One of the best parts of our recent trip to Niagara Falls was our purchase of the Adventure Pass–it’s a single pass that includes top attractions on the Canadian side of the Falls for a discounted price (on the U.S. side, the pass is called the Discovery Pass and includes different attractions. We did not try the Discovery Pass). The Adventure Pass includes the White Water Walk, the Hornblower Cruise, Journey Behind the Falls, and Niagara’s Fury. It also includes two days of using the public transportation system, WEGO.
Is the Pass a good deal?
Here’s my breakdown of the pricing. You definitely save money buying the pass if you plan to do all four things. And even if you weren’t planning to do the White Water Walk, you still save money with the Adventure Pass.
There are other perks to buying the pass:
- You get your pass as a plastic card rather than a paper ticket you get for individual attractions. With all the time you spend getting wet, this is a major perk!
- You get a lanyard to wear your card so you have easy access to all your tickets. However, I would say if you own a lanyard, bring it. In our group of eleven people, I think at least three people ended up with a broken lanyard by the end of day one. They will replace it for you but if you aren’t near the welcome center, that becomes a bit challenging!
- The Niagara Parks staff will schedule times for all your attractions for you in one place. And since they are knowledgeable about how long each thing takes and how far apart they are, they can help you make a reasonable schedule for your day.
- You get a bunch of coupons for other attractions, although I have to admit that I didn’t remember to use any of them!
Can I do it all in one day?
No. I mean, sure, you probably could, but I strongly recommend planning to split your adventures over two days. They are NOT all side by side. Two of the attractions are inside the Table Rock Welcome Center (Niagara’s Fury and Journey Behind the Falls). To get to the cruise, you can either walk or take WEGO down the main stretch from Horseshoe Falls to American Falls. It doesn’t look like that long of a walk, but with kids, it is! My biggest regret on the trip was not taking the bus down that stretch. It was really hot that day and there wasn’t much shade along the walk. Anyway… From there, the White Water Walk is about five miles down the river. So everything is not just RIGHT there. This is not like going from ride to ride at Disney World.
We split our adventures over two days. We did Journey Behind the Falls and the Hornblower Cruise on day one, and on our second day, we did Niagara’s Fury and the White Water Walk. This made it a lot less overwhelming. The White Water Walk and Niagara’s Fury don’t take much time, so we were able to spend a good chunk of that day at Clifton Hill seeing all the touristy sites.
What else should I know?
I always find there are so many things I wish I knew about a place before I visit for the first time. Here’s a few things to know about the Adventure Pass:
- You do not have to use your attraction tickets on consecutive days. We used half on Tuesday and half on Friday.
- Your WEGO pass lasts for 48 hours from the first time you scan it on the bus. For whatever reason, we never had to scan ours on Tuesday, they just told us to get on and find a seat. So we were able to use ours on Friday, when they were asking us to scan our cards. But you should plan and expect to only have the pass for 48 hours. I would recommend that if you won’t do it all in 48 hours, that you spend one day doing the attractions inside Table Rock Welcome Center (Niagara’s Fury and Journey Behind the Falls) and do the two that need the bus pass (the cruise and the white water walk) on the same day to combine it all and make use of the bus.
- Parking is expensive! Parking across from Table Rock was $25 for the day. Parking overnight at our hotel was $60. Gulp. You will want to park once and walk/use WEGO for the rest of the day. If you try to drive everywhere, you will spend obscene amounts of money parking over and over.
- They give you a new poncho at each attraction, and they do a great job of keeping you dry. My purse over my shoulder wasn’t even damp after our cruise and we got EXTREMELY wet on that.
- You will have to go in many elevators that have a lot of people crammed in them. Some people have issues with that sort of thing so it’s something to keep in mind.
- The line for Journey Behind the Falls gets really long in the afternoon–do that early in the day to avoid lines.
- Keep in mind that all prices are in Canadian dollars. That means if you are from the U.S., everything costs a little less than what the listed price is. If it’s $60 Canadian, it’s probably about $47 in US Dollars. But remember–they don’t take U.S. Money! You have to exchange it for Canadian money somewhere–or get cash from an ATM after crossing the border.
- Your debit card might not work properly in Canada. Mine didn’t. I could only use it in the ATM so I had to go get cash all the time to pay for things.
Is the Adventure Pass worth it?
YES! We had so much fun! Here’s an overview of our experience!
We started our first day with Journey Behind the Falls. What is it? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You take an elevator down and you enter the cave BEHIND Horseshoe Falls. You are able to walk about 2/3 of the way around the Horseshoe while you are under and behind the falls. The ground shakes and the rumbling sound is LOUD. It was a tiny bit scary to me but it was incredible at the same time. There is also a lookout point where you can go outside and be almost close enough to touch the water.
Next up, we headed to the Hornblower Cruise. Honestly after watching the boats come and go, I didn’t expect it to be that great. I know it’s one of those iconic things that you just HAVE to do, but I had low expectations.
I was wrong. It was amazing! We got so close to the water. The wind was whipping and we were drenched. It felt like standing on the beach during a hurricane, only the weather that day was still, calm, and sunny. We were up on the top deck and loved every second of it. The only negative thing I can say is that it’s such a quick ride–only about twenty minutes total. It’s really hard to describe the overall experience. Just do it. It’s completely worth it!
On our second day of the Adventure Pass, we started off early with a viewing of Niagara’s Fury. This is a 360 degree movie experience. You stand in the center of the room wearing a poncho. There are handles to hold onto. Then it begins to rain on you INSIDE. The floor shakes and the rains pour down. It can be a little intense for younger kids but overall it’s neat. I don’t have any pictures inside the theater because they were strictly forbidden.
After the movie, we headed over to Clifton Hill to check out the touristy area. This is where you will find go karts, mini golf, the giant ferris wheel, arcades, museums, and on and on and on. It’s overwhelming. I’ve never been to Vegas but that’s the closest I could compare it to. Lots going on and so much to see you almost don’t know where to look. There were so many food choices that we literally couldn’t take it all in and ended up eating at Papa John’s. I wish I were kidding. We just got overwhelmed and went with what was familiar.
Our group split up for that part of the day. Some of them went to the butterfly garden and the rest did the new Niagara Speedway Go Karts. A lot of people refer to them as the Mario Kart go karts. They all had a blast doing that! I chose to sit and rest a bit rather than ride but everyone that did it had rave reviews. And it was reasonably priced as far as Go Karts go, at $12 to drive and $4 to be a passenger.
We walked around a bit more and then hopped on a bus to get to the White Water Walk. Clifton Hill is on a different line than the White Water Walk, so we had to transfer at Table Rock. Unfortunately, it took nearly an hour to get from Clifton Hill back to Table Rock. That particular line on the bus covers a huge distance with tons of stops. Oops.
The good news is that although we were an hour late for our scheduled time for the White Water attraction, we were able to go right in. They aren’t super strict about it. hooray!
So what is the White Water Walk? You take an elevator way down into the Niagara gorge and get to walk a length of the river to see the class 6 rapids. It is possibly more powerful than the falls themselves and was a little scary to see. At least, it was for me. The walk is about ten minutes each way and it’s shady and cool, even on a hot day. At the end of the path, there are benches. You are not timed in any way–you can stay as long as you’d like. Walk slow, take pictures, read the signs, take it all in. There are vending machines as well, which is good to know in case you do get hot down there. We went in the late afternoon and it was shaded well. It could be hotter at other times of day, I’m not sure.
Overall, we found the Adventure Pass to be well worth it. It saved us money, it saved us time, it saved our feet from walking everywhere and it got us to do some things we may not have bothered with if it hadn’t been a package deal.