Have kids? WILL travel! With four young children and no immediate family within a two-province radius, there are not many options for us in the way of long-term child care; both in terms of feasibility and cost. So, wherever we go, the kids come with. Which sounds totally cool and exciting, except for the fact that WE don’t GO anywhere. Really.
So when my husband and I toyed with the idea of going away for a few days to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, there was no doubt the kids would be joining us on the romantic get-away. Just the six of us. *sigh* Destination: Niagara Falls. Back where it all began. The very place we mini-mooned ten years earlier. It seemed the ideal choice. And it was.
Bags packed, cat-sitter lined up and van loaded up with DVDs, coolers stocked with food supplies, snacks, drinks and, yes, even our vitamins, off we went. Twenty minutes into the road trip: Oops, forgot the strollers. “Oh, well,” my husband and I think, “we’ll be fine.” Hmmm…let’s just say, I wish we had brought them because the three year-olds were not keen on all the walking and darnit, it was HOT out so we were not keen on carrying them. There were some tears.
Still, we managed to have a blast. Even my eldest daughter, after having a couple of fits and declaring it “her worst day ever” once or twice, admitted the little vacation pretty much rocked. We stayed at the Fallsview Hilton with a view of the American Falls from the eleventh floor (the higher you go, the more you pay but the better the view.) We didn’t spend all that much time in the hotel so the view, though fun, was not priority.
The afternoon of Day one we just did a little walking tour (which included a pit stop at the Hershey Store) and then had dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants, the Macaroni Grill. Standard fare and paper tablecloths and crayons made it ideal for the kids.
Day 2 would be a visit to Marineland (oh, and FYI, not everyone loves Marineland) which included an entertaining marine show with the delightful dolphins and playfully-sassy seals; meltdowns, both the ice-cream and toddler variety and a daredevilish ride on Dragon Mountain with my courageous eight-year old daughter. Scream factor: 5-stars, especially when you throw in a bee-sting to the temple at speeds of 80 km/hr for good measure. We also stopped by to see the Beluga whales and this guy popped up to say hello. Don’t they look like the are always smiling?
Day 3, the day of our anniversary, began at the Butterfly Conservatory. So, so calming. The kids got a real charge out of butterflies landing on their heads and shirts. After lunch we took the plunge and all rode the Maid of the Mist through the Falls. I’ve done this on at least two or three occasions and it is still as awe-inspiring as the first time. The force, the power, the beauty and the majesty of those Falls are really something special to behold. My kids were thrilled and I was giddy with excitement to see them enjoy it so much! After a swim in the hotel pool and a little down time, we dressed up and went to Brasa, the hotel’s superb Brazilian Steakhouse. Once my eldest’s headache passed, we all delved into this incredible meal. What? You’re going to have a continuous flow of different types of meat on a large skewer coming to my table? Umm, yes, please! Our server was lovely and by the end of the evening my daughter knew pretty much her whole life story. And as if that weren’t enough, my incredible husband surprised me with a pair of diamond stud earrings. I have not taken them off since putting them on that night.
On our last day, fortified with another fabulous brunch (included in the hotel package) we hit the road and stopped off for some shopping at Niagara Falls Canada One Factory Outlet stores. I splurged on a Coach hand bag & wallet and got some school clothes for the kids before heading home.
Niagara Falls is completely family-oriented, from the frivolous to the fancy. If you haven’t been, add it to your list of destination must-haves! As for the romance? Well, the intention was there but the exhaustion hit pretty hard. Happy 10th Anniversary, Honey!