Things to do with kids and toddlers in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls family attractions range from a journey across the river on the Whirlpool Aero Car to boat tours at the base of the falls and checking out colourful creatures in the Butterfly Conservatory. Things to do with toddlers in Niagara Falls include picnics in public parks, waving at passing ships in Welland Canal, and playing in city splash pads. You’ll also find lots of things to do for free in Niagara Falls with kids, from exploring the Dufferin Islands to hiking in Niagara Glen and experiencing the evening falls illumination light show.

Free and cheap things to do in Niagara Falls with kids

1. See colourful nightly illuminations in the Niagara Falls light show

Each evening beginning at dusk, the historic falls are lit up for the spectacular Niagara Falls light show, and it’s definitely a must-see if you’re visiting with kids. Watch as the vibrant lights dance across the cascading falls, changing colours and shifting in different movements and patterns across the water. The evening light show runs continually each evening from around 8 pm to 2 am, typically changing seasonally to reflect different events, holidays, or charitable causes. The Niagara Falls light show is free to attend and can be seen from any viewpoint of the falls.

2. Take a family bike ride on the Niagara River Recreation Trail

Biking the Niagara River Recreation Trail is a great free family activity in Niagara Falls. The full trail stretches over 30 miles along the Niagara River’s Canadian side, but it can easily be divided into smaller scenic sections to suit a bike ride with kids. If you’re not bringing your bikes, the Niagara River Recreation Trail is also a good place to enjoy a leisurely stroll and take in the scenery. You’ll also find plenty of shady spots for a picnic lunch or snack break, with pedestrian and bike-friendly businesses along the route.

3. Go hiking in Niagara Glen with the family

Hiking in Niagara Glen offers breathtaking views over the area’s natural beauty and provides a peaceful escape from the crowds. Start out at the Niagara Glen Nature Center, where you’ll find trail information, maps, and historical exhibits about the Niagara Gorge. There are plenty of family-friendly hiking trails, as well as more difficult trails for adventure seekers with older kids. Be sure to wear footwear suitable for hiking on all trails through Niagara Glen, and remember to pack water, sunscreen, and snacks. Hiking trails in Niagara Gorge are free to access.

4. Wander through the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

Just north of Niagara Falls is a free kids attraction in the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. This expansive complex encompasses nearly 100 acres of lush, themed gardens and has been operating since 1936. A family favourite is the Niagara Botanical Gardens' formal rose garden, housing over 2,400 roses. The garden is open daily year-round from dawn until dusk. Though the Niagara Botanical Gardens are free to visit, parking in the area is typically metered.

5. Feed the birds at Dufferin Islands Park

The Dufferin Islands are a 10-acre nature area located a short distance south of Niagara Falls off the Niagara Parkway. You can explore family-friendly walking trails around the water that connect the small islands via scenic footpaths and bridges. Picnic areas are available around the islands, as are bird-feeding stations. The Dufferin Islands also host the annual Winter Festival of Lights, a free seasonal winter event. Visiting and exploring the Dufferin Islands is free, but parking in the area is typically metered.

Family-friendly kids activities in Niagara Falls

6. Go on the Voyage to the Falls Boat Tour

You can get up close and personal with Niagara Falls on the Voyage to the Falls Boat Tour, feeling the spray from the falls as the ship approaches their thundering base. Tours are conducted by Niagara City Cruises, anchored by Hornblower, and take you face to face with the roaring falls. You’ll don a mist poncho before departing on your tour, which is an all-ages experience. Boats are all Americans with Disabilities Act accessible. Evening tours are also available to view the illumination of the falls in a light-mist experience. Adult tickets start at around $31 per person, and children 2 and under ride free.

7. Check out colourful creatures at the Butterfly Conservatory

One of the popular things to do with kids in Niagara Falls is visiting the Butterfly Conservatory, a huge glass-enclosed complex housing thousands of vibrant butterflies. This is a great all-weather attraction for families in Niagara Falls where you’ll explore a lush tropical greenhouse where colourful butterflies flit and dance through the air. You’ll also learn about the butterfly’s life cycle, and if you’re lucky you may get the chance to see a butterfly emerge from its cocoon. Adult tickets start at around $17 per person, and children 5 and under are free.

8. Feel the powerful roar on a Journey Behind the Falls

On a Journey Behind the Falls, you’ll don a yellow mist poncho before heading down 125 feet into the bedrock of Niagara Gorge. You’ll explore 130-year-old tunnels through the rock before emerging onto a viewing platform at the base of the powerful Horseshoe Falls. You can feel their powerful roar in vibrations beneath your feet and even go behind the falls to see them through unique viewing portals. Journey Behind the Falls is an all-ages experience and is ADA accessible. Adult tickets start at around $15.50 per person, and children 5 and younger are free.

