t miss the chance to explore this hidden gem, and while you’re at it, discover other free attractions in Niagara!

Morningstar Mill
2714 Decew Rd, St. Catharines, ON

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

Discover the Vibrancy of Clifton Hill

As Niagara Falls’ premier hotspot for attractions, dining, and entertainment, Clifton Hill offers endless excitement. But even strolling around the area is an adventure in itself! Just a block from the majestic Niagara Horseshoe Falls and adjacent to Queen Victoria Park, you’ll find yourself surrounded by towering neon signs, lifelike wax figures, and the inviting aroma of freshly made fudge from Fudge Factory and other nearby shops. Enjoy live music on outdoor patios and explore spooky haunted houses, all within walking distance of the falls. Whether you’re drawn in by the thrills or simply soaking up the lively atmosphere, Clifton Hill promises amusement at every turn.

Save $30 Off Clifton Hill Attractions

Welcome to Clifton Hill, where the fun never stops! Are you ready to make the most of your visit without breaking the bank? We’ve got you covered with our Clifton Hill Fun Pass – your ticket to saving big on all the exciting attractions this vibrant street has to offer.

Fun Pass

While strolling along the “Street of Fun by the Falls” is always free and filled with delightful sights and sounds, we know you’re eager to dive into the action. That’s where the Fun Pass comes in handy! It’s the ultimate way to get more bang for your buck and enjoy all the attractions without worrying about overspending. So, let’s make the most of your Clifton Hill adventure together!

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