Watching the mighty Niagara Falls roar over a cliff is reason enough to visit this amazing destination. While visiting the American side of the Falls is definitely worthwhile, some people think the Canadian side offers more additional things to do in the surrounding area.
For example, if you love beautiful gardens, Canada’s nearby offerings may entice you to cross the border. Niagara Falls gardens feature spectacular horticultural installations which are considered among the most beautiful throughout Canada and the world. The gardens are open year-round, and the flowers offer a landscape of changing blooms through different seasons. Activities include nature walks and hiking, cycling, photography, and bird watching.
Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens
The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is among Canada’s largest with 99 acres of beautifully
maintained gardens to explore including the largest rose garden in
Canada. The Botanical Gardens is located just a twelve minute drive from the Falls
as you head north along the Niagara Parkway (admission
is free). Visitors are welcome to explore the lush surroundings of
this area by wandering paths to view the gardens and ponds here.
Located at the Botanical Gardens, the Butterfly Conservatory is home to 2,000 butterflies representing 60 different
species. Temperatures inside are carefully regulated for the comfort of
its colorfully-winged inhabitants, making this glass-enclosed
conservatory a warm escape for visitors during the cold winter
months, including the stunning waterfall feature that gives the
feeling that you are in a tropical rain-forest oasis.
Butterfly Conservatory is a great family activity as well as a
romantic date idea for couples. The conservatory includes meandering paths
surrounded by towering tropical plants and blooms that have been
hand-picked to attract the various species of butterflies. Butterfly species at
the conservatory include the banded orange, blue morpho, common Mormon, cydno
longwing, Doris longwing, Gulf fritillary, Julia, Low's swallowtail, monarch,
mosaic, owl, red lacewing, Sara longwing, and small postman.
Oakes Garden Theatre
The spectacular Oakes Garden Theatre serves as both an entranceway to Queen Victoria Park and a serene spot to take in the calm of the gardens while enjoying panoramic views of the American and Horseshoe Falls. Did you know that the site on which Oakes Garden Theatre stands today was formerly home to the Clifton Hotel? After the hotel burned down twice (in 1898 & 1932) the land was purchased by Harry Oakes who hired architects to create an intricate design of gardens and stone sculptures. Oakes Garden Theatre officially opened to the public in 1937.
Designers of this picturesque
amphitheatre took advantage of the contour 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
were meticulously integrated to the formal garden design. The shaded lily
ponds and formalized gardens offer visitors a tranquil escape in the heart of
Niagara Falls. Be sure to explore the Japanese Garden that can be found behind
the stunning pergola! This area is also home to the Secret Garden Restaurant featuring a patio that overlooks the American Falls.
Queen Victoria Park
This park, called the heart of the Niagara Parks, celebrates every season with a visual spectacle of unique native and international plants and beautifully maintained gardens. Don't miss the spectacular Hybrid Tea Rose Garden, tucked back from the road just south of the Niagara Parks Police Building. Queen Victoria Park also provides a plethora of viewing locations where visitors can enjoy the nightly Falls Illumination.
Just south of Table Rock Centre and the new Niagara Parks Power Station, you'll find the hidden gem that is the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse. Tour seasonal displays within the tropical foyer and three stunning display houses. Guests can also enjoy outdoor gardens and ponds featuring a miniature village and train. When visiting in the spring, guests walking the grounds surrounding the Floral Showhouse can take in the fragrant and floral Magnolia trees that line Magnolia Allee.
The Floral Showhouse presents
several unique displays throughout the year including the Hydrangea Show
in May, Chrysanthemum show in the Fall and the holiday Poinsettia
show. The Floral Showhouse is a ticketed attraction and is also included
in the Niagara Parks Niagara Falls Pass.