9. Soar above the rapids on the Whirlpool Aero Car

Riding the Whirlpool Aero Car is one of the unique kids activities in Niagara Falls involving a cable car suspended over the Niagara River. This historic cable car has been in operation since 1916 and is part of an open-air experience that takes you above the Class 6 whitewater rapids for incredible views over the Niagara Whirlpool. The Whirlpool Aero Car is suitable for all ages but is not wheelchair accessible. Adult tickets start at around $17 per person, and children ages 5 and younger are free.

10. Zoom through Niagara Gorge on the Zipline to the Falls

Adventure seekers can take the Zipline to the Falls for a one-of-a-kind way to experience the beauty of Niagara Falls. Beginning at the Grand View Marketplace, riders soar down over 2,000 feet into Niagara Gorge, landing at the observation deck beneath Horseshoe Falls. In the winter months, riders will have a unique view of the falls surrounded by ice and snow. Zipline to the Falls has limited ADA accessibility, so check the company’s website for more details. Single tickets start at $59.99 per person, and the experience is suitable for ages 7 and older.

11. Play all day at Clifton Hill's Street of Fun

If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Niagara Falls, you’ll find a ton of family-friendly options at Clifton Hill's Street of Fun. There’s a great mix of indoor and outdoor activities to suit any weather forecast, including a massive indoor arcade space, the Great Canadian Midway. Attractions at Clifton Hill range from bowling and mini-golf to 3D games, rides, go-karts, and wax museums. Purchasing a Clifton Hill Fun Pass will save you money if you plan on visiting multiple attractions in the area, as each activity is priced separately.

Things to do with toddlers in Niagara Falls

12. Feed colourful lorikeets at Bird Kingdom

Bird Kingdom is a great indoor attraction for kids and toddlers in Niagara Falls and is one of the largest free-flying bird aviaries in the world. The complex also houses mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, and offers bird-feeding experiences at scheduled times during the day. Bird Kingdom’s reasonable size, colourful animals, and themed spaces make it a great spot to keep toddlers busy for an hour or two. Buy tickets online, as they are more expensive at the door. Adult tickets start at around $16.95 per person, and children under 2 are free.

13. Play on the lawn in Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park is a great spot for free activities for toddlers in Niagara Falls, with plenty of open green space to run around and play. The park offers multiple themed gardens to explore with colourful blooms, stroller-friendly paved pathways, and shady seating. It’s also a good place for a picnic or snack with views overlooking the falls. In the evening, Queen Victoria Park is the perfect viewpoint for the nightly falls illumination, as they are lit with hundreds of colourful lights.

14. Wave at cargo ships passing through the Welland Canal

Head to nearby Welland for a scenic stroll along the Welland Canal and wave at passing cargo ships as they sail through the channel. There are plenty of free things to see around Welland, just a short drive away from Niagara Falls, from a nature walk on Welland Island to historic buildings and a regional museum. Each evening, Welland’s Bridge 13 lights up with a colourful display of lights over the channel.

15. Cool off at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is a fun all-weather destination for families in Niagara Falls with plenty of dedicated spaces for kids and toddlers to enjoy. In the Tiny-Tots Splash Park, toddlers can enjoy slides and splash pools, climbing structures, and water play spaces. This family-friendly park provides bottle-warming in their restaurant, as well as locker rentals, changing rooms, and towels for purchase. An outdoor pool and sun deck are also available seasonally. Ticket prices start at around $46.99, and kids under 3 years of age are free.

16. Splash and play on outdoor splash pads in Niagara Falls

Outdoor splash pads around the city are a great way to cool off during the warmer months and provide a free activity for families with toddlers in Niagara Falls. City splash pads typically operate seasonally from 9 am to 8 pm and are located at Chippawa Lions Park, MacBain Community Centre, EE Mitchelson Park, FH Leslie Park, Patrick Cummings Memorial Complex, Niagara Falls Lions Park, and Prince Charles Park.

17. Meet farm animals at Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm

Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm is a seasonal attraction with farm animals, play spaces, and free toddler activities near Niagara Falls. Located in nearby St. Catharines on the shores of Lake Ontario, Happy Rolph’s offers encounters with mellow farm animals, playgrounds, and scenic nature trails to explore. This is a free activity, with adjacent family-friendly facilities and free parking. Farm animals are available for viewing typically between 10 am and 8 pm from Victoria Day weekend through mid-October.