This weekend we took an awesome trip to Niagara Falls! I have been planning it for awhile, and thinking about it for even longer! We got passports for everyone and the kids are now international travelers!
We left bright and early Friday morning, preparing for the long drive. The map said 7hr15m but it took us closer to nine hours! I lost track of how many times we stopped! But we made it, eventually. :)
A little rock throwing break. Things got a bit tense in the car so we took a break to walk around and get some space. The kids immediately found some rocks and a little pond and went to town! :)
Instead of getting three hotel rooms, I rented a sweet little house through HomeAway. My first time doing such a thing, but it went really well!
The adorable little house we rented. It was so much better than a hotel, especially when you’re traveling with seven people! Lex declared it an excellent place to play hide and seek. :)
Friday was nice and sunny, but the forecast was rain, rain, rain for the weekend, so we hurried down to the falls Friday night to get our first glimpse.
We made it to the falls!
This made the long drive worth it!
The Canadian Falls
Feel the power!
Saturday morning we woke to rain, as expected. We gathered up the umbrellas and went out anyway. The plan for the day was the Butterfly Conservatory and the Floral Showhouse, both indoors.
These two make my heart happy, even in the rain.
The Butterfly Conservatory was very cool, full of beautiful butterflies (of course) and plants. The kids each had cameras and took lots of pictures. It was a beautiful place to visit.
Eve, standing very still hoping a butterfly will land on her. :)
Lots of bright colors to attract the butterflies.
Eve is big into selfies these days. She wanted to take pictures with everyone so she could make herself an album. :)
This little guy hitched a ride on Mema’s shoulder as she wandered around.
Alan made a new friend at the Butterfly Conservatory. It stayed on his ear for a really long time and had to be physically encouraged to fly away before we left the area.
After we left the Butterfly Conservatory we took advantage of our bus passes and took the WeGo bus to the Floral Showhouse. Lex was excited to ride the bus. Despite the downpour, we huddled under our umbrellas and waited for the bus. It was fun for awhile. :)
Although the Floral Showhouse was technically indoors, it was still quite rainy in there. I’m not sure if parts of the roof were just screens, or if it was just super damp for the plants or what.
Rocking out at the Floral Showhouse. It wasn’t a terribly exciting place so the kids made their own fun.
There was a whole mini-village outside the Floral Showhouse. It would have been cool to explore, on a less rainy day.
Waiting for the bus, in the rain.
Saturday was actually Mom’s birthday and we talked about going out to a fancy restaurant for dinner, but by the time we got home we were all wet and cold so instead of going back out to a fancy dinner we instead bundled in warm clothes and ate enchiladas at home.
The original plan was to do the Journey Behind the Falls adventure and the Hornblower Cruise on Sunday, but since the weather as so awful we decided to reschedule those for Monday and just kick back and relax on Sunday. It took a little running around (for me and Rose) to get it all set, but it was totally worth it!
That day Rosy and I decided to buy matching “on sale” fleecies and go hang at the falls in the rain. Good times.
Sunday afternoon cleared up a bit (well, the rain stopped anyway), so we went for the Aero Car trip across the whirlpools.
You cross the US/Canada border four times on this trip in the Aero Car.
Mema and Grandpa Tom, enjoying the view! Not too scary.
Dad wanted to go on the white white jet boat seen here. We stuck to the arial view from the Aero Car instead. :)
Then we went up to the Skylon Tower! I originally thought it would be fun to have dinner up there, but the prices were higher than the tower so I reconsidered that idea! Instead we just went up to the viewing deck and hung out. Great views of the whole Niagara area. I imagine the views would be even better if it weren’t so overcast!
Up in the Skylon Tower.
The Horseshoe Falls as seen from the Skylon Tower.
Monday we woke to blue skies and sunshine. Excellent! We packed up and “checked out” of our house and headed for the Journey Behind the Falls.
Can you see where the mist from the falls mixes with the clouds in the sky? So cool.
This place is so awesome.
Lex at the falls.
The Horseshoe falls, crashing down.
Journey Behind the Falls. Up close and personal with the Horseshoe Falls.
Then we grabbed some ice cream and headed over to the Hornblower Cruise. I’m so glad we got at least one day of sunshine. It was beautiful.
Foggy family. My camera was misty from the Journey Behind the Falls.
The American Falls
I purchased Adventure Passes online before our trip so we were able to skip the ticket lines and head straight to the boat!
Waiting to board the Hornblower Cruise under the falls.
The Canadian Falls, from the Hornblower Cruise.
The American Falls, from the Hornblower Cruise.
After our cruise we parted ways with the rest of the family. They headed home and we headed to Coco’s for lunch! Then we crossed back into the USA and drove an hour and a half to visit Jim and Julie! The kids are all so big now, but they still hit it off like old friends. :)
I ask the girls if I can take a picture and this is what they give me. Pure silliness.
We took a drive over to Jim’s brother’s farm to visit the baby animals, then stopped at Wegmans for dinner (love that store!), then headed home for games and silliness.
Lots of baby piggies.
Playing with the chickens. Lex decided they feel soft, but weird.
Games with the Kirkwoods are always the best.
Sweet girls cuddling before bedtime.
Silly goodbyes. I’m so glad that they still like each other and get along after so much time. I wish we were all a little closer!
Tuesday morning, bright and early, we headed home. The return trip was a little bit faster thanks to an excellent audio book and a huge rain cloud that accompanied us most of the way.
The kids are already asking when we can go back. :)
If you care to see all of the 500+ pictures I took, feel free to check out the Google album. I can’t figure out how to add captions. I swear Google makes this photo thing harder and harder every time I try to use it. If you’re not sharing with the world on Google+ they don’t want anything to do with you. Sigh.