Lunch and a Lesson
Nearby, the cobblestoned Old Falls Street USA is perfect for families, with a three-block stretch of restaurants, live music, bike rentals and free games. For a dose of history, head to Old Fort Niagara — the oldest continuously occupied fort in North America dating back more than 300 years. Situated on a picturesque stretch of waterfront land overlooking the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, 18th century structures are the backdrop for guided tours, musket and artillery demonstrations, and displays of exhibits and artifacts, like an original flag from the War of 1812.
Buffalo and Beyond
Just a short drive south of Niagara Falls, Buffalo beckons with museums, gardens and waterfront fun. Make your first stop the Buffalo Museum of Science, where exhibits and hands-on activities like Bug Works, with more than 1,500 insect specimens, appeal to kids of all ages. After a morning at the museum, continue south to Canalside for lunch on the water. The city’s multimillion-dollar revitalization project includes an ice-skating rink and other cold weather activities in winter, and boat cruises, bike rentals, yoga and concerts throughout the year. If there’s time afterward, make for the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Also designed by Olmsted, the indoor and outdoor gardens include ponds, pathways and plenty of colorful plants and flowers. Stroll the grounds, and don’t miss the family garden and kids art workshops and other programs. On the way back, take a detour to visit Platter’s Chocolate Factory for an ice cream sundae and a behind-the-scenes look at how the chocolatiers make the homemade treats.
For the Parents
Parents who are eager for a taste (or sip) of Niagara Falls brews should plan a lunch at Woodcock Brothers Brewery. Once an old cold storage building, it’s the only brewery in Niagara County with on-site production. From pizza to prime rib, the entire menu is wood-fired and crafted from scratch. And if you choose to sit at the bar, you can catch a glimpse of the brewing vats through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. They also serve a variety of local wines. For another family-friendly option, Rainforest Cafe is within walking distance of Niagara Falls State Park. Choose from a variety of scratch-made entrées, while dining alongside lush foliage and jungle animals.